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Home > Cats > How to Cat-Proof a Balcony: 12 Vet-Approved Tips

How to Cat-Proof a Balcony: 12 Vet-Approved Tips

cat with leash on a balcony

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Having a balcony to enjoy the sunshine and breeze without leaving your home is a true luxury. Your cat feels the same way and takes every opportunity to explore the great outdoors.

If you live in an apartment, you understand the struggle of keeping your cat away from the balcony. Cats love to be vertical, and a balcony seems like a cat paradise.

We understand why cat owners hesitate to let their felines on the balcony. There’s nothing wrong with letting your cat explore as long as protective measures are taken. Let’s talk about how to cat-proof your balcony so that your cat doesn’t fall off!


Before You Begin

Before you begin cat-proofing your balcony, there are a few boxes you need to check.

First, talk to your landlord about what materials are acceptable to use. Explain why you want to cat-proof your balcony and your ideas for making it possible. Most landlords are reasonable as long as you communicate, but some are picky.

Next, consider your balcony railing. All balconies have a different barrier affecting what you can do with your space.

For example, if you have metal fencing, your primary concern is your cat squeezing through the fencing. If you have brick or wooden walls, your primary concern is keeping your cat from jumping on the ledge.

Finally, think about how much space you have and be realistic with your ideas. Look at tiny houses and inner-city apartments and find inspiration from people who have maximized their small space.

The 12 Tips on How to Cat-Proof a Balcony

1. Establish a Barrier

ragdoll cat lying on balcony corner egde
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Even if your cat stays indoors, you want to take extra precautions in case they escape onto the balcony. Set up a cat wall around the balcony’s parameters that prevents your cat from escaping through the fencing or jumping over the ledge.

This is where you’ll need to ask your landlord about what’s acceptable. A few options people have tried include:

2. Keep Plants Away

People love adorning their balconies with tropical plants and small vegetable gardens, but some tropical plants are toxic to cats. If you want your cat to have some fun on the balcony, make sure you remove all poisonous plants.

Some popular plants to keep away from your cat include aloe vera, English ivy, lilies, and jade plants.

It’s best to avoid garden beds on the ground so your cat doesn’t use them as their personal litter box. Instead, use raised beds. You’ll save space this way and can hang your plants as long as your cat doesn’t try to jump to reach them.

3. Remove Bug Repellents

Maine coon cat sitting on table in the balcony
Image Credit: VR_Photography, Pixabay

If you’ve designed your balcony to be a hangout spot, you probably have some bug repellents scattered around the area. Repellents like citronella candles, torches, bug sprays, and essential oils can be harmful to your cat, so you’ll need to remove them so your kitty doesn’t mistake them for a snack.

4. Remove Garbage

Some cats think that they’re dogs and like to get into the garbage. Your bottom-floor neighbor doesn’t want garbage on their balcony, and neither do you. It’s best to remove the trash or find a way to lock it so your cat can’t knock it over.

On another note, garbage attracts flies, and your cat will love to chase them. We don’t want your cat diving after a pesky fly and getting hurt.

5. Move Bird Feeders

oriole bird on a bird feeder
Image Credit: BarbeeAnne, Pixabay

We all know cats love birds. Anytime they see a bird, their instincts kick in and all manners go out the window. If you have bird feeders, remove them or place them somewhere else where your cat can’t see them. You don’t want to risk your cat going over the edge of your balcony because of a bird.

6. Use a Leash

You can sit outside with your cat and enjoy a fresh morning breeze without feeling worried your cat will jump over the edge. Like a dog, you can attach your cat to a leash to limit how much of the balcony they can roam. This is also a great opportunity to train your cat.


Keeping Your Cat on the Balcony

7. Add a Rug

a domestic long hair cat lying on rug at home
Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

Cats love rugs! An outdoor rug for your balcony is not only charming, but your cat is less likely to escape if they have a comfy rug to lay on. Plus, the rug will prevent dirt and garbage from spilling onto your neighbor’s balcony if you have a top-floor balcony.

8. Add Some Seating

Some people never step foot on their balconies and don’t have expensive patio furniture. That’s okay! A simple chair or some cushions is a great idea for your cat that prefers to spend time out there. Cats are attracted to anything cozy, so a few outdoor pillows or chairs can keep your cat secure. Just watch out for wicker chairs because your cat might turn them into scratching posts.

9. Make Sure Your Cat Can See

cat on netted balcony
Image Credit: Petr Bonek, Shutterstock

Cats love being up high, and a balcony is like the ultimate cat tree. Your cat wants to see what’s going on down below. If you can, give your cat a little window to observe the area. Try placing a cat perch outside if it’s safe so your cat has a nice view.

10. Add Some Turf

Turf is fake grass, but your cat won’t know the difference. Plus, it’s safe for pets. Some people are hesitant about turf because their cat may use it as a litter box. Thankfully, turf is highly durable, so cat urine won’t ruin it. It’s also easy to clean.

11. Create a Cat Garden

tabby cat savoring catnip in the garden
Image Credit: Badon Hill Studio, Shutterstock

Keep your cat occupied by growing a cat garden. Plant catnip and cat grass to give your kitty something to munch on. You can plant other herbs too, like sage, valerian, and silvervine.

12. Make Sure There’s Water

The most important thing to remember is to make sure your kitty can stay hydrated. You don’t want your cat left on the balcony with no water. This can cause your cat to escape and may lead to serious injury or death. Keep a bowl of water outside and check it regularly.



Having a balcony is exciting, but it comes with its challenges if you have a cat. Sometimes, landlords don’t make it easier. Thankfully, many cat owners have dealt with this same issue and have come up with a few genius ideas.

The nice thing about our tips? They’re affordable! You don’t have to fork over your next rent payment to cat-proof your balcony. And keeping your cat on the balcony isn’t difficult with a few enticing cat features. Whatever you decide to do, we know your balcony will look great.

Featured Image Credit: Piotr Musioł, Unsplash

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