Having a cat in a big city typically means that they spend most or all of their lives indoors. But what if you have a condo, apartment, or house with a terrace? Spending some time outside with your cat whenever the weather is nice and taking your cat out can give him a wonderful break from indoor-only life. Especially since it's spring, whenever you hang around your balcony, you naturally want your cat to hang around with you.
Should your cat be permitted to go out onto the balcony to experience some fresh air and behold some of the sights of the outdoors? Generally, that answer is no. In addition to risking a fall, porches have other dangers.
However, if there's no convincing you out of it, you should take several preventative measures first!
Balcony Safety and Pets: Preventing High-Rise Risks
If your balcony is the best area to enjoy fresh air and sunshine, it's natural that you want your cat to enjoy the space with you. But is that a good idea?
Terraces risk falling and getting burned by a warm grill or ingesting harmful plants. But this does not mean that the balcony is entirely out-of-bounds to your furry friend. Taking a few preventative measures and practicing due diligence can secure your cat's safety while having a wonderful time on the balcony.
Cats Falling Off Balconies
Both cats and dogs are in danger of falling off balconies, but it's a more common occurrence with cats.
Although cats have an innate ability to "right" themselves midair, they are not immune from hurting themselves. As a matter of fact, balcony injuries are so common in felines that a term has been created for it: high-rise syndrome.
In one report of 119 cats who had dropped from high-rise buildings for four years, 97% survived; however, many sustained significant injuries, including the 46% that presented with broken arms or legs.
How Can I Make My Balcony Safe?
If you agree to take action to avoid problems and supervise your cat, your pet can enjoy a lovely time on the balcony. Before going outside, take a good look at your veranda.
Cats are innovative escapists. The safest balconies are those with screened-in enclosures (like catios). However, catios are unsafe when your cats can escape, so carefully inspect them for rips or gaps. Additionally, ensure they have food, water, and shelter from the sun.
Look at other things that might pose a danger, such as grills. Additionally, check your ornamental plants that might be on the balcony. Ensure that they are not poisonous to cats.
Keep tables, chairs, and other furniture away from porch sides to prevent your cat from using them to jump over the barrier.
Lastly, keep your cat in a harness and leash whenever they're on the balcony. If they unexpectedly go after a flying bird or a squirrel in the nearby tree, they cannot jump off or escape the balcony railing.
And even if you've taken all the preventative measures, I cannot stress the importance of supervising your cat enough. It only takes seconds of not being watchful for your cat to hurt themselves.
Money invested in simple safety measures such as harnesses and leashes or other products that make a balcony a lot more protected can save your cat's life and save you hundreds of bucks and stress.
With adequate preparation and care, balcony time can be a lifelong pleasure for your cat, giving them experiences and the mental stimulation they may otherwise not get if they remained indoors all the time.