Would you like your cat to be able to spend time on your balcony?
Here are some great tips on how to make your balcony safe and enjoyable for your cat.
Outdoor cats benefit from a wide variety of sensory experiences every day in their expansive outdoor realms. House cats, on the other hand, have to be content with a much smaller, more human-like living space. This means that whenever possible, they should have the opportunity to at least get some fresh air and enjoy a comfy place in the sun! Indeed, even seasoned house cats love patios, gardens and balconies: there are so many interesting things to see out there! Smells, sounds, prey – um, birds – fluttering by. What cat wouldn’t love to spend the whole day out there! If you’re going to encourage your cat to spend time on your balcony, be sure to make it as safe and enjoyable as possible first.
Should my cat spend time on my balcony?
Do cats really need to be able to go outside, or can they be perfectly happy without it? This question is the subject of a hot debate among cat fans. So, what’s actually better for our furry feline friends? Are you wondering whether you should let your cat out onto your balcony – do cats even need to go out? Is it a sensible alternative for feline couch potatoes? And if it’s not possible for your cat to roam freely in its own territory, can it at least go out onto the balcony?
Cats like fresh air
Even indoor stalwarts who’ve never been outdoors will be curious and eager to venture outdoors. – Why? Free-range cats get to enjoy daily life outside the familiar four walls of their home every day, giving them a wealth of diverse sensory experiences. House cats, on the other hand, have to come to terms with a much smaller and very human-influenced living space. In other words, a breath of fresh air on the balcony is a welcome change!
Balconies can be dangerous for cats
Balconies that haven’t be made safe and secure for your cat can be dangerous – and possibly even life-threatening! A cat that jumps or falls from a balcony can be seriously injured. We all know that cats are acrobats and have nine lives, but they won’t have a tenth life if they fall down from high up and possibly break their necks. Only everlet your cat out onto your balcony if you’ve properly secured it first!
Making your balcony safe and secure for your cat
Before you let your cat out onto the balcony, you should think about how you can make your balcony as safe and secure as possible for your cat. Just because your balcony is perfect for you doesn’t mean it’s automatically perfect for your cat! How can you make your balcony safe so that your cat doesn’t harm themselves or find a way to escape? How can you make sure that all of the things on your balcony are also suitable for those velvety paws? It’s important to make your balcony safe and secure, but also make sure it’s an oasis of well-being!
Remove any poisonous plants
Do you have plants on your balcony? If so, you should check to make sure they’re suitable for your cat. In other words, there are certain plants that can be harmful to cats! You should remove all poisonous plants from your balcony and replace them with cat-friendly alternatives. Cat grass, for example! Cats love a chill-out zone with special cat grass on the balcony.
Please also make sure that any watering cans containing residual fertiliser or pesticides remain out of reach of cats at all times!
To make your balcony “escape-proof”, you might want to use a cat net. Special cat nets for balconies are available in different colours and mesh sizes – from very small to very large (20 – 50 mm). It’s better to choose a smaller mesh size so that your furry friends aren’t able to slip through. You should make sure the net is made of high-quality material and free of harmful substances. It should also be UV-resistant and, above all, tear- and bite-resistant!
Setting up your cat net
There are various ways of setting up your cat net. The type of mounting you choose depends on whether you want to – and whether you’re allowed to – use a drill:
– use screws and/or hooks to attach the cat net to the wall, ceiling and floor of your balcony, or
– use tensioning or telescopic rods to attach the cat net between the balcony ceiling and the balcony floor.
If you don’t feel confident enough to do this by yourself, you can leave the installation to a professional. In that case, you’ll have to pay for the installation and travel costs in addition to the price of the net.
Tilt window protection
When indoor cats disappear, it’s usually through an open door, over an unsecured balcony or via a tilted window. And when these indoor cats manage to get outside, it’s possible for them to become easily overwhelmed, simply because of all the unfamiliar sensory input. For this reason, if you have any tilt windows in your house, you should always make sure to protect your cat by visiting a specialist shop and purchasing an extra grid, net or roller blind that you can install at the angles, sides and top.
Making your balcony safe and secure without using a cat net
Would you like to make your balcony safe for your cat without using a cat net? There are alternatives. For example, you could also install a balcony enclosure or a wire grid. Unfortunately, if the wire mesh is very small, this will significantly restrict your cat’s view. And let’s face it; your cat should be able to keep their eyes on their surroundings! You could also make your balcony safe and secure by using Plexiglas panes.
Plexiglas cat guards
If you don’t want to use a cat net, you can also use Plexiglas to make your balcony safe for your cat. Just install Plexiglas panels to fit the exact shape and size of your balcony. These panels are easy to take down again if and when you move. Please note: If you’re renting your flat, make sure to check with your landlord before you install any Plexiglas on your balcony, as most buildings require that you get permission to build anything on the exterior.
Pros and cons of Plexiglas
Pros: Plexiglas is see-through, which means that it’s not immediately noticeable. Plexiglas sheets are available in different thicknesses and can be cut to the perfect size. In other words, your cat will still be able to see everything, and the guard itself is not very visually disturbing. Cons: Purchasing and installing Plexiglas sheets can be cost-intensive. And don’t forget, the panels have to be installed quite high, because cats can jump up to two metres from a standing position!
Furnishing your balcony to suit your cat
A balcony that’s both super safe and lots of fun for cats – doesn’t that sound like a contradiction in itself? There are many cat owners out there in big cities who are plagued by a guilty conscience for keeping their cats indoors. They often ask themselves whether life in the confines of one flat is even worth living for cats. It definitely can be! That is, if you create the conditions that allow your cat to live according to its nature . How can you furnish your balcony so that your kitty feels comfortable there?
Offer your cat a weatherproof outdoor cat tree on your balcony. It should have different platforms and caves for your cat to climb up and down and play to their heart’s content. Make sure the tree is fixed firmly on a solid base plate and that your cat can play safely without it swaying at the first gust of wind. The horizontal platform surfaces should be washable and made of material specially suited for outdoor use.
We humans love those hot summer days and nights, right? But do our furry friends also love it when the sun burns down in summer? Or do they sometimes find it too much? Don’t forget that it can get dangerous for cats in the blazing sun on the balcony, in particular due to the risk of heat stroke. Be sure to offer your feline a shady spot on the balcony where they can relax.
Your cat will be happy if you set up your own couch, but they’ll be absolutely thrilled if you also provide some comfortable sleeping furniture for them, too. Imagine how great it would be if you could both take a restful nap out on the balcony! For example, you can purchase an outdoor hammock for cats made of weather-proof material and resting on a solid base to ensure stability.
It’s a very natural form of behaviour when cats show they want to relax and be alone. Once again, there are many different reasons why cats do this: for example, when they want some peace and quiet, they retreat to a safe place – preferably with a view of the surrounding territory. Offer your kitty different perspectives on your balcony. Special hideaways and favourite spots where they have a view into the distance, preferably at different heights!
Make sure your balcony only contains plants that are suitable for cats. This might include, for example, horned violets, cat’s chamomander, cornflowers and daisies, all of which are suitable for your feline friend. And if you want make your cat especially happy, plant some catnip for them! If you intend to plant catnip in a container on the balcony, you should use organic soil with organic slow-release fertiliser and place it in an area with plenty of light.
FAQs – Making your balcony safe and secure for your cat
Even long-term house cats who’ve never been outdoors will enjoy stepping outside for some fresh air every now and again. However, you should be sure to make your balcony as safe and secure for your cat before you let them out.
A cat that jumps or falls from an unsecured balcony can be seriously injured. For this reason, your feline friend should only have access to a balcony that has been made safe and secure for cats.
You can make your balcony safe for your cat by using a cat net or Plexiglas to render it “escape-proof”. You can also make sure that your cat will not have access to any poisonous plants.
Well-stocked specialist shops offer a wide range of cat nets*. Take your time and look around before buying and always ask a specialist for advice. This is the best way to get the cat net that best suits your needs.
*Source: WARENVERGLEICH.DE (2022): „Katzennetz Vergleich 2022. Die besten Katzennetze im Vergleich“, online unter 12 beste Katzennetze kaufen – Test & Vergleich 2022 » 3 Top Produkte! (warenvergleich.de), accesed 18.05.2022
You can use telescopic rods to attach a cat net between the ceiling and floor of your balcony without having to do any drilling.
To prevent the cat from escaping, the cat net should be pulled tight all the way from the ceiling to the floor of your balcony.
There are various ways to attach a cat net to your balcony. There are a number of types of mounting you can choose from depending on whether you want to – and are permitted to – use a drill or not.
The price of a cat protection net depends on the manufacturer (production), the balcony area (dimensions) and what it’s made of (material). Prices* vary from just under €12 to over €50.
*Source: WARENVERGLEICH.DE (2022): „Katzennetz Vergleich 2022. Die besten Katzennetze im Vergleich“, online unter 12 beste Katzennetze kaufen – Test & Vergleich 2022 » 3 Top Produkte! (warenvergleich.de), accessed am 18.05.20222
Landlords are not permitted to prohibit you from setting up a cat net as a security measure if the following are true: your rental agreement says you’re allowed to have a cat; your net can be installed without interfering with the building structure; and other cat nets are permitted.
Source: Deine Tierwelt GmbH (2021): „Gerichtsurteil: Vermieter dürfen Katzennetze nicht verbieten“, online unter Gerichtsurteil: Vermieter dürfen Katzennetze auf Balkon nicht verbieten (deine-tierwelt.de), accessed 09.05.2022
Horned violets, cat’s chamomanders, cornflowers, daisies and catnip are not poisonous for cats and therefore are suitable as plants on your balcony.
Source: Advanco GmbH (2017-2022 – plantopedia.de): „ » Tiere im Garten » Haustiere » 40 ungiftige Balkonpflanzen für Katzen“, online unter 40 ungiftige Balkonpflanzen für Katzen (plantopedia.de), accessed 09.05.2022
You can cat-proof your windows with help from window safety devices. If you want to be able to open your windows completely, you’re going to have to secure them with cat nets or sturdy window bars. Tilt windows should be equipped with tilt window safety devices.
Cat owners with tilt windows can purchase extra grids, nets and roller blinds designed to be installed at the angles, sides and tops of your windows as a way of protecting your cat.
You can make your balcony safe and secure without a cat net by using a balcony enclosure or wire mesh.aus Draht kannst Du Deinen Balkon auch ohne Katzennetz katzensicher machen.
Fibreglass mesh can be used to cat-proof your windows. This is why, for example, fly screens made of this material are available for cat households.
Pros: Plexiglas is see-through and therefore not immediately noticeable. The sheets are available in different thicknesses and can be cut to the perfect size. This means your cat will be able to see everything, and the cat guard itself will not be visually disturbing. Cons: Purchasing and installing Plexiglas can be more expensive than other alternatives. And don’t forget, the panels must be very high, as cats can jump up to two metres from a standing position!
You can make your balcony more cat-friendly by ensuring that your cat has dedicated scratching areas, shady spots, furniture for sleeping, lookout points and cat-friendly plants.bietest.
According to the ruling of 24 September, 2020- 18 C 336/19 (Amtsgericht Berlin-Tempelhof-Kreuzberg), cat-owning tenants have a right to install a cat net on their balcony if they can do so without interfering with the building structure and as long as the landlord permits nets on other balconies.
Source: refrago (2022) – ra-online GmbH: „ »Katzennetz: Darf man als Mieter ein Katzen- oder Fangnetz an seinem Balkon anbringen?“, online unter Katzennetz: Darf man als Mieter ein Katzen- oder Fangnetz an seinem Balkon anbringen? – refrago, accessed 09.05.2022