Do you have a pet cat and live in an apartment? If yes, then you need a balcony catio!
Are Cats Safe On Apartment Balconies?
It is common for cat owners to think that balconies are safe for cats but this is not the case. Cat’s often fall from balconies whilst chasing birds or flying insects. A fall from a balcony can be very serious, leading to permanent injuries or even death.
This often surprises people, as we have always been told that cats can balance themselves on the thinnest structures and they always land on their feet.
Most of us have even seen cats effortlessly balancing themselves on thin balcony railings and jumping off the walls, which has only strengthened these beliefs.
We are sorry to burst your bubble, but this isn’t entirely true.
Will cats fall from off a balcony?
While cats do have amazing balancing abilities and the exceptional skill to wiggle and maneuver their bodies when jumping or falling from heights to make sure they land on their feet (known as cat righting reflex), this doesn’t always work.
In fact, incidents of cats getting injured due to falling from heights are so common that there is a special term for it: high-rise syndrome.
Feline High-Rise Syndrome
High-rise syndrome is a term used for the phenomenon of cats falling from significant heights. It is also used to refer to the injuries sustained by cats due to the fall.
Why Do Cats Get Injured When They Have Excellent Righting Reflex?
Cats are famous for their righting reflex: the ability to spin round in mid-air whilst falling in order to always land on their feet.
An important thing to note here is that while cats are highly likely to land on their feet when they fall from any height higher than 3ft, this doesn’t mean they will also remain injury-free.
Often, the cat’s body cannot absorb the shock of the landing and they can end up with fractured or broken bones.
Why Do Cats Jump When They Are Likely to Get Injured?
Knowing the fact that cats are not immune to injuries leaves one wondering why they jump then? Can’t they figure out if it is safe for them to jump from a certain height?
The reality is that cats have remarkable survival instincts. They always calculate if it is safe for them to jump from a particular place and never deliberately jump from a height that is likely to cause them injury.
This is exactly why your pet cat calls for help when it climbs too high on a tree.
But, like their owners, cats can also be clumsy sometimes and can accidentally fall from windows and balconies.
This can happen due to multiple reasons, such as losing their balance while being too focused on a bird, animal, potential prey, or any other thing that interests them.
Sometimes, it may also happen that cats miscalculate the height or overestimate their ability and jump from balconies.
Cat-Proof Your Balcony with a Balcony Catio
Since cats are not afraid of heights and have excellent balancing skills, it is common for cat owners to assume that their feline friends can take care of themselves.
However, it often turns out to be a grave mistake. But, by the time they realize it, the harm has already been done.
Learn from others’ mistakes and make your balcony safe for your cat by building or installing a catio on your balcony.
Our top recommended catio maker, Habitat Haven, produce a few models which could fit on a balcony and they also offer a custom design service too.
Check out some of their smaller options suitable for balconies:
A popular starter enclosure, the charming Room with a View Petit Catio makes a great spot for your cat(s) to explore the sights, smells, and sounds of the outdoors. Featuring adjustable shelves, and a single human access door, its compact size can fit easily on any patio, deck, or yard area.
This pre-designed "Room with a View" enclosure enables you to create a fun outdoor space for your cat(s) against an exterior window or door. Your cat(s) can come and go as they please, climbing and perching on the shelves out in the fresh air of your porch, patio or back yard.
And for inspiration, check out this video of a catio installed on an apartment balcony:
Just like an outdoor cat run or a cat enclosure, a balcony catio will allow your pet cat to experience the benefits of outdoor life while also protecting it from the risk of falling.
Balcony catios are available and can be built in a variety of sizes and styles. This gives you the liberty to choose if you want to convert your entire balcony into cat heaven or dedicate a small portion of it for your cat.
Most Important Things to Consider While Building a Balcony Catio
Here are a few things that you should consider while setting up a space for your cat in the balcony to ensure your pet’s safety, health, and happiness:
· Weather Conditions
If you are allowing your feline friend to remain outdoors for any length of time, you also have to make sure that it is not exposed to harsh weather conditions.
Therefore, considering the weather in your area is particularly important when creating an enclosure for your cat.
Make sure the catio has a warm space where your kitty can cuddle up when it gets chilly as well as a shaded area to protect it from too much sun.
It is also important to have a covered area, such as a cubbyhole, where your pet can seek shelter when it rains.
· Cat’s Activity and Entertainment Needs
Cats are highly active creatures who want regular stimulation to remain physically and mentally active, which is critical for their overall health and well-being.
But, you can’t just give them a toy or a window to look outside and think that they will be happy forever.
Unfortunately, cats tend to get bored of things quite quickly.
Therefore, you need to provide your little furry friend with plenty of cat enrichment – giving them space to play and varying activities to keep them busy, active and amused.
To make sure that the catio you are creating on your balcony will always remain your cat’s favorite place, arrange multiple activities, so it never gets bored.
Put some nice cat toys, or a cat tree so your cat can satisfy their innate desire for jumping, and install multiple platforms at different heights because cats love to rest on high places.
|Bonus Tips: Keep rotating the toys after every few days to keep the cat’s interest alive. Also, make sure to have at least one treat toy as it helps to satisfy their instinct for hunting and ensures longer engagement times.|
Don’t Confine Your Cat to Indoors Just Because You Live In an Apartment
Living in an apartment shouldn’t be the reason to keep your cat stuck indoors.