From the cat’s point of view, roaming around freely is certainly the most interesting way to spend the day. But for various reasons, it is not possible to give every cat this freedom. In an apartment building in an urban environment with a lot of street traffic, it is safer to live indoors. However, access to a balcony is an excellent compromise to provide sheltered open-air entertainment for the indoor cat. The key word here is “protected”: make your balcony cat-proof.
What does the balcony do for the cat?
To start with: a cat living in an apartment is by no means disadvantaged. Provided their owner provides cat-friendly equipment, food, entertainment and a relaxing space, even an urban cat can live a cat-friendly, relaxed life in their little territory.
A balcony can be great for a cat, with lots of stimulation:
– Sounds: Birdsong and children’s noise from the playground are exciting noises for the cat to listen to.
– Weather: Wind, warm sunshine, snow – the varied weather provides excitement in the cat’s life.
– Smells: Cat’s can experience new smells from the safety of the balcony as scents reach the cat’s nose in the open air.
– Observing objects such as birds, leaves, passers-by, cars from the balcony is perfect cat entertainment. If the balcony offers a good lookout, the cat is also intellectually challenged.
– Prey: A fly buzzes by or the wind plays with a dry leaf? The cat plays along: The unpredictable movements of an object outdoors are more exciting than any toy mouse.
– But here, too, safety has top priority. A cat safety device on the balcony is mandatory for cat households.
Why do I need a cat guard for the balcony?
The cat guard serves to fence in the balcony for the cat’s safety. This prevents falls. Because even though cats have amazing physical dexterity in terms of sure-footedness and jumping power, climbing on the second floor or trips up to the roof are dangerous adventures. Depending on the structural conditions, the cat guard also serves as a boundary to neighbouring balconies – so the cat does not get onto other people’s property without permission. However, the most important function of cat guards is to prevent spontaneous accidents. This can happen if the cat is frightened on the balcony and flees, or tries to jump after a bird or butterfly. Balcony railings pose a risk if cats can squeeze through the bars. And there is also a risk of injury at the window or door leading to the balcony.
Accessories and cat protection on the balcony: What do I have to consider?
The type of safety product you use to secure the balcony depends on where you live. Firstly, you should check with the property management if you can install a cat guard. Sometimes structural conditions restrict what you can do, for example hooks may not be allowed to be attached to the exterior.
You can choose different safety products to suit your home:
– Cat netting: The net must be attached so that it completely encloses the balcony.
– Privacy screen: This can be used on the railings of a balcony to prevent your pet from squeezing through the rails.
– Window security: Often a window leads onto the balcony. Install a window safety device so that the cat does not try to climb out through a tilted window.
– Cat flap: Cat flaps can be used to give your pet freedom to go in and out of the balcony when they like. It is important to use these in conjunction with a safety net to avoid accidents.
Structural safety of the cat balcony is very important, but its also imperative not to deposit any plastic bags, rubbish containers, cleaning and fertilising agents or breakables on the balcony.
Cat on the balcony: the perfect outdoor area
To set up a relaxing space for the cat on the balcony, get inspired:
– Lookout: An elevated lookout on the balcony is quite important: an outdoor cat tree or a piece of natural trunk that is also visually appealing is ideal. Make sure it is firmly anchored and in a safe spot so your cat doesn’t fall !
– Planting: Please only use plants on the balcony that are non-toxic for cats. Suitable plants are annual climbing plants and hardy plants such as bamboo or fruit trees. You can also grow herbs, harmless flowers and even some catnip. Pesticides and artificial fertilisers are a no-no on the cat balcony.
– Green area: Your cat will be especially happy about a small green area. You can grow cat grass, lawn seeds or wild flowers in a shallow planter or a small wooden box lined with pond liner. On a large balcony, a raised bed is a good idea; this also gives the cat an elevated place to look out.
– Shady spot: On a balcony with full sun, the cat must be able to choose between sunbathing and a place in the shade.
– Scratching area: A scratching board or a sisal-covered area for grooming the cat’s claws should be provided on the balcony.
– Flooring: Perhaps cover a corner of the balcony with wooden or cork tiles. These absorb the warmth of the sun and cats like to lie on them.
If a new pet has joined your family you need to be perfectly equipped from the start to ensure they can settle in to their new life easily.
Maxi Zoo are on hand with our new pet starter kits for every kind of pet. You can find out more information about them here. Our store staff are available to give customised advice so you choose the perfect product for your new arrival, and you can get 10% off* your starter kit when you visit your local Maxi Zoo store, find yours here.