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Cats on the Balcony

danaekitty
March 26th, 2012, 10:23 PM
Hi friends! Long time no post.

So I'm moving into a new apartment, one significantly smaller than where I'm living now - my roommate got a new cat and three cats is too many for us!

Anyway, I have a balcony and am wondering about letting the cats out on it. It's a third storey, and I figure it should be ok if I line the bottom, between the balcony ledge and the floor with chicken wire? That way they can still see out the bottom and won't be able to slink out from underneath the bottom of the ledge.

Any thoughts? Anyone have experience with this issue?
This place is smaller than anywhere they've ever lived, and they don't get along that great as it is, so I feel inclined to let them sit out there so they're not scratching at the walls inside!

Shaykeija
March 27th, 2012, 12:15 AM
I would be chicken wiring the whole balcony. From top to bottom. Going under the rail is bad but so is going over the rail.

danaekitty
March 27th, 2012, 09:54 AM
Thanks for the reply, but that's unfortunately not an option, as my balcony doesn't have a roof.

Also, I'm afraid that not letting my cats onto the balcony at all is not an option either - these girls will make my life hell if I don't let them hang out up there!

Does anyone have any positive experiences with cats on a balcony that they can share with me to ease my anxiety? At this point, all I can do is take advice on how to do this without killing anyone, and hope for the best!

I'm thinking if I have the furniture away from the edges of the balcony, and maybe hang some plants from the rail so they can't jump up, that they'd be satisfied just peeking from underneath the ledge down below. Thoughts?

Dog Dancer
March 27th, 2012, 10:26 AM
I would not count on them being content not to jump. It's what cats do unfortunately. The third floor is not so high that it would deter them from taking a leap. This is not a good plan. Is it possible to build them a pen about three feet tall that you could put a couple steps in for them to sit on sort of thing? I'd build a pen three feet high (roof and all) along the entire length of the balcony, making sure top bottom and sides are fully enclosed.

Melinda
March 27th, 2012, 11:00 AM
I've seen too many cats that have jumped from balconies, 2nd or 6th floor, cats are cats, I'd be making a huge outdoor cage for them before I'd let them out, a friend thought she had it beat by keeping hers on leashes....one hung itself when it tried to jump, the other jumped and was killed, she figures they were after the pigeons and as she said "I only went in to get a cigarette!!"

BenMax
March 27th, 2012, 01:40 PM
I have to agree with Melinda.
At the SPCA we see horrors due to cats left on a balcony. We get them when they are 'off' the balcony of course.

diandpat
March 27th, 2012, 01:42 PM
I have a Juliet balcony off the bedroom. The cats are allowed on it...ONLY if I am out there with them. Too many birds flying around...would NEVER trust them alone.

If you could build an enclosure that would be the best solution.

Good luck

14+kitties
March 27th, 2012, 02:01 PM
A balcony of any sort is not a good idea unless you are out 100% of the time with the cats and can keep an eagle eye on them. I would never take more than one out at a time. You can't watch three of them. There are just too many dangers out there. Cats are inquisitive creatures to start with. All it would take is for something to catch their attention and they'd be off. They wouldn't necessarily take the time to think about being so high up off the ground.

Can you build some sort of enclosure on the balcony so they can be out and be safe?

marko
March 27th, 2012, 02:02 PM
Thanks for the reply, but that's unfortunately not an option, as my balcony doesn't have a roof.

Chicken wire or some type of sturdy fencing/screening can fashioned into a "roof" if you are creative and know a handy person. I'd go to a large Home-depot like place to see what materials i could use as a grill, fence, etc. but I agree with everyone - a full on enclosure would be the only thing I'd trust.

alternatively a large dog cage might also be an option.

I agree about not trusting cats in this matter in the same way as I don't trust dogs to guard a hamburger. Okay it's not the same...but you get the point. :)

sandyrivers
March 28th, 2012, 02:14 AM
Hi there,

I would really not let your cats out alone on the balcony!
I usually only allow 2 of them at the time, and ONLY if I am there to supervise. If I go in just to go to the bathroom or answer the phone, I make sure the cats are in and the door closed.

I too live on a 3rd floor apartment since last automn, and never taught it a big deal to let them out when I was not around. I taught they would have enough common sense to just lay in the sun and stay there.
Until the day I saw from my living room window, my cat Gino walking on the railing!
I was so panicked, I got up very fast and quietly walked to the balcony, in order not to spook him, and took him right off the railing.
Cats are very agile creatures, but I don't think walking on the railing of a 3rd floor balcony is a good idea!

Putting flower boxes on the railing will not keep your cats from going there...I grow all sorts of herbs and vegetables on my patio and my cats love to go explore in the boxes that are on the ground, I have no doubt they would be quite curious to see what's in the boxes on the railing as well!

I agree with Marko about making a home made enclosure with chicken wire. Making sure that the wire is nailed or tacked securely to the floor of your patio, going over the sides and all the way up on the wall.

I am very very bad at drawing, but I made this very basic sketch of a way you could make an enclosure for your cats to be safe.
Chicken wire is quite cheap, and you can drill in brick walls with no problem, you just need a special drill bit that you can also get at the hardware store for under 5$.
The whole thing should cost you about 40$ to make, and maybe make a weekend out of it, working slowly, and maybe inviting friends who are handy...
Depends on your skill level. I have a very LOW skill level, and I plan on doing such an enclosure for my cats around the end of April, so they can enjoy the sun and fresh air without risking falling off.

I hope this little sketch gives you a basic idea of what I mean!

You can go to a hardware Home depot type of place, but you can also maybe use recycled materials, if you know someone who lives in the country, they always have this type of chicken fence. Depending on your budget, and how pleasing to the eye your enclosure should look.

You can also check out some websites for things called ''cat runs'', a lot of cat breeders use them and some have very neat ones! That way you can get more ideas!

I also have some info from another pet website I am a member of, and they talk about this issue, as I don't know if I am allowed to link it in this forum, so until I contact Marko about this, better safe than sorry! You can PM me so I can give you the info, it talks about ''high-rise syndrome'', and the dangers of cats falling off balconies!

sandyrivers

Koteburo
March 31st, 2012, 02:06 AM
Me and my babies go out to the balcony only if I'm there. The second you turn around they'll be trying to jump. Mine's not high so it's relatively easy for them (and a human) to jump off but since I don't let them wander outside...
Once the window was left a little open by accident and we went out and Scully jumped off, she was on the grass when we found her under the deck curled up and scared because she's not used to be out. Nothing bad happened because it's not high.
It never happened again

sandyrivers
March 31st, 2012, 02:13 AM
Hi, This is a transcript from PetPlace.com
It talks about the dangers for cats on balconies.
You can get more info if you go on their website...

"""This is one really common problem that us vets see every single spring..and it's already started. You open your windows to let in the spring air and your pets cozy up to the window to catch a deep breath. Just a couple of wiggles and pushes and BOOM...the screen has fallen out and your beloved pet has escaped (or worse).

Here is an example of a cat named B.C. (or "Big Chicken"). His owner opened the windows on a nice spring day. B.C. LOVES the fresh air. He leaned right up against them and was out before his owner even realized what had happened.

Depending on where and how a cat falls, a few things can happen.

1. Highrise syndrome - this is a complex group of injuries that can occur from a fall and vary in seriousness depending on the height a cat falls from.

2. Abrasions and soft tissue injuries - anything from major to minor injuries can occur.

3. Cats can get lost. The vast majority of cats that get out and get lost have no form of identification. Make sure they have some form of identification, whether it's a microchip or an updated ID tag.

So....if you open your windows this spring, PLEASE make sure the screens are secure.

Until next time,

Dr. Jon""

From the web site PetPlace.com
From their ''cat crazy'' newsletter.

Hoping this can help cats and humans alike to have a safe spring/summer!
sandyrivers