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Discussion Starter #1
I recently moved into a 2nd floor apartment. I want to allow the kitties some supervised outside time on the balcony. I'm just worried about them falling through the bars. Even if I'm sitting out there with them, I can't exactly catch a kitty as they fall! Plus, on the side, there's a "ledge" where they could walk onto from the balcony. It's slanted, and I don't think it would hold their weight, but I'm afraid it's still too tempting. I've gone out where with Lexi and blocked the ledge, but she will still put her front legs through the bars to look down, which pretty much gives me a panic attack.

Does anyone have any suggestions for cat proofing a balcony? It would have to be kinda discrete, or at least not completely hideous. I don't want to go through the trouble of putting something up and my apartment complex telling me to take it down! I've looked into plastic poultry netting, but it only comes in green and black, which I'm afraid will be to obvious.

Pics of the balcony:

Note the tempting ledge...

 

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I'm the only one here that advocates letting a cat fall? I mean it sounds terrible but plenty of cats never fall off the balcony and I've never heard a cat die from falling a few feet unless it lands on something bad or hits things on the way down. I just finished saying in another thread that both of my cats fell from the first floor and two of my aunt's cats fell from the third - unharmed. If you live on a very low floor I wouldn't worry about this. I see cats sitting on first and second floor railings all the time. Also none of the cat I've known that fell ever fell a second time.

If you have laws where you live about the look of your places I don't think any kind of netting will work. Once at our apartment we had an empty bird feeder on our deck, it never even had seed in it... But people removed it, without even telling us!
 

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Yeah I agree I wouldn't worry about your kitty falling and hurting themselves from that height. There are plenty of kitties in my complex that hang out all day on the balcony as the door is left open.
If it was any higher than third then I wouldn't let them out (I had a friends cat fall from 20 floors).
 

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Yeah I agree I wouldn't worry about your kitty falling and hurting themselves from that height. There are plenty of kitties in my complex that hang out all day on the balcony as the door is left open.
If it was any higher than third then I wouldn't let them out (I had a friends cat fall from 20 floors).
20 floors? Oh my! I hope the kitty survived. :(
 

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Deer netting can be attached to the rails with cable ties and will be barely noticeable. Not sure how you attached it at the floor level....maybe you can run a thin strip of wood with some small eye hooks to attach the cable ties to. But you'll need to attach the wood strip to the floor or walls.

I'm sorry, but I disagree with letting the cat fall. While the cat may right itself and avoid injury...what happens between the time the cat falls and the OP runs outside to get the cat? Maybe s/he's in shock and stays right there...but just as likely the cat runs off in fear to hide somewhere...into the road as a car comes by, under a car, or just simply disappears. That's not a chance I'd take.
 

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No the kitty passed away :(
And it's not that I'd let my cat fall but the cats in my complex haven't tried to jump so I was just using them as an example, I think they know it's not worth it ya know? Well until they see a bird I guess :p....
Maybe just always go out supervised and with a harness and leash?
 

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Sorry for the double post. When I was taking pictures of the window screen barrier I snapped one of the fruit tree netting twined through my railings. I tugged it down slightly (it's anchored to the top railing) to show how noticeable it would be. These are extreme closeups though.

 

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I'm sorry, but I disagree with letting the cat fall. While the cat may right itself and avoid injury...what happens between the time the cat falls and the OP runs outside to get the cat? Maybe s/he's in shock and stays right there...but just as likely the cat runs off in fear to hide somewhere...into the road as a car comes by, under a car, or just simply disappears. That's not a chance I'd take.
Thank you, Doodlebug!

ASPCA | High-Rise Syndrome

ASPCA | Companion Lines Articles: Saving Serafina
 

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I'm sorry, but I disagree with letting the cat fall. While the cat may right itself and avoid injury...what happens between the time the cat falls and the OP runs outside to get the cat? Maybe s/he's in shock and stays right there...but just as likely the cat runs off in fear to hide somewhere...into the road as a car comes by, under a car, or just simply disappears. That's not a chance I'd take.
I realise it's not a chance a lot of people will take, but when you're not allowed to place netting up due to building restrictions it's a chance I am willing to take. My cat loved going outside all hours of the day and night on the balcony, I left the door open almost 24/7 except in the winter. He never even jumped up on the railing (although he must have once to fall off...) and again it's one of those quality of life deals.

I can understand why people wouldn't do this, and reasons why, but from all experiences I've had (the four times it's happened with cats in my family from floors 1 and 3) the cat has remained in the bushes below and has been unharmed, and never done it again the rest of their life even though all of the cats have had free access to the balcony their entire lives. There's also two cats in the family that lived their whole life under the same circumstances of free balcony access and never went over the ledge their entire life. I will add though, that after the third floor I would not allow my cat on the balcony if I could not put netting up.
 

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I'm glad it worked out for you. I had a cat that I used to let outside. One day she got run up a tree by a neighborhood cat. On her way down the branch she was on broke and she fell about 2 stories. She landed and bolted under my neighbor's deck. Fortunately I was there when this happened, saw where she went and was able to coax her out. She was petrified and wasn't herself for days. She was also extremely sore. She was young when this happened, maybe 9 months. Later in life I noticed she showed signs of arthritis at what I consider a young age...8-9 years old. I lost her at age 10, so there's no way to know whether it would have progressed and of course no way to know if the fall was the cause...but I always thought it was a contributing factor. That was the last time she went outside on her own, she was leashed after that. So, my experience with a fall didn't have quite the positive outcome that yours did....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Nope, sorry. I'm not going to let Lexi or Sam learn their lesson about jumping off the 2nd floor balcony. I don't think I could live with the guilt if one of them jumped/fell and seriously injured themselves or died. I understand that biologically speaking, they should be able to handle a 15ft fall, but I don't want to risk it.

I think I'm going to go for something like this

It's got one bad review because the buyer's daughter cut her finger on it. I don't have kids, and I don't think the cats will have that problem. I like it because it's clear/white. My apartment complex doesn't have anything in the lease (that I can find) that says anything about what you can or can't put on your patio (except for trash), but I just don't want to go through the hassle of putting something up and then they say to take it down. I'm not worried about white/clear netting, my neighbors have some but it only comes up about a foot. They also have Christmas lights still up. We shall see what happens!
 

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Well its not that I would risk it, it's just if you're going to let them out on the balcony what's to stop your cat's from jumping on the rail and falling down that way? I just think cats are smart. When Leelu is wanting to jump on a window sill, she will walk back and forth and bob up and down, trying to determine distance, height for a while before jumping.
Like I said I would keep them on a leash and harness and only let them out supervised, but different strokes for different folks ;)
 

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what about a cat like habitrail(tube hamster thingy), made out of wire mesh, chicken wire or the like, wouldn't be noticable , the cats could enjoy the outside but couldn't get out. would still leave room for human use of the balcony..
 

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I think the danger of a cat falling off the balcony is mostly because the cat doesnt know A)he/she is dangerously high in the air and B)whats on the other side of that guardrail.

With the pictures you posted however, the cat can easily see that there is a large drop from the balcony and also it has no incentive to jump up on the guardrail as its too thin to rest on, uninteresting, etc.
 

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Did anyone see the huge aviary the couple built for thier cat on their property~ on Cats 101 last night? Fully equipped with up high runs and perches. Most impressive cat enclosure I've ever seen!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I didn't see it last night, but I've seen that episode before. So cool! If I had the money and the space, I would definitely do that!
 

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I got one of my cat trees from someone whose cat fell from their second floor balcony. And died.
 

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