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We adopted a 1yr old stray female a few months ago. We have a walkway on the second floor of the house that overlooks the foyer which is hardwoods. The cat got into the habit of going through the rungs on the railing and walking the ledge on the other side, it is only about 2" wide. The walkway is approx 12 feet up.

Being worried about her falling and getting injured, I installed plexiglass along the rungs so that she could see through it but not go through to the other side. This worked fine for a while.

Now she has discovered that she can jump up and walk the top of the railing itself! This is about 3" wide but probably 15 feet up from the floor below. I know cats land on their feet but am concerned that a fall (or stupid jump) would result in broken leg, etc.

When I catch her on the railing, I take her off with a firm "NO" and a swat on the butt. This does not seem to deter her for more than a minute or two. Now she gets up there but jumps down when she hears me coming. I will not spank her unless I catch her in the act though. She is unafraid of water so the squirt gun trick is not effective.

Any thoughts on how to deter this behavior without doing any carpentry to my house?? Or am I concerned for nothing about a jump/fall from this height onto hardwood floor??
 

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I understand your concern. I friend of mine has a cat that jumped from a second floor balcony and broke a rib. At least that's what they assume but they were not home when it happened.

The first thing I thought of when I read your post was to build on to the top of your railing (before I read your last paragraph about wishing to avoid any carpentry).

Radio Shack makes a noisy motion sensor alarm that you may think about placing on the rail. First off, it would have to be in such a way that it would only be triggered by the cat on the railing, not by people walking by. Secondly, your cat would have to be afraid of the alarm which not all cats are. I originally bought one of these to keep my cat away from the Christmas tree but after time, he was no longer scared by the alarm. At least it was there to let me know when he was where he didn't belong.
 
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