In fact, cats always land on their paws, even if they fall from a great height. Despite this, tragic accidents occur again and again throughout Germany after a cat has jumped (or fallen) from a balcony. It is not uncommon for their innate flight or hunting instinct to be to blame for the ill-considered leap into the depths. The decisive factor here is the fall height, so that balconies in multi-storey residential buildings in particular pose a great risk for house tigers. Nevertheless, you should not prevent your pet from going outside, as it is a real blessing for purely indoor cats. And the fact is: With the right precautions, you can make any balcony cat-proof.
To prevent your cat from jumping or falling off the balcony, it is advisable to install a safety net. There are different colors and sizes, although the color is certainly a matter of taste - some find transparent models more pleasant, while others prefer a black cat net. The size, on the other hand, depends on how the balcony was designed. In other words, is it only open to the front, on both sides, or is it possibly freestanding? There are different approaches for each case, which you can read in detail in the next paragraph.
If you want to make your balcony safe for cats, you can take additional safety precautions. These are especially necessary when the distances between the bars of your railing are so wide that a house cat could fit through. To prevent your pet from escaping through the grate, you can attach a bamboo or plastic screen to it. This is attached to the railing with cable ties and keeps your cat from leaving the balcony. Of course, the safety net in the upper area still has to be attached.
Another tip: You can also have a cat flap integrated into the balcony door - although it is not for safety, it does give your house tiger more freedom to go out into the fresh air. This is especially useful when you are not at home but the animal wants to go outside. A glazier can help you install the flap quickly and safely.
A cat net must have several properties at the same time: It should be tear-resistant, weatherproof and UV-resistant. Color is a matter of personal preference, with dark tones designed to blend in better with the environment, while light and transparent models reflect more sunlight. The stitches are individual and should be based on the animal - if it is still young and active, small distances (20 to 40 millimeters) are the better choice. For older cats that are no longer so agile, wider distances (50 millimeters) are sufficient. To be on the safe side, you can also measure the animal's head circumference using a string. How the safety net is then mounted depends on the type of balcony. Three examples follow.
Important for you to know: Before you want to attach a cat net, you should ask your landlord for permission - this applies in particular to models that you want to attach to the masonry and have to drill holes in the walls. Alternatively, there are also safety nets for house tigers, which can be attached using tension belts, cable ties or telescopic rods and can therefore usually be installed without consultation.
In addition to the cat net, you also need two telescopic rods for assembly (if the balcony is particularly wide, a third rod in the middle is worthwhile). Thread the ends of the mesh over the poles before placing them in the front two corners of the balcony. Then clamp the poles between the floor and ceiling together with the net.
In this scenario you need four telescopic rods - one for each corner. Depending on the width of the balcony, it also makes sense to attach a fifth pole in the middle of the balcony (in front) so that the cat net does not sag. It is best to cut this to the desired size before stretching it side to side across each rod and hanging.
Here again you need four to five poles, depending on the width of the balcony, and also special clamps for the railing. As in the first two cases, proceed corner by corner and then fix the cat net with the railing or wall clamps. You can pull the net taut with an additional tension rope.
If you plant plants on a balcony that is freely accessible to your cat, you should only use non-toxic plants. Because house tigers usually eat blades of grass to stimulate their digestion - your pet may not or cannot leave the apartment, one or the other leaf will be nibbled on. For this reason, you should not keep any of the following poisonous plants on the balcony: lilies, begonias, daffodils, hyacinths, bromeliads, chrysanthemums, angel's trumpets, clematis, oleander and ivy. If you use fertilizer regularly, you must make sure that it is not accessible to your cat - for example via a full watering can, which the animals like to drink from.
Of course, you don't have to do without balcony plants entirely, after all there are also many beautiful varieties that are not poisonous to cats, such as: catnip, bamboo, violets and lavender or herbs (e.g. mint, valerian or nasturtium). You can also sow a kind of grass substitute for your house tiger so that it can pursue its usual urge to eat a few stalks. Cat grass or Cyprus grass is particularly suitable for this. Alternatively, you can also try to distract your pet from the plants by providing exciting toys for the cat on the balcony: furry mice, balls or rustling tunnels.
Even if house cats like to sunbathe, they still need a shady spot on the balcony on hot days. This allows your pet to be outside in the summer without becoming dehydrated. To avoid scratching its claws on the cat net or other furniture, you can set up an outdoor scratching post - it doubles as a place to sleep and a lookout platform. If you would also like to redesign the floor of the balcony to make it cat-friendly, we recommend laying out wooden panels or cork flooring. Both coverings store heat and are ideal for house cats.
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