Having a kitty in a big city often means that they spend all or most of their lives indoors, but what if you have an apartment or a house with a balcony? Should your cat be allowed to go out onto it to get some fresh air and exercise? In general, that answer is no unless you have taken several precautions first!
The number one concern with letting your cat onto a balcony is their safety. Especially if you live in a high-rise building, you want to make sure that your cat cannot escape the balcony. Having a fully screened-in balcony is ideal, or you can also put up netting or fencing to enclose your outdoor space. If you’re so inclined, you could even build your kitty their very own “catio” outdoors! If you do build a catio or fully enclose your balcony, always make sure there is a way for your cat to get back inside whenever they want—you don’t want your kitty to get stuck outdoors when it is very hot or very cold! Also keep in mind that cat-proofing your balcony is not always as easy as it sounds as cats are known for being sneaky!
If you can’t enclose your balcony or build a catio because you rent or because it’s too expensive, you could also take your cat out with a harness and leash for some outdoor time, but they should never be unsupervised on the balcony. Also keep your individual cat’s personality in mind when deciding to take him or her outside without an enclosure—would your kitty react well to seeing a dog pass by? Or a bird or squirrel? Also, a cat who has been spayed or neutered is less likely to roam, so it’s important to keep that in mind when making a decision about letting your feline friend take a trip outdoors!
Before allowing your cat on the balcony, make sure they are vaccinated and microchipped, just in case the worst happens! And if allowing your cat on the balcony seems like too much work, you can also give them a nice sitting perch indoors by a window with a nice view! That way they can see the happenings of the neighborhood without risking getting loose. You can also help keep them engaged mentally and physically indoors if venturing outside seems too risky.
Balconies can be a lot of fun for your kitty if you take the correct precautions—just be sure to thoroughly think it through and prepare before letting them have outdoor time! And if there is any question about the safety of your outdoor space, take caution and keep them indoors.