Should My Cat Be Allowed on My Balcony?

May 27, 2020


Having a cat in a big city often means 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 the balcony to get some fresh air and see some of the outside world? In general, that answer is no. However, if this is something you’d really like to do, you must take 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’ll want to ensure your cat cannot escape the balcony area. Having a fully screened-in balcony is ideal. Or, you can put up netting or fencing to enclose your outdoor space. If you’re so inclined and handy with tools, you can 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 cat to be stuck outdoors when it is very hot or cold! In addition, keep in mind that cat-proofing your balcony is not always as easy as it sounds; cats are known for being sneaky escape artists! Your cat should never be left unsupervised on the balcony

If an enclosed balcony or catio is not an option, you may also consider taking your cat outside with a harness and leash for some outdoor time.  When deciding whether to take your cat outside without an enclosure, keep your individual cat’s personality in mind – would your cat react well to seeing a dog pass by? Or a bird or squirrel? Lastly, an important fact to keep in mind is that a cat that has been spayed or neutered is less likely to roam and stray far from their owners in the event they should get loose. 

Before allowing your cat on the balcony, they should be vaccinated and microchipped in case of accidental escape. If allowing your cat onto the balcony seems like too much work, a nice sitting perch indoors by a window with a view is an excellent alternative! Your cat will be able to safely see the happenings of the neighborhood without the risk of getting loose. If keeping your cat inside feels like the best solution, there are a variety of ways you can keep your cat engaged mentally and physically while indoors. For times you are away, Windy City Paws offers multiple cat-sitting service options and we can always incorporate the same mental/physical stimulations for your cat that you do!

Balconies can be a lot of fun for your cat if you take the correct precautions. With proper preparation and care, it can be a lifelong enjoyment for your pet, giving them the mental stimulation they may otherwise not receive if they stayed indoors 100% of the time.

Written for Windy City Paws by Lauren Baud, Updated 2023