Cats have amazing balancing power. All it takes to make a cat lose her balance is a distraction, such as a bird or a butterfly, or a sudden gust of wind. This is known as high-rise syndrome and can lead to a fractured jaw, broken pelvis, or a ruptured diaphragm.
You are desperate for some fresh air. You open the curtains. Your cat jumps up on the window ledge, exposing her skin to the sun. Then she spots a bird below. It’s not difficult to imagine that the cat will indulge in some skydiving, but without a parachute.
Pay attention to your windows. You have many options to allow fresh air to enter your home without the cat getting out, such as fly screens or purchased window guards. Flyscreens can be a good option, but they are not as effective as nothing. If your cat likes climbing, the mesh could be ripped and shredded. Look for pet mesh screens. This is fiberglass wire coated with nylon that can withstand even the most determined climber.
Pet screens can look unattractive or block out the view. You can find invisible versions that will protect your cat while still preserving the view.
If you have a balcony, ‘catios are a great option. These outdoor spaces are safe for cats and allow them to play outdoors. It is important to make a catio safe and enjoyable for your cat.
A net can be rigged over the balcony to keep the cat safe. These nets are made of reinforced wire. They are stronger than what they appear, more weatherproof, and UV stable than they seem. Balcony nets aren’t very attractive, so while safety is important, you might consider other options. Or you can use cat proof fences to secure your pets.
A bamboo fence can be rolled out that is higher than the balcony rail. This is an excellent option for older, more tranquil cats. The bamboo fence acts as a barrier and stops them from climbing onto the rail. This may be a quick and easy solution, but more active cats will need to go a step further.
Did you ever visit the zoo? Have you noticed the enclosure for the lions? The enclosure was enclosed by a high vertical fence with a lip at one end. This lip is known as a reverse overhang. It prevents cats from climbing up the fence.
The balcony rail with a reverse overhang has a beautiful aesthetic and is highly effective. There are many options for fences. You can either buy a commercial kit or make your own with brackets, Perspex sheeting, or use a pet net.
Keep your cat happy in your catio. They will be less likely to wander away if there’s plenty to entertain them. As an example, give your cat a place to sit and enjoy the view of the world. To give your cat a private space, grow tall sun-loving plants and trays of catnip or oatmeal. You can place cat scratch posts near your cat’s door to encourage scratching and marking. Also, consider hiding food among the plants to give your cat a chance to go hunting.
Verandas & Enclosures
A cat enclosure can be a good investment for ambitious cat owners with a budget. These include small enclosed “verandas”, which are small, open-air mesh boxes that are mounted outside of windows with a platform to rest. If the window is open, the cat will access their own veranda. This allows both of you to take in the fresh air, while cat-proof fences keep your cats safe and secure.
Even more ambitious are large enclosures that can be mounted on an apartment’s outside wall. These can be accessed via flaps or a cat door. Innovative designs, such as outdoor walkways and ledges, can make it possible to live several floors higher than the surrounding buildings.
You have other options if this sounds overwhelming. These are like an enclosed playpen but can be easily popped up in the sun to give your cat access outside. When not in use, they can be collapsed.
A little planning can ensure that your cat can enjoy relaxing in the fresh air, while still being completely safe. This will provide you with both relaxation and peace of mind.
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