Catio Balconies

Everything You Need to Know About Catio Balconies

Because most apartments have balconies, cat parents frequently assume that their pet cats are safe on their balconies. However, this assumption is wrong, as it neglects the fact that cats are great climbers and playful. Regardless of the type of balcony that comes with your apartment, the balcony is usually not safe enough for cats. 

They may fall off the balcony while chasing after flies or birds, resulting in serious injuries and, in extreme cases, death. You prevent this when you get a catio balcony for your cat. This article examines what a catio balcony is and how it works to provide your pet cats with the protection they need while spending time on your balcony.

What is a Catio Balcony?

As you may infer from the name, catio is an adaptation of the word “patio.” Catio refers to an enclosure that allows cats to enjoy the fresh air and spend time outside without falling off the balcony. It uses closely knitted fencing to protect and prevent the movement of the cats outside the balcony. 

Thus, if your apartment comes with a balcony, the balcony is an ideal place for the catio. Regardless of the balcony design, you can modify the balcony to make it safer for the cats. For instance, if the balcony is enclosed and the only open space is the window, you can secure the windows and add more items that make the space more comfortable. If the balcony is open, like most, there are different ways to secure it and make it into a catio balcony. 

The bottom line is to make the balcony safer for pet cats. While the idea behind the catio balcony is to protect the cats and restrict their movement, the enclosure should also function as a lounge area where the cats can relax, bask in the sun, and play safely. 

Factors to Consider Before Building A Catio Balcony

Many things go into the construction of the catio balcony. Because the idea is to make your pet cat happy, safe, and healthy, all of these considerations border on the safety and health of the cat. Some of these factors include:

  1. Weather Conditions

Building a catio means you expect your cat to spend a lot of time outside. As a result, you need to consider the weather condition, as it affects the cat’s ability to live and function properly. 

Therefore, you need to consider the weather conditions in your area and make provisions for them while building the catio. You will need to provide shaded areas for your cat to escape the sun when it gets too hot and a warm area to cuddle up in if it gets too cold. It would be best to have a covered or protected area where the cat can hide from the rain when it starts. 

  1. Space

Another factor you want to consider while building the catio balcony is the space at your disposal. The available space around your balcony determines how far you can construct the catio. While reviewing the available space, it is important to consider the vertical space, as cats enjoy jumping around. 

Also, the optimal space used for the catio balcony depends on the number of cats that use the space and if you will be spending time with the cats in the catio. In most cases, many cat parents use the same balcony space where they relax for the catio. This means that they share the same space with their cats, and the construction of the catio balcony will have to factor in human use.

  1. Cat Activity and Needs

Every cat parent understands that cats are very active animals with a strong need for physical and mental stimulation to maintain a healthy well-being. Thus, you must consider this need when building the catio balcony by incorporating several cat toys and avenues for physical activities. 

You should also bear in mind that cats get bored of things easily. Thus, your provisions for cat toys should be dynamic and flexible, allowing you to rotate and make changes to the toys as the need arises. 

How to Build A Catio Balcony 

As mentioned earlier, the balcony is usually the best place to build a catio. However, the type of catio that goes onto the balcony depends on the balcony’s design or the type of balcony you have. Thus, we will review the steps involved in building a catio balcony based on the different types of balconies.

  1. Enclosed Balcony

The only open space in an enclosed balcony is the window. However, leaving the window open is unsafe, and the cats may jump out through it and injure themselves. Also, it is not advisable to close the window, as it could be the only source of light and air for the cat on the balcony, and in hot temperatures, closing the window may be uncomfortable for the cat. 

In this case, there are two ways to go about it, and they include:

  • Build a fence frame around the window in a way that allows you to open and close it properly. This way, you can leave the window open without worrying about your cat jumping off. 
  • Get a cat cage that fits into the balcony space without taking up all the space. With this cage, you can leave the window open without endangering the cat. However, the cage must be big enough for all the cats to play but not too large to take up all the space on the balcony. 
  1. Open Balcony

This is the more popular balcony type, and you have to use a proper catio if you have pet cats in an apartment with this type of balcony. Below are some of the ideas and ways to construct an ideal catio with an open balcony; 

  • Use catio panels, a closely-knitted cat-proof material, around the open balcony. Catio panels are ideal because they have large openings to allow fresh air and are small enough to prevent cats from jumping off the balcony. For better support, you should build a fence around the catio and look for loopholes in the catio panels. 
  • If you do not want to enclose your balcony but want to keep your cats safe, you can construct a catio as a cage. You will need the same materials and procedure, including catio panels and building fencing around the panels. The only difference is that the catio is not attached to the balcony and is only a standalone catio cage. 
  1. Deck

With a patio or deck, you have the same options as an open balcony. You can either use the catio panels to cat-proof the whole deck or use the same panels to create a standalone catio-like cage on the deck to house the cat. 

Must-Haves for a Catio

After building the catio, certain things should be in it to make it conducive and comfortable for the cats. These things are the minimum requirements for a functioning catio, and they include the following:

  1. Food

 This goes without any explanation. Your cat should be able to access food in the catio. Therefore, you must make provisions for food, especially if the catio is enclosed like a standalone cage. 

  1. Water

This is also as important as the first item. In the case of water, ensure that the water bowl is placed in a shaded area where it can retain its freshness before the cat gets to drink it. 

  1. Litter Box

 This is another important item, especially if the catio is a standalone cage. The litter box will include your cat’s most important and primary needs. 


Catio balconies are ways through which you can protect your cats and prevent them from jumping off balconies and injuring themselves. Depending on the type of balcony your apartment has, your catio balcony may adopt varying looks and designs. 

Regardless of the look or design of the catio balcony, it must perform its main function, which is to protect your cat and allow it to carry out its playful activities safely. If you ever get stuck while trying to create the perfect catio balcony for your cat, feel free to run over the different approaches and catio must-haves highlighted in this guide. Good luck!

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