Your balcony isn’t just a lovely spot for you to enjoy. The family cat would also like some time on the railing, whether to watch the goings-on in the neighborhood or catch some naps in outdoor sunbeams. The problem is that cats can easily get up to any railing, and they may fall or even mistakenly jump off. If you are allowing your cats onto the balcony, you need to prevent them from accessing the railing itself. Here are four safe ways to do it.

1. Create an Enclosure

One of the most secure ways to allow your cat to access the balcony without jumping onto the railing is to create an enclosure for them. Think of it like a chicken coop or a zoo pen. It’s a small area that you can put your cat in where they can still smell, hear, and see the outdoors, but which they can’t leave.

You’ll find plenty of DIY catios online to draw inspiration from, but you don’t need to get out a tool bag to supply your cat with the outdoor experience he or she craves. Instead, you can simply buy a large dog cage and place it on the balcony.

If you are interested in creating an enclosure yourself, you’ll need a durable netting option that has holes too small for a cat to wriggle through. Chicken wire, bird netting, and specially-made pet screens are all good options. You can use staple guns, zip ties or nails to keep them in place. Ensure the door is easy to access and that the whole thing won’t collapse if the cat stretches against it.

Whatever you use to make the catio, if you pair it with a cat door for your window, you can make it so your cat can always access the space.

2. Use Rail Deterrents

If you don’t want to enclose the cat, but you still want to give them access to the railing, you can place deterrents on the rails themselves. There are many options, but most are not something we would trust without supervision. At the very least, you want to watch your vat and ensure the deterrent is successful, even if there is a bird flying by, before you let them spend any time on the balcony alone.

Rail deterrents are things that you can put on the rail in order to discourage your cat from wanting to spend time there. Cat spray, bird spike strips, and sticky pads are all options.

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3. Fill Railing Gaps

While your primary concern may be your cat jumping from the railing, it is also possible for cats to wiggle through the gaps in the railing. Those with cable rails that are horizontal and close together likely don’t need to worry about this. However, you may want to measure your rails to check.

4. Use a Harness

While you will need to supervise your cat on the balcony if they are wearing a harness, it will also give you the option to pull your cat back if they land on the railing.