Cats on Balconies

Many people who live in cities allow their cats to lounge on their apartment balconies, but what should you do when your cat doesn't observe human boundaries?  Carol M. writes:

I live on the 4th floor of high-rise apartment building. My neighbor and I share a balcony and the partition doesn’t go all the way to the wall of the building or from top to bottom. Chester loves to go outside on the balcony. I’m not worried that he’ll fall off, but he goes over to my neighbor’s and she’s getting a bit annoyed about this. I told her that I never leave Chester out there when I’m gone, or overnight. She suggested that I try tying Chester up so that he can’t go over on her side of the balcony. This woman’s also worried about her plants and has put some bleach out, hoping that might keep Chester away. Should I see if building management would permit chicken wire to keep Chester from going over to her side? I’m thinking that maybe I should find a new home for Chester if this is going to be so troublesome. Thanks for any feedback you might be able to provide.

Carol, while Chester probably does enjoy being out on the balcony, in no way is this a safe place for him.  We've seen and heard numerous stories of cats slipping off of balconies such as your own.  He really is better off staying indoors unless you're able to turn the patio into a catio.  Having a cat-hating neighbor just increases the risks to him.  He won't hurt her plants but her idiotic bleach solution could certainly kill him.  You'll be doing well to keep Chester very far away from this psychopath.  She's just as likely to push him off the edge herself!  And under no circumstances should you tie a cat up.  That's not a solution no matter how much your awful neighbor might enjoy it.

Lots of people are enclosing their outdoor patios with very nice screened-in cat runs, or catios.  Here's a video of one of our favorites:

While the catio pictured here is not a cheap option, there are less expensive ways to achieve the same thing if your landlord will allow it.  That would be the first question to ask.  If they will let you do so, a quick construction of wire and wood will keep Chester safe while also allowing him to feel the breeze on his face.  The coated screen like in the video makes for a visually unobtrusive barrier but you must be careful to enclose the top.  Cats are ingenious escape artists and if you aren't careful, Chester will find a way out.

Carol, we have to believe that you care for Chester or you wouldn't have asked for help, but your statement that you might need to find him a new home gives us pause.  Surely he'd be better off being kept inside with you than given away because of an annoying neighbor. We certainly hope that you'll do what you can to make this work before even considering getting rid of your feline friend.  We wish you and Chester all the best!