Should I Be Worried About My Cat Jumping Off The Balcony?

Assessing the Risks

When assessing the risks of a cat jumping off a balcony, the three main factors to consider are the height of the balcony, the cat’s age/health status, and the landing surface below.

Studies show that cats have a high rate of survival for falls up to 7 stories, but mortality increases sharply past 7 stories (Source). Older cats or cats with pre-existing conditions may be at higher risk for injury, even from shorter falls. And landing on a hard surface like concrete significantly increases the chance of fractures and other traumatic injuries (Source).

To accurately evaluate the risk, determine the height of the balcony or window in stories. Also consider the cat’s age, mobility, and any prior injuries or illnesses. Finally, check what surface is directly below – grass or soil is safer than concrete or pavement.

Preventative Measures

One of the best ways to prevent cats from falling or jumping off balconies is to install physical barriers like netting or screens. According to experts, netting is a popular solution because it allows air to flow while keeping cats safely contained ( You can install cat netting or mesh along the railing using cable ties or hooks without damaging the balcony. For a more permanent option, consider a custom cat enclosure like a Catio that turns part of the balcony into a safe outdoor space for cats.

Cat deterrents can also help discourage jumping. Applying double-sided sticky tape along the railing creates an unpleasant surface for paws. Scat mats that deliver a static shock work as well. You can also place foil or plastic sheeting over any tempting perches. Just be sure deterrents don’t block your cat’s access to the litterbox. Supervision and training are still required with deterrents.

Ultimately, physical barriers like netting provide the best protection according to experts. Deterrents may work for some cats but should not be solely relied upon ( Focus on completely sealing off the balcony edge from all access points so your cat cannot get around barriers.

Training Your Cat

One of the best ways to train your cat not to jump off high places like balconies is through harness training and supervision. Putting your cat in a harness and leash allows you to monitor your cat outside on the balcony while preventing any unsafe jumping. Start harness training indoors first so your cat gets used to wearing a harness. Give your cat treats for calm behavior while putting the harness on and taking it off. Then move to the balcony and reward your cat for staying by your side or sitting on an outdoor cat tree. With patience and consistency, your cat will learn that exploring the balcony comes with boundaries.

It’s also crucial to supervise your cat any time they have access to a balcony. Even with training, their instincts can take over. Stay outside with your cat or install a cat-proof balcony enclosure they can’t slip through. Check for any small gaps they could wiggle through. Pay attention to your cat’s body language for any signs they may be getting ready to leap upward. With consistent training and monitoring, you can curb the urge to jump while still allowing safe outdoor access.


Creating a Safe Landing

One way to help protect your cat if they do fall from a balcony is to create a safe landing area below. This involves strategically placing items that can help cushion their fall and prevent serious injury.

Placing plants or bushes below the balcony can be an effective strategy. The leaves and branches can help break the cat’s fall and absorb some of the impact before they hit the ground. Thick, leafy plants like hostas or hydrangeas are good options. Just make sure the plants do not have poisonous leaves that could harm your cat.

You can also place padding on the ground below the balcony. Old pillows, blankets, foam mats, or even piles of mulch can help cushion your cat’s landing. Aim to make the padding at least several inches thick – the thicker the better. And make sure to regularly fluff the padding to keep it soft and shock-absorbent.

By preparing safe landing zones with padding and plants below the balcony, you can help protect your cat from serious injury if they do fall. Just be sure to frequently inspect, maintain and replace the padding as needed. And prune plants like bushes to encourage dense, soft growth.

Minor Falls

Minor falls from a balcony for a cat typically result in cuts, scrapes, bruises, and temporary limping or soreness. Cats are remarkably resilient animals and can often walk away from short falls of 1-2 stories with just some bruises and cuts. Their flexible bodies and quick reflexes allow them to right themselves in the air and land feet-first, absorbing impact through their legs. Though a cat may limp or have soreness after a fall, this usually resolves within a few days with rest. Applying a warm compress and massaging the area can bring relief.

Bruising is common after a minor fall. Look for bruises, scrapes, or cuts on your cat’s legs, paws, underside, or head. Clean any broken skin with mild soap and water to prevent infection. Signs of bruising may not appear until the next day due to delayed soreness after a fall. If you notice excessive or worsening swelling, continued limping beyond 48 hours, decreased appetite, or lethargy, a veterinarian visit is warranted.

Major Falls

Cats that fall from heights of more than two stories are at high risk for severe injuries, including broken bones and internal injuries. According to the ASPCA, common injuries from high-rise falls include shattered jaws, broken limbs, pelvic fractures, ruptured lungs, lacerated livers, and chest trauma (

Falls from the 4th story or higher frequently result in severe, life-threatening injuries. Common bone fractures include injuries to the legs, pelvis, tail, and jaw. Internal injuries may involve punctured lungs, damage to abdominal organs like the liver or spleen, and chest trauma. Cats that survive the initial impact often face lengthy, difficult recoveries requiring intensive medical care.

According to one study, cats falling from heights above 7 stories had much higher rates of pulmonary hemorrhage, pneumothorax, liver or diaphragmatic rupture, and fractures. More than half of cats falling from over 9 stories did not survive. Rapid emergency care is essential for cats suffering major traumatic injuries from high-rise falls (

When to See the Vet

If your cat is showing signs of injury after a fall, it’s important to monitor them closely and call your vet right away if certain symptoms develop. Some key indicators that your cat needs medical attention include:

Limping – If you notice your cat limping or reluctance to bear weight on a limb after a fall, this indicates they may have a fracture or sprain that requires veterinary care. Limping puts stress on the other limbs as well, so prompt treatment is best.

Crying – If your cat is crying or whining excessively after a fall, this is a sign they are in pain. Cats are very stoic animals, so vocalizations of pain should not be ignored.

Loss of appetite – After a fall, if your cat stops eating or has a decreased appetite over 12-24 hours, this can be a red flag for internal injury. Loss of appetite can also indicate high stress levels after trauma.

It’s always better to err on the side of caution – if your cat experiences a serious fall and exhibits any of these symptoms, call your vet right away. They can provide a thorough examination and determine if emergency care is needed (source: With prompt care for injuries, most cats make a full recovery.

Emergency Care

If your cat suffers a major fall and is unresponsive or having trouble breathing, it’s critical to administer CPR right away. Gently extend your cat’s neck to open the airway and check for breathing. If not breathing, start rescue breaths immediately by sealing your mouth over your cat’s nose/mouth and give 1 breath every 3 seconds (for small cats) or 5 seconds (for large cats) while checking for a heartbeat. Perform chest compressions if there is no heartbeat, doing 5 compressions for every 1 breath at a rate of 80-120 compressions per minute. Continue CPR until your cat revives or until you can get emergency vet care, as prolonged CPR can help save your cat’s life (Source).

To prevent further injury, carefully immobilize any fractures using cardboard splints taped in place or by wrapping the area in a towel to limit movement. Don’t try to set bones or push limbs back in place. Transport your cat in a secure carrier or board to the vet clinic immediately for x-rays and proper treatment of any broken bones or other traumatic injuries. Be extremely gentle when moving cats with potential back/neck injuries to avoid paralysis. Let a professional properly immobilize the spine/neck before transporting (Source).

Providing Comfort

If your cat has experienced a fall, it’s important to allow them to rest and recover. This may involve confining them to a small room or cat carrier with soft bedding to prevent further injury. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, you should “Monitor your cat for several days” after a fall to watch for signs of internal injury or bleeding. Restrict activity and do not allow jumping or rough play during this recovery period.

Your vet may prescribe pain medication to help your cat remain comfortable as they heal. PetCareRx recommends contacting your vet for advice on “anti-inflammatory drugs to ease discomfort and pain” after a cat experiences a traumatic fall. Never give your cat human pain medications without consulting a vet first. Proper prescription pain relief will allow your cat to relax and prevent further stress or injury as their body mends.

Preventing Repeat Falls

The best way to prevent repeated falls is by cat-proofing your home and balcony. This involves setting up physical barriers that prevent your cat from accessing dangerous areas. Some options include:

  • Installing vertical or horizontal balcony netting. Make sure the netting has small openings that a cat’s claws cannot hook into (no more than 1/2″ x 1/2″). Check that all edges are securely fastened with no loose areas.
  • Placing tangled branches or garden netting on railings and ledges to block access.
  • Covering railings with smooth plexiglass or cardboard tubes that spin when grasped.
  • Planting cat-safe greenery like lavender or rosemary in window boxes and planters, which deters cats with their strong scent.

In addition to cat-proofing, supervise your cat closely whenever they are on the balcony. Keep cats on a leash or in a catio enclosure. Pay attention to conditions that could be hazardous like high winds. Remove anything being stored on balconies that cats could climb up on. With diligence and training, you can curb the desire to jump and leap.

Check out this DIY catio tutorial for inspiration: [url1]

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