Because it’s very easy for cats to get badly hurt by spending unsupervised time on a balcony, and because my purrkids really REALLY like being on the balcony, one of the first things we did when we moved in was devise an enclosure that would keep them safe. The landlord objected to the full-height full-balcony one, so we’ve gone through a couple of versions that were lower than the balcony railing. That way, through the summer when it’s hot, we can just leave a couple of low windows open and the cats can wander in and out at will, enjoying the cool night breeze, whether we’re watching or not, and still be safe. The most recent one was vandalized to make Angel’s short-lived enclosure in the living room, so I asked my dad, who was going to be coming to visit anyway, to pick up more 1×2 wood for me so I could rebuild it.
Being my dad, he couldn’t just do that. Once he had dimensions and knew what I wanted to do, he decided to do a lot of it. Of course, he has proper tools, which I really don’t.
The previous version was an outer panel that was 8′ long by 3′ high, with one support in the middle, and two hinged end panels that were 4’x3′, and a single bar across the fourth side for support, all of basic 1×2 wood, then plastic mesh fencing covering it. It had a couple of openings that I had to devise ways to block, but it worked, for the most part. One thing that I did want to do was change the long outer panel to two shorter ones, so that moving it would be easier – when we had to break it down last fall for the landlord to do some “repairs” to the brickwork, that long panel was a royal nuisance.
The new version, however, is a huge improvement. This one is more like 2x2s, and the outer face is two separate panels, which is going to be much easier for moving it when necessary, and there are two more panels on the inner face (but with no mesh so the kids can go in and out the windows) that stabilize it beautifully, and then two 4’x4′ panels that lay across the top as a much more sturdy roof. There are still a couple of possible escape holes, just because the shape of the outer face of the building keeps it all from sitting tightly against it all around, but I can fix those. And we only partly fastened one end panel, so it makes a gate I can use to get in, instead of ungracefully climbing out a knee-height small window to reach them if necessary.
On top of that, he made this sweet little 4-legged table thing out of scrap wood, planks that look like barn boards on top and tree branches with bark for the legs and the braces between them, that’s just a perfect size for two cats to perch or one cat to sprawl.
A picture says a thousand words, so how about I just show you the pics? Trick helped with showing the scale.
PS, a chipmunk lives in that green area between the buildings, often seen scurrying around, and squirrels run along the fence and the top of the retaining wall, and birds show up frequently as well. We aren’t allowed to feed them anymore, sadly, but the kids find entertainment anyway.