Cat Netting for Balconies and Windows
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Cats love heights, but their penchant for altitudes can often get them in trouble. There is a reason for the clichéd trope of firefighters having to remove cats stuck in trees, but the real danger is not the cat going up to heights. The problem is the risk of falling from them. Falling from heights in cats is a phenomenon which has even been given the terminology of high-rise syndrome. More specifically, this is the set of injuries a cat sustains when they fall from great height.
Protecting cats from falling is important for cat guardians. Those of us who live in tall buildings often simply keep the windows closed, but this can be problematic for some of us. Cat netting for balconies and windows could be the solution, so keep reading AnimalWised to learn more.
Is cat netting for windows and balconies necessary?
Domestic cats evolved from their wildcat ancestors. The process of domestication made it easier for the animals to live with human families, but much of their wild instinct remains. This is partly due to the fact they have a very similar physiology. Generally speaking, cats are very agile mammals with the ability to climb to squeeze through small gaps, contort their body into various positions and climb up to great heights.
We can see our cat's instincts in action when they are playing. Since we provide for a cat's basic needs, they do not need to hunt for their own food. The cat still exercises their hunting instincts by catching insects, lizards, birds and small mammals. Whether they kill them often depends on the feline's mood, but they are always on the watch for them.
Going up to heights is important for cats in the wild. Not only can they scan their environment for prey, they can stay alert for any potential predators who might see them as dinner. As excellent climbers, they will go up to trees or other tall areas with great ease. In the domestic environment, cats will do the same. The difference is that they will climb to the backs of sofas or the tops of bookshelves instead of trees or rocks.
Cats also have great balance. This is partly due to sensitive ear structures called vestibular receptors. When they start to tilt in the wrong direction, an increase in pressure occurs in these structures which sends the alarm to the cat's brain. Electrical signals from the brain are then sent to their locomotor system which returns them to the correct position.
It is due to these same vestibular and locomotor systems which allows a cat to right themselves when falling. A cat can turn their dorsal structure to the correct position from as little as 30 cm high. It is this great reflex which gives the impression that cats always land on their feet.
Unfortunately, these great abilities do not always prevent harm from a fall. Despite having great balance, there are situations which can lead to a cat losing it. This could be due to a very slippery surface, being knocked over or even having a disease which affects their balance, such as vestibular disease in cats. This can affect their ability to land properly, but falling will always cause damage if it occurs from a sufficient height. They can also fall onto something dangerous or catch themselves on sharp objects as they fall.
Cats which suffer from high-rise syndrome can sustain injuries such as nosebleeds, cleft palate, pneumothorax (presence of free air in the pleural cavity), dental fractures, dislocation of various joints and bone fractures. Internal bleeding and other damage may not be very visible, but we are often alerted to it by symptoms such as hematuria (blood in the cat's urine).
The survival rate of cat falls is around 90%. This is high considering the diversity of injuries suffered by the cat. Bleeding and breathing problems are the most common causes of death after a fall. Despite the good rate of recovery in felines, we still want to do all we can to avoid a fall.
If we live in a one-storey home, we likely won't have a problem with heights. For those of us who live in multistorey homes, we need to prevent their falling. Cat netting for balconies and windows might be our best option. If you are wondering whether cat netting is necessary for you, then we need to consider various factors.
Which cat netting should I choose?
The most suitable protection netting for cats is one made from polyethylene. This material is durable and has a resistance level similar to that of steel. This affords the best protection, especially from areas up high which can be at the mercy of the elements. Alternative nylon netting is not only less durable against the weather, cats can scratch it with their claws and more easily make a hole in the material.
Material is not the only factor we need to consider when choosing cat netting for balconies and windows. It is very important we consider the size of te holes in the netting. As we have already stated above, cats are very agile and often able to enter through very small passageways. When the gaps in the cat safety net are too large, it will no longer perform its function. It may even be worse as the cat may try to get through without realizing there is a drop on the other side.
In addition to safety against falls from a height, cat nets are also very useful for keeping cats out of the street. This can help cats avoid certain pathologies, parasites and altercations with other animals. This is particularly useful if the cat has immune-mediated disease. Although we recommend neutering in cats, non-neutered cats will be unable to mate with others thanks to the netting.
How much do cat nets cost?
The amount to invest in the safety of your four-legged friend will depend on the size of the windows, balcony and/or terrace. The most suitable protective screens for cats made of polyethylene are usually sold by the square meter. However, there may be some precut sizes. The prices are variable according to supplier, quality and country. You can find some good quality cat netting for as little as $2 per yard, but you should always check reviews before you buy.
How to install cat netting for balconies and windows
Installation must be done by a professional. The net needs to be securely fastened with no gaps between fixing locations. If this option is not available, we will need to follow the manufacturer's recommendations closely. Generally, the steps to follow when installing cat netting are as follows:
- Stretch the net completely to check that it occupies the entire window or balcony.
- Place metal pins in the corners to be able to affix the net. If the space to be covered is very large, you will have to place more pins so that the net is well fixed and the cat cannot get underneath.
- Tie the net to each pin.
- Cover the pins to prevent the cat from pulling the net out with their paws.
How to prevent a cat from jumping out the window
The only way to prevent the cat from jumping out the window is to keep it permanently closed or to put up protective nets. Despite being very intelligent, cats will not understand that they are not allowed to climb on balconies or through windows. They are naturally inclined to climb to high places and enjoy going outside to explore. Quashing this natural curiosity is difficult, so physical barriers are often required.
Now that you know the best ways to guarantee your cat's safety, we also recommend this related article in which we explain why cats like high places or you can watch the video above on the same subject.
If you want to read similar articles to Cat Netting for Balconies and Windows, we recommend you visit our Extra care category.
- Fernandes, S. S. (2013-2016). Parachute Cat Syndrome: A Retrospective Study of 78 Cases . Lusophone University of Humanities and Technologies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Lisbon, 2017. Available at: https://recil.ensinolusofona.pt/bitstream/10437/8147/1/Tese%20Sandy%20Fernandes.Final%20com%20juri.pdf
- Leal, M. (2016). Why do cats survive big falls? Physical PIBID. Retrieved from: https://fisica.alegre.ufes.br/sites/fisica.alegre.ufes.br/files/jornal_impresso_17_queda_dos_corpos.pdf.