Even though keeping your litter box on the balcony can help reduce smell in your home and provide your pet with some fresh air, it’s not recommended. Balconies are unsafe for cats and the elements will make the litter messy and work less effectively.
It’s Unsafe to Keep a Litter Box on a Balcony
Cats are notoriously curious creatures. When let outdoors, they’re exposed to new and interesting sights, sounds, and smells. Which may seem like a good thing, at least until that curiosity leads to a missing or injured cat.
Balconies aren’t designed to contain pets. Even if you cat-proof your balcony, cats can be surprisingly difficult to control. They’re skilled climbers, great jumpers, and can squeeze through any opening wide enough for their head to fit.
Even if your timid, indoor cat doesn’t seem like an acrobatic daredevil, they may surprise you when let out. Especially once they get comfortable with the situation.
For their safety, cats should never be let out unattended on a balcony. The risk of escape or falling greatly outweighs any benefit.
Is it really worth the risk?
Litter Boxes Don’t Agree With the Elements
Safety concerns aren’t the only reasons to avoid keeping your litter box on the balcony.
When exposed to the elements, most litter boxes don’t hold up so well.
Rain blowing into the litter will cause it to clump, or wood pellets to break apart.
Wind will blow litter out of the box, onto your balcony, and sometimes to neighboring balconies. Which I’m sure your neighbors will not appreciate.
Not to mention, your cat probably won’t enjoy having to go outside to handle their business in the rain or cold. Can you blame them?
Cats Need Constant Access to Their Litter Box
Unlike dogs, who can wait until they’re let out, cats need constant access to their litter box.
Don’t expect your cat to wait patiently for you to let them out after work.
If a cat is forced to ‘hold it’, it can lead to urinary tract infections or other medical issues. Though it will most often just lead to them finding somewhere inside the house to go.
If you have your cat’s only litter box on the balcony, you’ll need to leave the door open 24/7, or provide some other way to give constant access to the balcony (sliding pet door inserts being the most common).
Then Where Should the Litter Box Go?
It may sound like a great idea to keep your cat’s litter box on the balcony. After all, an outdoor litter box prevents smell in the home, is more hygienic, and provides your pet with some fresh air.
Unfortunately, the risks outweigh the rewards.
Finding the right spot for a litter box inside a small apartment can be a challenge. Despite the benefits, the balcony is not the best solution.
Keeping the litter box indoors will keep your cat safe.
‘Litter box smell’ can be largely managed by choosing the right location, the right litter, and proper upkeep (learn more about how to dispose of cat poop in an apartment).
Choose a well-ventilated area for the litter box. Avoid stuffy closets or enclosed areas, like under a sink.
Avoid litter containing artificial fragrances, which can be irritating and potentially harmful to cats. Instead opt for a plant-based litter like pine pellets, which naturally suppress the odors of urine and ammonia.
Scoop poop as soon as possible, and take to the dumpster or seal away in a cat waste disposal system immediately.
If you want your cat to get some fresh air, and experience more of the world than your apartment, consider leash training or an enclosed pet stroller. Both of which are much safer for your cat.
Despite the benefits, it’s not recommended to keep your cat’s litter box on a balcony. Escape and injury are very real risks, no matter how careful your setup. Rain and wind will wreak havoc on litter. And cats need constant access to their litter box.
Instead, keep the litter box inside in a well-ventilated area. Choose a litter that naturally manages odor, and scoop solids as soon as possible. A good setup and the right litter will go a long way to making your litter box as pleasant as possible.
About Matthew Alexander
Matthew lives in Maryland with his two cats, Puff and Pancho. He’s been caring for and fostering cats with various special needs for more than fifteen years. He hopes to pass some of the insight and knowledge that he’s gained on to the readers of Pawmore.