Martha, my 5 year old domestic long hair mix likes to hang out on the balcony, and specifically perched on the 4 inch ledge. The ledge she prefers is over concrete, about 12 feet to the ground. She is not calm while hanging out on the ledge, but restless, looking over the edge like she is planning to jump (there are many birds in the area).

First, will a cat put itself in danger by jumping from a height like this? Second, is this dangerously high for a cat, i.e. can the fall kill or injure her? She is not an athletic cat, but more of a lap cat. For now, I don't tolerate her jumping up on the ledge, and shoo her off as soon as I see her jump on it. Am I being paranoid, or is this a real danger?

P.S. sorry for such a noob question, if you've heard it before. Emotion: smile

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Martha, my 5 year old domestic long hair mix likes to hang out on the balcony, and specifically perched on ... ledge, but restless, looking over the edge like she is planning to jump (there are many birds in the area).

If she asleep and rolls off like all cats do she can really hurt herself
First, will a cat put itself in danger by jumping from a height like this? Second, is this dangerously high ... off as soon as I see her jump on it. Am I being paranoid, or is this a real danger?

yes a 12 foot drop on concrete can break legs
You may want to secure the ledge or prevent the furball from getting up there. I tell everyone think of a cat as a 2 year old toddler your attitude should be will they OF COURSE THEY WILL ;-)
P.S. sorry for such a noob question, if you've heard it before. Emotion: smile

Not asking is a noob question ;-)
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Martha, my 5 year old domestic long hair mix likes to hang out on the balcony, and specifically perched on ... ledge, but restless, looking over the edge like she is planning to jump (there are many birds in the area).

She wants to chase them but knows it's too high.
First, will a cat put itself in danger by jumping from a height like this?

Sometimes. After long debate.
Second, is this dangerously high for a cat, i.e. can the fall kill or injure her? She is not an ... off as soon as I see her jump on it. Am I being paranoid, or is this a real danger?

If she sleeps up there, danger yes. Also if ever icey or wet, she may not recognize the danger and slip off.
P.S. sorry for such a noob question, if you've heard it before. Emotion: smile

Grin, there are no n00b questions. Just ones you aren't sure of the answer of.
Ok, next part (not asked but implied) is what to do about it. The fix may be simpler than you think and preseve her 'joy of an outside perch to watch the birds from'. HOA and/or rental rules (if renting) may come into play here.
Describe the porch best you can (or best if you can, take digital pictures of all angles and put them on the web at one of those freebie sites then post the links). Is it wood? Does it have rails all the way to the top and is covered? The easiest fix then is to screen it and believe it or not, but that is much easier than you think. I have a 44ft x 13foot fully screened porch with a wood ledge much like you describe. Don, me and Charlotte helping carry things can rescreen this in under 2 hours. Granted we have more practice and power tools are no stranger to us.

The easiest route (not same we use here) is a clear plastic netting. It looks like it's made of fine clear fishing line and in a square or diamond pattern (openings normally about 1.5 inches). This stuff can't be seen from
20 feet away and isnt exactly noticable from 12 feet. It comes in strongerversions capable of preventing a child from getting through it (even the thicker ones are no-seem-um from 40 ft).
Assuming you have a wood ledge and some wood above to attach to, the easiest and fastest way is to get some long strips of thin molding (be looking for things about 1/2 inch across and 1/4-1/3 inch deep). Measure your porch first and have them cut it to fit (one set for bottom, one for top). Wrap the netting about the top set and nail it up. Take the netting at the bottom, trim as needed, then wrap it about the bottom set and nail it up. Done. If you want the wood painted, paint first before putting it up.

Our job is a bit different as we have posts all along (obviously when it's 44feet long) plus one side area. We have to make a frame (similar as to described) between the posts then tuck a heavier true screen in for bug proof needs. I like to leave the porch open to the house and don't want bugs in.
Tell me a bit more and if folks dont mind here, I can give details. If they mind here, I'll have you meet me in alt.home.repair where the guys have seen me show folks how to do this many times and always enjoy the exchange.
Martha, my 5 year old domestic long hair mix likes to hang out on the balcony, and specifically perched on ... ledge, but restless, looking over the edge like she is planning to jump (there are many birds in the area).

Yes, it is EXTREMELY likely that she WILL jump, sooner or later.
First, will a cat put itself in danger by jumping from a height like this?

Yes.
Second, is this dangerously high for a cat, i.e. can the fall kill or injure her?

Yes, if they jump, and fail to land on their feet. They could do very serious damage to themselves.
She is not an athletic cat, but more of a lap cat. For now, I don't tolerate her jumping up ... off as soon as I see her jump on it. Am I being paranoid, or is this a real danger?

Keep her off the balcony, until you can enclose it with wire mesh, such as chicken wire, and remove the possibly of danger from a bad fall.
P.S. sorry for such a noob question, if you've heard it before. Emotion: smile

It's very wise to ask advice now, rather than how to help her later, when she's been badly injured Emotion: smile

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Martha, my 5 year old domestic long hair mix likes to hang out on the balcony, and specifically perched on ... paranoid, or is this a real danger? P.S. sorry for such a noob question, if you've heard it before. Emotion: smile

There was a documentary on TV just recently dealing with dangers around houses and high rises for pets and companion animals and apparently as I remember cats have a greater chance of damage from falling from a 1 story building than a 5 story - apparently it has to do with the time they have to orient themselves before reaching terminal velocity. There was a story of a cat walking away with a few bruises from 8 story apartment in NY but another didn't survive from a 1 story. (note my usage is from Australian perspective where a building is walk in street level is known as "ground floor" the next floor up is 1st Floor - in the USA walk in level is 1st floor I believe)
Mon, 10 May 2010 12:37:10 -0500 from Rockinghorse Winner :
Martha, my 5 year old domestic long hair mix likes to hang out on the balcony, and specifically perched on ... many birds in the area). First, will a cat put itself in danger by jumping from a height like this?

Think of her as a two-year-old toddler. In general she understands heights, but she is easily distracted and if she sees a bird she may indeed jump after it forgetting that there's nowhere to land.
Second, is this dangerously high for a cat, i.e. can the fall kill or injure her?

I think dropping 12 feet onto concrete would quite likely break her little ankles. Whether she'd also have internal injuries I wouldn't hazard a guess.
Am I being paranoid, or is this a real danger?

In my opinion, the latter.

Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA http://oakroadsystems.com
Shikata ga nai...
Mon, 10 May 2010 13:45:27 -0400 from Matthew
(Email Removed):
I tell everyone think of a cat as a 2 year old toddler

That's funny before reading your article I just got done posting the same comment. :-)

Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA http://oakroadsystems.com
Shikata ga nai...
Thanks Stan and everyone else. The info is invaluable to me. I see now what I must do! She is such a cute little stray and I would be a wreck if anything happened to her from my negligence. :-(
Lee

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That netting stuff is great. A friend of mine has used it on two separate balconies, and it's barely visible until you get right up to it. Very few apartments object to it. Regardless, I agree that a cat shouldn't be left on a balcony that hasn't been secured where it can't jump. Cats do misjudge, and the lure of a bird or squirrel could easily make it forget cats can't fly.
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