How To Build A Catio On A Balcony For Under $100 (DIY Catio For Cheap)

Here’s how I turned my balcony into a catproof safe balcony netting (for all pets really). 

After moving into the new apartment on the fourth floor, I couldn’t wait to create an outdoor space on the balcony for Nala and Charlie.

But, I wanted to make sure the balcony was completely catproof with a safety net. 

I’ve heard enough horror stories of cats who accidentally fall from the apartment balcony, and there’s no way I’m letting anything like that happen to my precious kitties. 

It took a while to think about how best to do it, because these were the challenges I had to solve for:

  • There are no hooks on the stucco walls
  • I’m cheap and want to accomplish on a budget

how to build a catio on a balcony

After many days staring into the balcony, racking my brain for ideas to build the catio on the balcony, the ideas came to me one by one. 

And, now it was all about buying the items I needed and executing. 

I’m happy to say that I was able to do it for under $100! 

So, here’s how I built a catio on my balcony. I hope it helps you get ideas to build your own secure, safe catio without spending so much money.

I filmed the process, so you can watch that as well: 

Step 1: Netting on the Railing

Materials used:

how to build a catio on a balcony

I initially bought a roll of large net screen specifically designed for pets, but honestly, it was too heavy. 

Instead, I went with the aluminum netting and I preferred it so much more. 

It’s way lighter in weight and because it’s malleable, you can fold it to fit around awkward nooks.

The width of 4ft was perfect for my balcony railing. 

(Make sure to buy the roll of mesh in the right length and width to fit your own balcony.)

I unrolled the aluminum screen mesh and placed it along the balcony railing. 

how to build a catio on an apartment balcony

I cut the copper wire into about 6”, long enough to wrap around the metal railing and twist it several times to secure it.

I repeated this along the top, middle, and bottom. Altogether tied the copper wire in about 12 different places evenly spread out. 

how to make the balcony safe to pets

Step 2: Netting Enclosure to Keep Cats from Jumping on Railing

Materials used: same as Step 1 (see above)

For this step, I repeated Step 1. I cut another same length of the alumnium mesh screen from the roll.

cheap diy pet proof catio

I then tied the copper wire pieces around the top railing. And this time, ONLY around top railing.

This second layer is used to pull up to prevent cats from jumping onto the railing.

The net above the railing makes sure the cats can’t jump onto the railing or accidentally jump OVER the railing if their instincts kick in and want to chase a bird that flies by. 

Step 3: Secure the Hooks on Stucco

Materials used:

build a catio for under $100

I thought long and hard about how I was going to attach the net on stucco. 

I couldn’t drill into the stucco because of strict balcony rules. So, it had to be something else.

The adhesive hooks don’t stick to the stucco, but I like that it has a wide panel to reinforce the heavy duty tape. 

The heavy duty tape, on the other hand, is AMAZING. I’m actually so impressed. 

So, what I did was stick the hook on the stucco first, and then taped over it with the heavy duty tape. 

I took the handle of the scissors to really stick the heavy duty tape onto the stucco. 

The heavy duty tape is foam-y, so when I did that, the tape got into the crevices of the stucco. 

They’re still going strong after rain or shine!

Then, I pulled the mesh up and hooked on either side of the stucco.

safety net on balcony make your own catio on your balcony

Step 4: Plants to Cat Proof the Balcony Netting

Now that the nets are up on the railing and above the railing, I could’ve finished here.

But just to make sure the cats don’t crawl under the net, I bought some plants!

This was quite the process… It involved going to Lowe’s and looking up every plant online to see if they were safe for cats. 

And conversely, it also involved looking up plants that are not toxic to cats and then walking around every aisle looking for the plant at Lowe’s (which wasn’t very successful). 

I dedicated a post to which plants I got that are safe for cats if you’re interested in reading about that!

alcony cat proof ideas

Step 5: Balcony Flooring 

Materials used:

I don’t know about you, but I’m so productive looking up stuff to buy and comparing items online at 1AM when I’m wide awake in my bed.

This is when I searched for a cheap but good quality mat for the balcony floor. 

It’s the cheapest one I could find for the size on Amazon, and I’m pretty happy with it.

catio deck balcony pet proof for cats and dogs

Total Cost for Cheap DIY Catio 

Overall, I was able to accomplish building a catio on my balcony for under $100. 

I’m so so happy with how it turned out. 

I’m glad I thought about it for a while and went with good quality, sturdy materials and tried it myself instead of wishing and wondering. 

The  breakdown cost for this cheap DIY catio is: 

    • Aluminum screen mesh: $35
    • Heavy-duty tape: $8
    • Cooper wire: $10
    • Hooks: $8 (on sale from $16 at the time I bought it)
    • Flooring: $23
    • Optional – Plants
  • Total sum: $76 without the plants!


diy catio cheap

Hope you enjoyed this post and you get a chance to be creative and DIY your own catio for cheap! 

If you do, make sure you tag me on Instagram as I’d love to see it. 

|Disclaimer: the post above is all my own opinion and you should make sure what you create works for you.|