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#1
Old 10-11-2014, 07:02 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Portland
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Need ideas to cover an apartment balcony

The five of us live in an apartment: myself, my girlfriend, her daughter, and our two indoor cats. The cats are free to go out on the balcony, which they can't escape from (or at least, they've never bothered to try).

During the summer, we put their litter box outside, in a closet off of the balcony. During the rainy part of the year (10 months long, here in the Pacific Northwest), we bring it inside and put it in the fireplace, and put a curtain up covering the fireplace. This has worked well, until now…

The older cat, Oliver, is only 10 years old, but he's been recently diagnosed with a bit of arthritis. The fireplace is raised about 18 inches off the floor, and the litter box takes up most of the fireplace. It's become too hard for him to climb up into the litter box. It's basically like you or I trying to climb into a bathtub that's five or six feet tall.

So, we're trying to devise a way to cover part of the balcony, so that we can keep the litter box outside. When it rains, the cats track the litter across the wet deck, and it makes a wonderful, gooey mess. We're not looking to keep the balcony perfectly dry, we're just hoping to minimize or eliminate the wet cat litter problem.

The balcony has nothing in the way of covering - not so much as an overhang outside the door. To make things more difficult, there is a protruding corner where the fireplace is.

We went out to a sporting goods place to look at canopies, but the only size they had were 10' x 10' - too big. The distance from the door across the balcony is 7 and a half feet. I found a 5' x 7' canopy on Amazon, but there's the issue of that protruding corner. We'd need something else in addition to the canopy. I was thinking a patio umbrella, as the roof over the closet slopes down, so an umbrella would partly go over the roof. But the umbrellas I've seen aren't waterproof beyond keeping drizzle out. It can rain something fierce sometimes, so we need something that can stand up to it. I've looked at a few awnings, but they also seem to be made to keep sunlight out, not rain.

My girlfriend's idea is to set up a tunnel made of wide PVC, but I'm thinking that, while very cool, it would be outrageously expensive. We're not made of money… I'm hoping to keep the cost of this venture under $100, $150 tops.

Any ideas?

ETA: forgot to mention, something as simple as a tarp is no good, as the apartment complex wouldn't like it. It's gotta look acceptable from the outside.

Last edited by GESancMan; 10-11-2014 at 07:04 PM.
#2
Old 10-11-2014, 07:13 PM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 26,586
My thoughts:
1)You can get ramps from the pet store, specifically made for pets that don't feel like jumping anymore. That'll get the can up onto the hearth. Though the idea of making it easier to put the cat in the fireplace still feels odd.
2)You have that big overhang, you could put a tarp on it and put the litterbox under it. It probably won't work in driving rain though.
3)Running with the tunnel idea...1" PVC is cheap and you could do this pretty inexpensively, but instead of that, you could just pick up one of those agility tunnels and run it from the door to the closet. I think that would be your best bet.
#3
Old 10-11-2014, 07:15 PM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 26,586
Here's a 6 foot tunnel for $24 on Amazon.

You might need to put a brick at each end to keep it in place, but I think it'll work nicely.
#4
Old 10-11-2014, 07:29 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Portland
Posts: 3,023
That's a good idea, one I wouldn't have thought of on my own. Thanks!
#5
Old 10-11-2014, 09:44 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 3,167
Why not just put it under a patio table?
#6
Old 10-12-2014, 12:02 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,562
nm

Last edited by Grrr!; 10-12-2014 at 12:04 AM.
#7
Old 10-12-2014, 01:26 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 277
They have litter boxes with covers, perhaps one of those with http://amazon.com/SmartyKat-Crac.../dp/B001B41TOK
you could somehow attach one end of the tube to the litter box and the other leading to indoors?
#8
Old 10-12-2014, 02:04 PM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: I'm right here!
Posts: 8,858
Are you planning on keeping it in the outside closet? If you put it where the stick is in the second picture, you'd have a shorter distance to cover.

I'd just get (or make) a ramp like Joey P suggested, or maybe a series of smaller steps.
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