Feline High-Rise Syndrome

Cat Window

When cats fall from a certain height, they usually land on their feet as they can adjust their bodies in flight to help avoid injury. But it can be dangerous if you live with your cat several floors up in a high-rise apartment house without proper protection.

A window can accidentally be left open, a window screen comes loose, or if you have a terrace, a door is left open. While cats enjoy sitting in high places and can balance very well, they have to be able to use their claws to cling to something. The smooth surfaces of most buildings don’t offer that option.

Cats can become so focused on a bird flying or even just a piece of fluttering paper and attempt to give chase causing them to fall many stories down. The ASPCA reports that during warm weather, 3-5 cases of cats, some injured severely from falling from these heights, are seen every week. There is also the danger of landing on unfamiliar areas and streets that pose a threat to them.

The ASPCA recommends taking the following precautions to keep your cat safe.

  • Screens should be made of sturdy material that a cat’s claws have difficulty damaging.
  • Make sure screens cover all windows and fit snugly so that paws can’t push them away.
  • Child-proof window guards DO NOT offer adequate protection for cats.
  • Check windows, screens and doors regularly to see if they are in need of repair.
  • If you want to give your cat a taste of the outdoors, set up a full-screen enclosure in backyards or on terraces.

Accidents do happen and if your cat does fall, don’t delay. Find him/her and immediately take the cat to the vet to be examined. Quickly attending to your cat can save his/her life.

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