Category Archives: high rise syndrome

What is Feline High-Rise Syndrome?

By Langley Cornwell

Cat people listen up! You might think feline high-rise syndrome is something silly, but it’s a real and serious problem. For those of us who love cats and want to keep them safe, high-rise syndrome is no joke. This syndrome is when a cat falls from an improperly screened or unscreened window. You may be surprised by how often this happens – it’s quite common and can be fatal. According to the ASPCA, city veterinarians see three to five cases of feline high-rise syndrome every week. That’s a scary number when you think about it. Feline high-rise syndrome has become so common that they named it, which should tell you something about how regularly it occurs.

How do cats fall from windows?

Imagine a cat staying in a high-rise apartment several stories up. That is not a natural environment for cats in the wild, so they love to sit in the windows and observe what is going on outside. If you open up a window for fresh air and the window screen is not in place or is improperly fitted, then your cat is in danger of falling out.

Although cats are very agile, they are also very focused. If a cat is watching a bird while sitting in the window, she may get the urge to lunge at it, and lose her balance. If the screen is loose or not there at all, your cat could be in for a very long and dangerous fall.

Feline high-rise syndrome can also occur when a cat falls asleep while leaning against a loose screen. Most of us have seen funny videos depicting cats falling off the television set or off of a table. But falling from a high-rise window is no laughing matter.

Would a cat survive such a fall?

Cats are remarkably resilient, but they can certainly harm themselves by falling long distances. They are not afraid of heights at all, so they are quick to take up a seemingly perilous perch. And when cat do happen to fall, they are adept at minimizing injury due to their awesome survival instincts, incredible agility and body control. Even so, a fall from extreme heights can be devastating. There are many variables that can’t be controlled, so it’s impossible to predict whether a cat could survive that type of fall.

If your cat does take a lengthy fall, remember that many cats do survive feline high-rise syndrome if they get care right away.

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