High Rise Syndrome

High Rise Syndrome

Your apartment is a terrific home for your feline friend. High above the busy streets, your cat will be safe from speeding cars, dangerous diseases and cruel people. However, living in an apartment might not protect your cat from serious injury. Balconies, terraces and open windows can be unseen enemies, if you don’t take precautions.

While high rise syndrome is primarily a problem of city cats, even suburban and country cat owners need to take heed. Although cats usually land on their feet, depending on the distance of the fall and the kind of surface they land on, they can sustain severe injuries or death. Cats appear to like to perch in dangerous, high places and have little fear of heights. Many owners believe they will not fall. But they do fall, thousands of them each year from balconies, open windows and rooftops. Sometimes a cat who has been watching a bird will become so focused, she may step out into thin air; sometimes a cat chasing a moth indoors can sail right out an open unscreened window.

A determined cat can wiggle through the smallest opening of any window or glass sliding door. Tiny balcony ledges are a particular hazard to high-rise cats. A comfortable body harness and leash held by you is the best protection against any falls.

If Your Cat Should Fall

  • Never assume that your cat has been killed, even if you look down and see her lying lifeless.
  • Do not give up looking should your cat disappear after a fall. It is not uncommon for cats to hide in bushes or creep into buildings if the fall has upset or frightened them.
  • Call your veterinarian immediately.

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