Prevent Feline High-Rise Syndrome

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June 29, 2011
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Cats may have excellent balance and can right themselves from a fall, but this doesn’t mean they are invincible. Any pet parent who lives in a tall building and has a patio area knows how nice it is to sit out there and they also know their pets enjoy sunning themselves out there too. Windowsills are popular areas for cats and they love to watch birds, people, and smell the air. However, cats hanging out on the edge of open windows or on a patio puts them at risk for falling.

A cat with a high prey drive may jump to try and catch a bird and fall. Cats don’t deliberately jump from high places, many accidentally fall from open patios, windows, and fire escapes. When cats focus on something, it can distract them and they may lose their balance or not realize just how high they are.

Cats also do not seem to have a great fear of heights. How many of us have found our cat sitting on top of the fridge? Or at the top of a ladder? Some cats even hang out on the rooftops of houses. Because of their fearlessness, it seems they would be fine and be able to balance and take care of themselves. But this isn’t the case.

A loud noise can startle a cat and cause them to lose their balance. A napping cat may experience some R.E.M. and a twitch can cause them to fall. Sometimes a very scared cat may just run from the noise and jump out the window not knowing where they are going to land.

Unfortunately, when cats fall from high places, they don’t land squarely on their feet. Instead, they land with their feet slightly splayed apart and this can cause severe head and pelvis injuries.

High-Rise Syndrome is preventable with a few tips:

1: Check your screen windows and make sure they are sturdy.

2: If you use adjustable screens, wedge them tightly into the window frames.

3: Cats can slip through window guards do not use them as a deterrent. Screen windows and adjustable screens are needed. Screens also keep flies out of your house.

4: If you want your cat to share your patio with you, consider creating a small screened in section for him or invest in a catio.

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