Prevent Feline High-Rise Syndrome

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. It’s also great to share that space with your cat. However, cats hanging out on the edge of open windows or on a patio puts them at risk for falling.

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.

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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Road Trips With Kitty

Cats don’t often take road trips, usually we bring the family dog and the cat gets the house to her/himself for the long weekend. But if we are moving and driving to the new place or going to be gone for a while and boarding or finding a pet sitter is not an option, the family cat may have to ride in the car.

The first rule of traveling with a cat: have ID tags for your cat and a good collar

Many lost cats end up in shelters because of no ID. You can also microchip your cat if you haven’t already.

Here are a few travel tips to make the car ride a safe one:

    1. Motion sickness can happen to anyone – Cats can get sick in the car but they can also get used to it. Start by taking short trips and gradually extend the time. The motion of the car stopping and starting again at lights and stop signs will become familiar to your cat.
    2. Make sure the air is fresh and well ventilated – This means, no smoking in the car with your cat and removing heavily scented air fresheners. Your cat’s sense of smell is stronger than yours and can affect her. Before setting off on a trip, it is also a good idea to remove food and water a few hours before leaving.
    3. If your cat panics or is hyper, you can talk to your vet Your vet may recommend a sedative. It can make the trip safer, less stressful, and easier. Administer the proper dosage and try a pre-trip to see how she reacts to riding in the car. You don’t want to be driving cross country with a cat who is howling and bouncing all over the place.
    4. Keep your eyes on the road – If your cat is a good traveler and can be let out, she may curl up and sleep on a seat but if she’s not, then letting her roam the interior of the car is a bad idea. She could hide under the brake or gas pedal, crawl on your lap, or sit on the dashboard. For safety’s sake keep your eyes on the road and your cat away from the driver’s side.
    5. Pull over and take breaks – Your cat may need to use a litter box or need a snack on the trip. Make a few stops and let her stretch her legs. If she’s used to being outside, you can buy a harness and leash to walk her around at a rest stop. If she’s indoor only, use a makeshift litter box from a disposable aluminum pan. You can throw out the used litter and save the pan for the whole trip. Praise her and pet her to let her know that everything is ok.
    6. Don’t leave your cat in the car alone – Take no chances with leaving your cat in the car if you stop to get food or take a break from driving. It’s better to bring your cat with you in a carrier to the diner, rest stop, or wherever you are then take worry about the temperature changing and how it could hurt your cat.

What other tips do you have for us fellow travelers who take our cats with us?

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