ASCPA Warns Pet Owners about Cat High-Rise Syndrome

The animal welfare organization reminds owners to keep cats safe when around high-rise windows, terraces and fire escapes.

As summer weather approaches, the ASPCA reminds cat owners to keep their cats away from unscreened windows. High-rise apartment windows, terraces and fire escapes can tempt cats and put them at risk for injury from falls. As these falls occur more frequently, many animal professionals have come to call it “high-rise syndrome.”

The phenomenon happens most frequently with cats living in urban settings, the ASPCA said. Cats who fall from unscreened windows or fire escapes can suffer from injuries such as shattered jaws, punctured lungs, broken limbs and pelvises, and some cats may die from these injuries.

“During the warmer months, we see approximately three to five cases of high-rise syndrome a week at our animal hospital in New York City,” said Louise Murray, ASPCA’s director of medicine. “Pet owners need to know that this syndrome is completely preventable if they install full window screens and take other simple precautions.”

The ASPCA recommends the following tips to prevent cat high-rise syndrome:

  • Install snug, sturdy screens in all windows.
  • Reinforce childproof window guards.
  • Keep cats indoors.
  • If your cat does fall from a window, take it to the vet immediately. The ASPCA said the survival rate for victims of cat high-rise syndrome is 90 percent if the cat receives immediate medical attention.

For more information about cat high-rise syndrome, visit the ASPCA website.

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