Understanding Feline High-Rise Syndrome

Cats are among the most agile creatures with a great sense of balance and perception. Despite this, there are many reported cases of household felines getting into accidents; most of these are comprised of falling from high places. As such, this ironic misfortune suffered by many of our nimble furry friends has garnered its own name: feline high-rise syndrome.

feline high-rise syndrome

What is High-rise Syndrome?

Feline high-rise syndrome pertains to the accidents that cats get into, specifically falling off from high places. Many cats love to stay and explore quite high and dangerous areas such as windows, railings and balconies. Falling from these result in serious injuries like shattered jaws, broken lungs and other internal damages that require surgeries and even a lifetime supportive care. Sadly, survey shows a high percentage on how often these occurrences happen and while some cats are lucky to survive, some don’t. After knowing how prevalent this problem is for cat owners, it gave birth to the term “high-rise syndrome” was made.

feline high-rise syndrome

Causes of Feline High-rise Syndrome

There are three main causes believed to be the reasons on why cats and kittens fall victim to high-rise syndrome.

  • Getting startled: Cats tend to react fast to their environment. Their fight or flight response works so fast that when they’re startled, they take flight for their lives and unfortunately, end up getting into accidents instead.
  • Predator instincts: Sometimes instincts can take over rational decisions and behavior. When a cat is in full predator-mode, the hunting drive may lead him or her into grave situations.
  • REM sleep: Cats are so comfortable with staying on top of balconies, railings and window sills. Problem is, their short snoozes can enter the phase of REM or rapid eye movement wherein someone sleeping makes involuntary movements.

feline high-rise syndrome

Protect Your Cat from HRS

There’s no problem when there’s a solution. You may not be able to change a cat’s behavior and inclination to staying on high places but you can still protect them from grim scenarios. Take note of these safety precaution to ensure your kitty doesn’t fall victim to high-rise syndrome and its consequences.

  • Always ensure your window is properly installed, secured and locked. Consider putting on screens if you can’t avoid not opening them. Make sure that your window screens are tightly secured so your cat can’t push through it. Also, check if it’s tightly fitted so your cat can’t slip through and fall off.
  • If you have a balcony or terrace, especially for those living in high buildings, always accompany or oversee your cat’s stay in these areas. Bring your kitty inside if you can’t look out for him or her.
  • Never be confident that bars, fences, or railings placed on balconies or windows can keep your cat safe. Remember how easily felines can pass through tight or small areas despite their size. So try to put in additional measure by covering open gaps by installing a wire mesh, deck netting or the like.
  • Spay or neuter your cat so the instinct driving them to mate won’t cause unnecessary and dangerous escapes.

Knowing about this prevailing issue of feline high-rise syndrome may help alert more cat owners. We hope more cats will be protected and saved from falling into this dangerous syndrome.

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