How the agile are fallen!

Everything has to be given a fancy name and an acronym these days, so try this one on: high-rise syndrome, or HRS. In laymen’s terms, HRS involves cats being injured or killed by falling from windows or balconies. As more pet owners move to high-rise apartment buildings, the number of cat deaths rises.

Given how surefooted cats are, it amazes people that cats could ever slip and fall. In many cases HRS is the result of a cat snoozing on a rail, then waking and falling before knowing what was happening. Actually, the most surprising news is not that they fall, but that they often survive. (Remember: nine lives.)

Cats have fallen from as high as eighteen stories and survived. Yes, they do almost always land on their feet, and the legs absorb most of the impact and are often injured—but a fractured leg is better than death. It goes without saying that no cat owner wants a beloved pet to die from a fall, so it makes sense for urban “cliff-dwellers” to keep a close eye on open windows and balcony doors.
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