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Interesting health information about cats:

  1. High Rise Syndrome
  2. Ten Good Ways to Keep Your Home Cat-Safe

Keep Your Kitty Safe from High Rise Syndrome

With summer here, many urban dwellers are eagerly opening their apartment windows to enjoy the weather--not realizing that they could be putting their animal companions at risk. Windows without screens pose a real danger to small pets, particularly cats, who can fall out. Unfortunately, this type of accident can be fatal--and so prevalent in cities that it's been given the name of "high-rise syndrome."

"During the summer months, we see approximately 3-5 cases a week at our animal hospital in New York City," says ASPCA president and CEO, Dr. Larry Hawk. Urban pet owners are advised to install screens on all windows, and consider the following tips to keep your animal companions safe this summer season:

Cats have the incredible ability to focus their attention on whatever interests them. A bird or other animal viewed from an open window can be distracting enough to cause them to lose their balance.
It's a misconception that Kitty won't be injured if she falls from a one- or two-story building. She may actually be at greater risk than when falling from higher altitudes, as the shorter distance will not give her enough time to adjust her body to fall correctly.
Cats can slip through childproof window guards, so screens are a necessity.
When cats fall from high places, they don't land squarely on their feet. Instead, they land with the feet slightly splayed, which can cause head and pelvis injuries.

For more information on high-rise syndrome, please visit ASPCA online.

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Ten Good Ways to Keep Your Home Cat-Safe

SAFELY STORE TOXIC SUBSTANCES:
Take a close look at the areas in your home where you store prescription and over-the-counter medications. Don't forget to look for items such as vitamins and 
health and beauty products. Are these areas accessible to your cat? Are all products stored in childproof containers? 

HIDE AND WRAP ALL ELECTRIC CORDS:
The dangers of electricity to your cat are very real and very dangerous. Electrical cords are tempting for cats. They seem the perfect item to chase, but soon chasing may lead to chewing. Also, cats who pull on an electrical cord may bring an appliance down on top of themselves. 

CHECK THE SAFETY OF TALL FURNITURE:
Make sure it's sturdy or attached to the wall to keep it from toppling when a cat tries to jump on it. Cats can be crushed when furniture falls during a jump attempt. 

SECURE GLASS OBJECTS:
Breakable objects can easily be knocked over. Remember that your cat has an amazing jumping ability. Make sure breakable objects are completely out of your cat's reach. 

REMOVE TEMPTATIONS:
Tapestries and other wall hangings are very attractive to cats. If your cat has claws, she might try to tear objects off the wall and end up hurting herself. Try to remove these objects that tempt your cat. 

CHECK YOUR WINDOWS:
All your windows should have secure screens. Your cat loves to look out the window. If she sees something she'd like to chase, she won't be able to resist. Make sure your window screens are always closed and are strong enough to keep your cat inside, especially if you live above the first floor. 

KEEP TOILET LIDS DOWN:
Cats are uncannily attracted to the cold water of the toilet bowl. Not only is it a gross habit, but also a dangerous one. The lid could come down while your cat is drinking. 

PUT AWAY PLASTIC BAGS AND 6-PACK HOLDERS:
These items are hazardous to your cats because they might want to chew on them. Also, there is a chance for suffocation. Other items that could harm your cat include yarn and ribbons, which can become lodged in your cat's throat. 

NEVER GIVE MEDICINE WITHOUT YOUR VET'S ADVICE:
It's very tempting to try to ease your kitty's pain with human medication. However, Tylenol and aspirin can be deadly to your cat. Always visit the vet if you think your cat is in pain. 

BLOW YOUR HORN:
If you have an outdoor cat, she might snuggle up in your car engine for the warmth. To prevent a disaster, bang on your hood and honk your horn every time before you start your car. 

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Page updated 07/30/02

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