Beware, Cats Suffer from High-Rise Syndrome

Gray cat sitting on the balcony against a tree. Photo purchased from

Karly Hamilton

As buildings around the world continue to increase in height, more cats have been suffering from high-rise syndrome.

The syndrome is seen in domesticated cats who fall from extreme heights, most frequently occurring during the summer due to the number of open windows.

BBC News recently published a video on high-rise syndrome, featuring cats in Singapore who suffered injuries after falling from tall buildings.

Singapore is a rapidly growing nation with many large apartment buildings, and cats have paid the unfortunate price that comes along with this architecture.

Falling from lower heights can also be harmful to cats.

“It is a misconception that cats won’t be injured if they fall from one-or two-story buildings,” WebMD reports.

Such falls provide less time for cats to shift their bodies into a safer landing position, and as a result, the animals can suffer major deficits if not treated properly.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends immediate veterinary care for cats who have recently fallen—regardless of the visible severity of the injuries.

Cat lover and owner Zoe Kaplan ’21 is not concerned about her cat suffering from high-rise syndrome.

“I am not worried about this happening to my cat because she is an indoor cat and does not go outside,” Kaplan said. When we open the windows in our house, we do not open the screen just to be safe.”

While taking care to ensure window screens are secured and not letting cats outside usually prevents injuries, this is not always the case.

My cat is an indoor cat, and more often than not, windows in my house are securely shut. However, he has fallen out of a second-floor window on multiple occasions, despite my best efforts to protect him.

As a pet owner, I found it extremely alarming to watch this happen, and I’m thankful that he has remained mostly unharmed.

Domesticated animals look to their owners for safety and protection, and as the number of cats suffering from high-rise syndrome continues to increase, owners should take extra care to keep their animals safe.