High-Rise Syndrome in Cats

Most people tend to think that cats always land on their feet and never have accidents. Neither of these statements are true, and in fact veterinarians have coined a term for these accidents: high-rise syndrome. Your Reynoldsburg veterinarian tells you more below.

What is High-Rise Syndrome?

High-rise syndrome is not a medically-recognized syndrome in the normal sense. It’s simply a term used due to the frequency that cats fall out of windows or off of high places. Most incidents of high-rise syndrome occur when a cat has accidentally slipped from a window ledge, fire escape, or balcony. Since cats like perching in high places to oversee the area below, accidents happen more often than you might think.

Falls from high heights can result in broken bones, punctured lungs, and a host of other dangerous health problems.

Why Does High-Rise Syndrome Happen?

Contrary to popular belief, cats can and do have accidents. On surfaces that are difficult to grab onto with claws, like slippery windowsills or plastic siding, a cat can easily slip and fall. If a cat is distracted by a bird, rodent, or even a buzzing insect, he may forget that a ledge ends, and tumble over the edge. Many times, shorter falling distances can be even more dangerous because cats don’t have enough time to position themselves correctly to absorb the brunt of the impact.

What Should I Do if My Cat Falls?

Rush your cat to your emergency veterinarian’s office immediately. Prompt treatment is key. Broken bones, shattered jaws, punctured lungs, or other high-trauma incidents need to be treated immediately.

How Can I Prevent an Accident?

Luckily, high-rise accidents are largely preventable. Make sure you install sturdy screens in all your windows—many high-rise occurrences happen when a cat slips out of an old, poorly-screened window when it’s open in the warmer months. Monitor your cat’s habits and determine if he likes to perch anywhere especially high up that might be dangerous. You can condition him to avoid that area; ask your Reynoldsburg veterinarian for tips.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you


Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Practice Hours


8:00 am-7:00 pm


8:00 am-4:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-7:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-2:00 pm


3:00 pm - 4:00 pm (Kennel Only)