The London Cat Clinic Takes a Stand Against High-Rise Falls in Cats

The London Cat Clinic, a leading veterinary practice and 24/7 hospital renowned for its feline care, is raising awareness about the escalating concern of high-rise falls in cats.

‘High-rise syndrome’, a term used to describe injuries sustained by cats falling from buildings higher than two storeys, poses a significant risk to cats, particularly in cities. The clinic has seen an increase in admissions of cats injured after falling from high-rise apartments – with three separate cases in just one weekend last month.

Common injuries include broken bones, facial and chest trauma, and internal bleeding, and falls can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Dr Jeremy Campbell, Clinical Director at The London Cat Clinic, explained: “A fall from a relatively small height can be very serious. One cat, which sadly fell from a second-floor apartment suffered haemorrhaging into the bladder and, while the poor feline thankfully pulled through after 12 hours of intensive treatment at our 24/7 hospital, it was touch and go for quite a while.”

The severity of injuries depends on various factors, including the height of the fall, the landing surface, the cat’s age and health, and the availability of prompt medical treatment.

The case of ‘Pink Nose’

One case study involves cute ‘Pink Nose’ (pictured above), a 4-month-old Ragdoll kitten who was rushed to the clinic’s 24/7 feline-only hospital following a harrowing 15-metre fall from a flat in The Isle of Dogs. Upon arrival at The London Cat Clinic, Pink Nose was promptly attended to by the clinic’s night team. The team carried out a comprehensive examination, including X-rays to assess the extent of his injuries.

“To everyone’s relief, Pink Nose was found to have no serious fractures but he did have a collapsed lung and a ‘pneumothorax’, which is an accumulation of air or gas in the space between the lung and the chest wall. A pneumothorax may spontaneously resolve but in Pink Nose’s case it was affecting his breathing, so the chest was drained of air and he was immediately happier and on the mend. With close monitoring and diligent care, he stabilised and could be discharged within 36 hours.”

Pink Nose’s owners Valentina and Chen said: “The quality of care at The Cat Clinic was fantastic and I cannot thank them enough. We had left the balcony window slightly open during the night to keep the flat cool, but in the morning, we couldn’t see Pink Nose. I rushed downstairs to find him just below the window, a fall of around 15 metres. It was horrible and he was clearly terrified.

“We took him as quickly as possible to The Cat Clinic after phoning ahead to expect a trauma case.  The clinic was so responsive, clear and upfront with his care.

“We did think the worst, expecting a shattered bladder or a broken back after falling from such a height. The clinic did loads of tests after stabilising him, and finding he had fluid in his lungs and air in his pleural space, which they had drained. They carried out orthopaedic exams for fractures, which he thankfully did not have and an ultrasound to check his liver and bladder.”

Valentina added: “We’re both so grateful to The London Cat Clinic who literally could not have done more. Once Pink Nose was home, they even called to check up on his progress, which was amazing. Thank you.”

The case of Pink Nose highlights the importance of creating a safe environment for cats, especially those living in multi-story buildings, which his owners couldn’t stress enough.

Valentina said: “I’d definitely recommend window barriers and we have a guard that is solid glass all round. There were structural gaps in the guard that have now been filled. If you have indoor cats, I would recommend double-checking for any gaps in the existing structure, especially if renting. Never underestimate a Ragdoll’ lack of self-preservation instinct!”

The London Cat Clinic now advises cat owners to take precautions, such as relocating furniture away from windows, installing window limiters or meshes, and cat-proofing balconies with safety nets.

Dr Campbell (pictured) says: “There can be better options for keeping cool such as fans or cool mats for cats. Leaving the windows open even when at home and you have an inquisitive cat can have disastrous, and quite often fatal, consequences for cats.”

He added: “In the event of a fall, seeking veterinary attention immediately, even if the cat appears unharmed, is crucial as they may have hidden injuries requiring emergency treatment.”

The London Cat Clinic is the only veterinary practice in London that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week only for cats. Whether you need a routine check-up, a routine or non-routine surgery, a specialist consultation or as an emergency day or night, The London Cat Clinic has you covered. To book an appointment, please call the clinic on 0203 740 1112.

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