Filed under Yikes! Copper made an unexpected free fall from her apartment building, then went missing for several hours, but all ended well after the building supervisor located and rescued her.
Copper the cat recently moved into a 14th floor apartment on Manhattan’s West Side with her mom, Angela Lang, and the rest of her family. Ms. Lang figured that since the windows only opened very slightly Copper was safe and would remain inside. The cat managed to slip through, though and perched herself out on the building ledge.
From there she made a free fall but could not be found. Ms. Lang figured she might be up on top of the adjacent parking garage, but there was no access. Finally, after 9 hours, the building supervisor was able to access the roof, find Copper, and bring her to safety, with the help of a fork lift creatively employed to reach the roof and make the rescue. A trip to the veterinary hospital found that Copper was relatively unscathed, with only a fractured foot, and she is now doing well at home.
It turns out that this type of incident is not uncommon, even having the name High-Rise Syndrome, where cats make lunges at birds or otherwise fall from high perches on window ledges. Veterinarians at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital see as many as five cases of High-Rise Syndrome per week during the warm weather months. Many of these cases reportedly involve shattered jaws, ruptured lungs, and broken limbs and pelvises, so Copper is among the fortunate ones in having sustained only minor injury.
Based on the many cases seen at Bergh, the ASPCA suggests the following , for safety’s sake:
- Install snug-fitting, sturdy screens that are tightly wedged into window frames
- If your cat falls, assume he has survived and immediately rush him to the nearest animal hospital
- Go to the hospital even if your apartment is on the first floor. Shorter falls may be more dangerous since cats don’t have time to land correctly
- Check your balcony or terrace to be sure that a cat cannot fit through it
- Use deck netting or wire mesh to ensure safety
- Only allow the cat access to a balcony when properly supervised
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