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High Rise Syndrome

By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Now that it's warm, many people open their windows to enjoy a breeze or two but make sure to keep your pets safe in the process.  Unscreened windows pose a life threatening danger to cats.  According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, this problem has been so prevalent that veterinarians have dubbed it "High Rise Syndrome."  Most falls from terraces, fire escapes or high-rise windows are accidental. Cats can easily become distracted and lose balance. Tragically, this can result in shattered jaws, punctured lungs, broken limbs and pelvises and even death.

To fully protect your pets, always install snug and sturdy screens in all your windows. Adjustable screens should be tightly wedged into window frames.

Before permitting your cat out on a patio, balcony or terrace, make sure that he/she cannot fit through any and all openings. Keep in mind that if a cat can fit his/her head through an opening, the rest of the body usually can be worked through as well. Use deck netting or wire mesh to ensure safety, and never leave the cat out alone unsupervised. If any holes cannot be covered, keep your cat out of the area completely. The ASPCA advises that to assure safety, keep your cat indoors to protect them from additional dangers such as cars, other animals and disease. To provide outdoor stimulation, it's best to look into full-screen enclosures for backyards and terraces.

For information on canine behavioral training, go to my site at

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