Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cats falling

A woman called yesterday to say that she saw a badly injured cat, but she could not take it to the vet. Fortunately there were volunteers who manage community cats in the surrounding vicinity and they went down. The cat was apparently on a ledge and bleeding badly.

As they were talking to residents in the area, they were told that this is not the first time that the cat has fallen, and that it belongs to a family on the fifth floor. They rushed it to the vet, and I just spoke to the vet who said that it has fractured spine, but should recover fully.

Another caregiver also wrote in yesterday to say that a family living above her also had a number of kittens fall to their death. Unfortunately, this family doesn't seem to particularly care about the cats, and keep asking people to take their existing cats away as well. They have also dumped their cats downstairs, giving problems to the caregiver, whose colony is actually fully sterilised.

It's alarming that some people are so lackluster about looking after their cats that a cat falling does not seem to concern them. It's actually quite easy to wire up your windows and doors so your cat cannot get out.

At the pet shop yesterday where I dropped off the merchandise, I had a conversation with a woman who was telling me that it wasn't possible to keep cats in houses with gardens, and I was trying to convince her that it can, and has been done successfully. Wiring can be done on windows in flats and houses. Some people even wire up their gardens.

I have to go for a followup visit this morning for another case.


Blogger vegancat said...

It is indeed frustrating for caregivers to see abandonment cats and knowing which flats they came from but being powerless to act other than nicely persuasive. If only there is a law for compulsory sterilization of all cats, then a complaint can be lodged against these irresponsible families!

14/2/06 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I live on the 3rd storey of HDB flat and is SERIOUSLY thinking about having a cat in the (not so near) future.

Personally, I hate to wire up and enclose myself with wires.

Am I being selfish to still want to have a cat?

Is there a good way to acheive a compromise? Can a cat be trained to not go out of the window??

Please advise.......

14/2/06 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Existentialist Cat said...

I only wire my room since my cats sleep with me. If they are allowed to run the living room, I will close the living room windows since it is not meshed :)

Having said that, with more and more people complaining about HDB dwellers with cats and with increased awareness that HDB cannot keep cats. I wonder is there a way we can mesh up our HDB flat windows discreetly? One innovative feeder resort to mosquito net tightly bounded to the window. Will work well if the cat does not bash against the net forcefully...

Discussion on whether to mesh windows or not also started on two message boards. Some responses include seeing cat owners whose cats never fall off, so why bother!

I guess alot of folks do not realise that training an animal involves a risk that the trained behavior can regress. Especially so if whatever you train conflicts the instinctive behavioral output. In this case, jumping about and from heights. Moreover, cats do not judge distance very well.

14/2/06 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aiyoh......so how???? I really like cat alot, but am a very open-window person...... sign.... help please.

14/2/06 6:04 PM  
Blogger Kayley said...

I was thinking about this too. Why not you get something like mozzie nets or some transparent nylon nets which does not interfere with your opening of the window, nor does it let the cat take flying lessons?

Alternatively, maybe you can keep the cat distracted with something in the home, like a toy, or a playcorner?? I am not sure it helps. But I've heard that birds pluck themselves bare when they are bored so I guess cats go exploring and jumping around when there is nothing interesting to them when they are left at home.

14/2/06 6:29 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

To be very honest, I know of people who had cats with open windows for years and then one day the cat took a dive. Cats judge spatial distance badly, so keeping them indoors is the best way to keep them safe.

Anonymous, there are actual many ways you can do it - you can do it with mesh, with wire, or some people even use string. Lots of people are very innovative about it.

14/2/06 6:35 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

14/2/06 7:58 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I took two kittens back from the streets to take care and with it a responsibility for their welfare, that include their safety.
I had the grills in the flat changed to the small calibre type. The contractor brought sample for me test if they can squeeze through.
I also changed the door wrought iron grills to the smaller gap type.
The money spent is worth the peace of mind.

14/2/06 7:59 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...


Hi guys, just want to share with you what my mommy and daddy have done for us at our new home. Being a 'young' couple with only 8 four-legged kids, they did not want to install any grilles to spoil the scenery and thus, decided to give themselves a big headache in searching for alternatives.

In order to keep us locked up at home and for the safety of the birds outside, mom & dad had to hunt high and low for a cat netting. Being Singapore, they had huge problems finding a pet shop here that sells such stuff and they almost resorted to getting a football goal post netting... kekeke.

Fortunately, the pet shop owner found out about their plight and offered to sell them the netting from her personal stockpile.

For all you cats out there, you can tell your mommy and daddy to consider what we have as an alternative to installing grilles.

14/2/06 8:02 PM  
Anonymous E_Cat said...

worse case senario and assuming u have sliding windows, cross the grilles. One overlap another. the exposed side, draw up the window.

risks? surely have. cat might get stuck in grilles. this idea was shared by an adopter who refuses to mesh. well, better than no barriers.......

perhaps consider a rabbit, dog, etc... at least they don't jump windows. getting a pet should involve factorin in lifestyle of owner...

14/2/06 8:02 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks for the link Vegancat! Good point E_Cat - it's good that Anonymous is asking these questions first, so that Anonymous can decide if a cat is right for him or her lifestyle.

14/2/06 8:16 PM  
Blogger Kayley said...

A dog jumped to its death 2 years ago.... It went right out the window for no rhyme or reason. The people thought some one threw it and reported to the press. Poor owner...

14/2/06 9:19 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I read some-where that cats have a poor estimation of depth, hence it may jump off from a highrise building but I couldn't find that information again. But I am not too sure that is correct as cats' eyes are both facing the front like ours and so its stereotypical sense should allow it to gauge the height or dept. My cat would jump off the top of the cupboard at about 2m onto my bed which is about 1.5m away.
I think the fall off a building is the lack of foresight that it is living on a highrise flat and that that bird is not worth jumping for!

14/2/06 9:58 PM  
Anonymous yskat said...

It is possible to cover up the windows without feeling like you live in a prison cell. All it takes is some innovative thinking. A few ideas: (1) use wrought iron grilles. I have seen some beautiful ones in HDB flats. The material can be bent into whatever pattern you desire, and are especially good for Art Nouveau arabesque-like motifs. You can even have a Paris Metro sign right on your windows. (2) Go for the "ghetto" look. Use the diamond shape type mesh we see enclosing power generators. I have seen it used in a restaurant in California with great effect. Check out the Comme des Garcons Guerilla store in Singapore to get an idea of what I mean by this ultra-modern look. (3) Use plain white aluminum grilles in square pattern. Paint the walls white and the grilles will look like they are a continuation of the walls.

I am sure many of us here have great decoration ideas on how to cover up our windows. Would be good if we can share them. After all, we are talking about Singapore HDB flats here, not a high country cottage in Wyoming with views of the Rocky Mountains or a Cote d'Azur flat with sweeping vista of the Mediterranean. Is the 10th floor view of a football field (in the best case scenario) worth the life of a cat?

14/2/06 10:01 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Very creative Yskat! I think this might be an alternative career for you if you get tired of your day job! It's a good idea though - anyone want to share what they did with their windows? You can send in photos to me and I'll post them on the blog.

14/2/06 11:57 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...


I found this link about cat's vision.

15/2/06 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Aminah Bee said...

It is of utmost importance for cat owners living in highrise flats, to install grills
on windows and balconies to prevent their cat falling and injuring or killing itself.
The size of the spaces in the grills should be such that their cats should not be able
to squeeze through.

I don't understand why cat owners want to take risks, claiming that, as their cats had never fallen off their no grill windows, hence no need to install grills on window.

I had a friend staying on the 9th floor, owning a cat for more than 7 years.
She refused to listen to my advice on dangers of not installing windows grills - she kept saying it never fall before, hence it would never fall now.
Last year, her cat was distracted by a bird on the window ledge and it dashes out from the open window trying to catch the bird.
My friend chased and shouted at her cat "No, stop!" but it was too late, the cat had fallen off the window and landed on the groundfloor.
It died immediately sustaining severe injuries from the fall.
To this very day, my friend said she regretted not listening to my advice, and had installed window grills for the safety of another cat she recently adopted.

Another stubborn case refused to hear my advice is my cousin, he stayed on the 3rd floor, and owned 4 adult cats.
Although his house have window grills, the grills are wide and cats can escaped it.
He refused to install wire mesh, or those type of wires used in chicken coop, which I said can purchased from a do it yourself store.
He already had one of his cats jumped out of the window about 6 months ago. Nonetheless, he said it was only a "minor injury" - slight bleeding from the mouth and it lose a tooth and recovered after a few days.
Since it is not a serious injury or death, he said no need to install wire mesh on the windows.
I commented to him that it is better not to gamble with his cats lives,what happened next time, if it is a more serious fall, could be fracture or death sustaining from the fall.
My cousin replied that he stayed on the 3rd floor, so if any of his cats fall again, it would be same minor injuries ...
that Goddamn idiotic cousin of mine, ignorant people can be argumentative and refused to listen to sensible advice, you know!
Last month, my cousin and his wife came back home from work, saw one of their cats missing, the same one that had fallen before, as usual the windows in their house
are all left half opened for ventilation.
After searching all over the house, they looked out the window, saw the cat lying motionless, on the ground floor.
They went down and found the cat dead, bleeding from the mouth and nose, and it probably had some internal bleeding.
They said they never thought the stupid cat would do the same mistake again.
I told them off, it is not the cat that is stupid, it is them that is stupid.
It is our duty as responsible pet owners, to protect our pets from danger.

15/2/06 1:27 AM  
Anonymous auntie p said...

To anonymous, as long as you like to keep your windows open, you'll will need to mesh them up to protect your cat.

If you don't like permanent wire mesh, one way is to use the BBQ wire mesh/gauze - these come in big, rectangular panels and have a sturdy, thick frame around the edges. Tie hooks (the flat-sided S-hooks from Ikea are good) so that you can hang the panels over the window grille, then secure the bottom of the panel to the grille with wire-tie.

This gives you the flexibility of having a meshless view out of the window when the cat is not in the room, and you can use as many panels as necessary.

15/2/06 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the square grid 2ins square - that should keep most cats indoors. Get the hardware store assistant to cut the grid the exact size of your window - save yourself blisters on your hands. Secure the grid with matching plastic ties (Mustafa green ties) to your window grills. It takes me 15 mins to install it.
The larger square grids do not trap cats' hair, allow in air & are strong enough to prevent the cats from bending the corners. If you need to clean grills or whatever, just snip off the plastic ties. It is detachable & economical.
The wire grid could last a good 3-4 yrs at least - depending on cats' weight and their determination of course.

15/2/06 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you really really really luv cats and really really really do not want to mesh up your windows, buy a house on the 2nd floor. For 5 years my cats never fell and they always enjoy their morning view and breeze by the window ledge watching birds and children running downstairs. Even if they are to fall I don't think they will die. I suspect once one of my cat jumped and came back up again cos she was missing from my house and found her waiting outside by the gate. There's a danger of people complaining to HDB abt my cats but for so many years i think my neighbours are very used to seeing them on my window ledge:>

15/2/06 5:21 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous, some cats do get badly hurt after falling from the second floor though, and I am sure that is something that everyone would like to avoid too. The cat may also go missing - not every cat will know how to come home.

15/2/06 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Person who proposes cat owners to live in "a house on the second floor" - screening up windows is not just to prevent the cats from falling off windows. Cats may be hit by cars, get trapped by pest control and sent to be put down, get into fights with other cats & infected with diseases etc - it is better to keep cats indoors at all times.

15/2/06 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well sometimes it's just impossible to screen up the whole house for the house to be in a livable condition as half of it is already screened up. And my cats never jumped before in years except for that one time that I suspect. And the trees outside are taller than my house......I totally agree we should cat-proof our house 100% but what if we can't. Some HDB flats just comes with lots of windows. If the risk is really low and it's not life threatening, why deprive the cats of a comfortable life. I think my cats are really happy. I won't suggest others living on the higher floors to do that.

16/2/06 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many windows do you find in a hdb flat? Ten? If you can screen up one, why not the rest?? I fail to understand why screening all the windows is not "liveable" but screening some is.
If you do not screen just one window, that would be the one the cat would be drawn to - the one they would fall out of.

16/2/06 10:46 PM  

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