08/25/2015 05:54 EDT | Updated 08/25/2015 05:59 EDT

Cats Killed, Injured From Highrise Balcony Falls Prompt Vancouver SPCA Warning

The BC SPCA is asking owners to safeguard their pets after several cats were killed or injured in falls from highrise balconies.

In the past month alone, five cats were brought in with serious injuries after jumping or falling from such heights, said Jodi Dunlop, manager of the Vancouver SPCA branch, in a news release Tuesday.

"Two of the cats were in such extreme distress with multiple injuries that we couldn’t save them. It is heartbreaking to think of the excruciating pain and suffering these cats must have endured," she said.

People assume cats have good balance, but Dunlop pointed out that "all it takes is an unexpected gust of wind or a sudden noise to spook a cat for a potentially fatal fall to occur."

Some owners have surrendered their cats because they can't afford the medical bills. That was the case with a five-month-old orange tabby named Tandem who was badly injured from falling off an eighth-storey balcony.

It is costing $4,650 to treat the kitten's broken jaw and three breaks in his front leg, said the SPCA, which has a website to collect donations.

If cats are allowed out on highrise balconies, owners should make sure the area is enclosed so that the animals can't fall through the bars or above the railing, said Dunlop.

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