ASPCA Happy Tails: A Perfect Place for Penelope

November 25, 2015

After falling from the window of a high rise building in the Bronx, New York, Penelope the cat was rescued from neglect and taken to the ASPCA. Despite physical injuries—and emotional scars—the five-year-old Calico had a lot of love to give and was eager to find a safe, happy home of her own. After two months under our care, this fearless feline did just that. Here is her story.

The NYPD rescued Penelope after her fall and brought her to the ASPCA Animal Hospital. Although her experience was traumatic, it was not entirely shocking: Every summer, many cats like Penelope succumb to a phenomenon known as High-Rise Syndrome. This syndrome—so-called because it happens when cats fall from tall buildings—occurs when the weather warms up and unsuspecting pet parents open their windows. At its peak, veterinarians may see three-to-five cases a week. Falls that aren’t fatal can result in shattered jaws, punctured lungs, broken limbs, or, as in Penelope’s case, a dislocated hip.

At the Hospital, Penelope received surgery for her dislocated hip, as well as a spay procedure and dental operation. Although the ordeal left Penelope with a slight limp, it was clear that past neglect had also left the pretty kitty with deep emotional wounds. Penelope was very wary of new people and places and was quick to snap, so we enrolled her in our Office Foster Program, which increased her opportunities for socialization in the office of an ASPCA staffer. Her behavior improved greatly under this program, and soon she was both physically and emotionally ready for a home. As if on cue, fiancés Marilyn and John arrived soon after.

Recently engaged, Marilyn and John decided they wanted to adopt a little “fuzzball” to complete their family. “Since we both grew up having pets, not having one left a void in both of our lives,” John said. “A friend told us about the ASPCA, so off we went.” They met Penelope at the ASPCA Adoption Center and it was a perfect fit. They adopted her on August 28, just about three months after her arrival.

In her new home, pretty Penelope continued to thrive. John says, “She is getting along just great! She greets us at the door every evening when we come home from work. In the morning, she’s so affectionate that it’s hard to leave the apartment.” She appears to have made a full physical recovery, and her behavioral issues also seem to have melted away. “She is so friendly when friends come over—she’ll run up and greet them like she’s known them all her life!,” says John. “We couldn't have asked for a better addition to our family! Thank you, ASPCA!”