The cat volante
For all those who are convinced that cats do not fall and that if they fall they are not hurt
I invite everyone to read these lines, written by a veterinarian. Because it is better to think about it first than to despair later.
“Flying cat is, in veterinary jargon, the cat that falls from a high floor: a typical spring patient because, in the first heat, people open the windows and cats fall from the eaves.
Yes, I know that I am undermining a fundamental pillar of your cat beliefs, but unfortunately it is: it is not true that cats do not fall and it is not true that if they fall they do not get hurt!
In several years of first aid I have seen too many incredulous owners forced to change their minds in tears on an inert body: "But he always started sunbathing on the windowsill ..." NEVER trust the common sense of a cat!
It is also true that there are many cats who walk on the railings all their life like tightrope walkers without ever falling: so why do some people fall?
Given that the owner hardly ever sees his cat the moment he is falling, and therefore it is impossible to know what happened, I noticed one thing: for a while, I visited the litters of new strays on a glass counter. like those of the haberdashery: the kittens, even solidly resting on the surface, could see the void beneath them.
Well, some were clearly terrified of this feeling and backed away to get to safety, others didn't care. Could it be that some cats do not have a sense of emptiness and that this predisposes them to fall?
It is only a hypothesis, but I point it out.
It is however possible to trace an identikit of the flying cat, on the basis of clinical cases: they are generally young cats, born the year before and therefore are found for the first season to be able to jump on windowsills and railings when the windows they are open, or cats of any age who have moved to a high floor during the winter, or those who have joint or vision problems.
The few owners who are present when the cat falls report distractions (the butterfly that passes under its nose just as it is jumping) or errors of assessment (the cat that jumps on the doormat leaning to dry astride the railing) ...
The cat falls mostly in the evening or at night, either because it is more active in these hours, or because the owners come back and open the windows only in the evening, and is found at dinner time or, poor thing, the morning after all. breakfast time. The season runs from about April to June, from the first heat to when ... the cats run out, but they are seen throughout the summer, including repeat offenders! Yes, because moreover these mysterious animals do not learn from their mistakes, and I have seen at least two return twice in a fortnight ... But here it also gets a bit of the owner's head, isn't it?
What injuries can the flying cat get?
The injuries of falls from a height range from an unharmed cat to a dead cat, passing through a whole series of accidents grouped under the English definition "high rise syndrome": fractures of the palate, limbs, back, diaphragmatic ruptures, bladder , lung, etc. A thrilling anthology that I hope you never have to experience. Extensive literature has been spent trying to correlate height and injury, but I have seen cats fall off the same floors and some live and others die: in my experience it is more important what they encounter on the descent, which can alter the flight attitude. and the type of soil they find on the ground. If your cat unfortunately falls from above, always take him to a veterinarian immediately, even if he seems unharmed: certain injuries may not be visible immediately, but only when it is too late ...
If, on the other hand, you see him "unsafe" on a ledge, avoid shouting and calling him alarmed, frightening him and pushing him into rash movements: it is better to make a tempting movement of bowls and treats come from inside the house.
But a lot can be done in terms of prevention: like some of my clients, without getting to move to the ground floor to prevent cats from falling.
I always recommend equipping all windows with mosquito nets, while for balconies and terraces the nylon fishing net is fine, anchored and stretched up to at least two and a half meters high, preferably equipped with a "roof" also with a net . I lived on the fifth floor for several years and I assure you it works.
Does it seem excessive to "armor" the balconies for the cat?
You see ... with this solution I have always slept soundly (and without insects!).
Trust me, it is better to think about it first than to despair later ”.
Grazia Vittadini - veterinary surgeon
For more information on how to "do" I refer you to the page on how to protect balconies, windows , overhead doors and garden, information contacts of specialized companies, or to many ideas for a do-it-yourself.