Kitten Falls From 17 Floors — A Tale for Apartment Dwellers

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brennan BluePearl Veterinary
Brennan, the kitten who fell 17 stories and survived to tell about it (Photo: BluePearl Veterinary Partners)

Sometimes even the best pet owners can make a mistake and it could be a mistake that can cause a pet a serious injury or worse.

On a Friday evening, John Knuf needed to make a quick trip to the grocery store.  In spite of his precautions, he had left one of his windows slightly cracked open.  Brennan, a seven-month old kitten did what all kittens do.  He decided to investigate.  It is difficult to know if Brennan had found an opening in the screen or pushed it out himself, but the result was Brennan falling from the 17th floor of the apartment building where he and Knuf lived, more than 100 feet before smashing onto a landing on the fourth floor.

When Knuf came home and saw his kitten 13 floors below him, he was certain of the worst.  He raced downstairs and climbed out on a ledge just above Brennan.  When he got to his kitten and picked him up, Brennan began crying.

BluePearl Veterinary Partners treated Brennan and were genuinely surprised the injuries were minor in comparison to what could have transpired. The kitten suffered only a dislocated hip and broken shoulder.  Following his surgery, Dr. Andrew Jackson, the surgeon who performed the procedure which included attaching a plate to the broken shoulder, said that Brennan was doing great, according to the media release.

Jackson also explained that cats do fall out of windows and that it happens often enough in urban environments that the phrase “high-rise syndrome,” has been coined by veterinarians.  Turns out that Brennan is actually quite fortunate he fell from such a height.  Greater injury can occur when a cat falls from between 20 to 70 feet, the equivalent of 2 to 7 stories.  Falling from a greater height causes the cat to relax and that relaxation gives them a better chance for survival of an impact.  However, no one, under any circumstances should try this at home or anywhere else for that matter.  As sensible as that might seem, sadly, there are those who will want to see the results themselves with no concern for their animal’s health and well-being.

Knuf was trying to do right by Brennan and keeping him safe, but this does serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who may live in a location subject to similar circumstances.  Here are some tips from BluePearl Veterinary Partners to prevent your pets from falling from a window:

  • Secure screens with screen guards.
  • Don’t leave pets on balconies unattended.
  • Keep patio furniture away from balcony railings and high patios.
  • Make sure windows are closed before throwing toys for your pets.
  • Never allow pets on a fire escape.
  • If your pet has fallen, be very cautious when approaching. Animals in pain are more likely to bite. Gently but securely wrap the pet in a towel and seek emergency medical care immediately.

When all is said and done, Brennan is healing nicely. It’s a good bet that Knuf has taken extra precautions around the house, too, for the love of his kitty.

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