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Cat Myth Busting – Cats Always Land on Their Feet

The saying ‘cats always lands on their feet’ is commonly said and believed by many. Cats do have a rather impressive righting reflex that does indeed mean that when cats fall, they will twist themselves to land on their feet, but it’s not guaranteed.

Injuries to Cats When Falling from Height

Firstly, cats need to have enough space between the height and the land for the reflex to have time to work. However, if they fall from too greater height there is a very real risk of injury as the legs are unable to cope with the shock of the fall. Furthermore, older and less agile cats find it difficult to position themselves correctly in time, leading to injuries and even death. Even when cats fall from height and manage to land on their feet, they will often sustain injuries. The most common injuries are breaking the jaw when it hits the ground. Other injuries include broken bones and internal injuries to lungs and the bladder.

High Rise Syndrome

These days there is less stigma attached to indoor cats in the UK than there once was. In fact, indoor cats and cats with enclosed gardens are growing in popularity. As this trend continues to grow, people in apartments are becoming the proud owners of cats as they feel they can provide a happy healthy home to cats. Many cats now live in flats and high-rise apartments and while they are indeed safe from road accidents, loss and theft, they face the hazard known as high rise syndrome.

High rise syndrome is when cats fall out of windows and off balconies. Cats have a natural hunting behaviour and we all know how curious they are, so it’s only natural that when given the chance, a cat will walk along balconies and window frames and potentially fall when chasing birds, butterflies or leaves. Any open window or balcony door is a risk.

How to Prevent Falling from Height

High rise syndrome can be avoiding by using the actions below:

  • 1.Make it as difficult as possible for cats to have access to any windows/balcony doors that may be opened.
  • 2.Use limiters that prevent windows and doors from being opened beyond a safe amount.
  • 3.If you have a balcony you light to sit out on make it cat friendly using cat balcony meshes and fencing. These allow both you and your cat to use the outdoor space and get fresh air but stop cats from being able to fall.

Being aware of the risk of injury and death caused by falls and high-rise syndrome is the first preventative step. The next is to put into action methods that will ensure the safety of your cat. Cats can certainly thrive in high rise apartments and flats providing the environment is safe and enriched to satisfy their natural behaviours.