Monday, December 25, 2023

High rise falls by pet cats and health consequences

A study looked at the injuries sustained by domestic cats under what is called 'high-rise syndrome' i.e. falling from an apartment block usually. I don't have the distances fallen but there is an optimum height at which the cat suffers the least injuries because the cat has the time to fan out their limbs flying squirrel style and slow their descent plus stabilise their body and land on their feet.

RELATED: Highest A Cat Has Fallen And Survived.

High rise falls by pet cats and health the consequences
Cat falling as the building was on fire. Image: Screenshot.

Here are the summarised findings:

  • 132 cats were studied over 5 months
  • The average age of the cats was 2.7 years. Comment: young cats which points to reckless behaviour by the cats and perhaps less than optimum concern or concentration by the cat owner.
  • 90% of the cats suffered some type of thoracic trauma (the thorax area of the cat's body: the chest).
  • 68% suffered pulmonary contusions (an injury to the lung parenchyma - portion of the lungs involved in gas exchange - in the absence of laceration to lung tissue or any vascular structures).
  • 63% had pneumothorax (the presence of air or gas in the cavity between the lungs and the chest wall, causing collapse of the lung.)
  • 55% had abnormal breathing.
  • 57% suffered injury to the face (facial trauma).
  • 39% suffered limb fractures.
  • 24% were in shock.
  • 18% had 'traumatic luxations'. I believe this to mean dislocations of joints.
  • 17% suffered hard palate fractures inside the mouth.
  • 17% were hypothermic.
  • 17% had dental fractures (damaged teeth).
  • 37% required emergency vet treatment.
  • 30% need non-urgent treatment.
  • 30% were observed and did not need treatment.
  • 90% of the cats survived
  • 10% died.
The study: Whitney WO, Mehlhaff CJ. High-rise syndrome in cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 1987 Dec;191(11):1399-1403. PMID: 3692980.

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