Cat owners need to be especially careful with open windows and balconies, or our little friends could find themselves in danger.
Balconies: the risk of fatal injuries
We say cats have nine lives, but even the most agile cat can’t avoid all injuries.
Cats have an innate ability to rotate and reorient their body when needed during a fall. This is called the “righting reflex”. Kittens and adult cats use this to help avoid injury, but sometimes it is simply not enough or doesn't work as intended.
The main risks of a fall for a cat are fractures and breaks, especially in the legs after landing on all fours. Chest injuries are also common, and in some cases the spleen, bladder or pancreas can be ruptured.
Why do cats fall from balconies?
At heights, cats understand the concept of the "empty space,"and hence drop, lying before them. However, while they may realise there is no close landing on the other side of the balcony, hunting instincts can sometimes take over and cause your cat to take a risky jump. They could then find themselves toppling over the edge.
This can be more evident as your cat loses agility with age.
Protect your windows and balconies
There are a number of netting and mesh products available that easily attach to your balcony or windows so you don't have to keep windows and doors closed all year round. These are a worthwhile investment if you live up high and want to ensure your cat remains safe.
Warning: If netting or mesh is not sufficiently tall, a more adventurous cat my find their way over the top!
If your cat insists on going on to the balcony, avoid having large plants with branches that your cat can climb onto. Similarly with large objects that protrude over the edge. Chances of slipping can be greatly increased. If your balcony's railings are slippery or appear to pose a risk to your cat, consider installing obstacles that will deter your cat from jumping up, or talk to your vet about some possible solutions. Better still, try keep your cat indoors!
Have you taken the necessary steps to protect your cat from a fall?