As cat keepers it is essential that we know the existence of the so-called parachute cat syndrome, so that we can implement all the necessary measures to avoid it.
Cats do not jump from great heights on purpose, but by accident they can suffer these spectacular falls and hence their name. From SoyUnGato we tell you all about the parachute cat syndrome.
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What is a parachutist cat?
The parachute cat syndrome, also known as the flying cat syndrome, calls an accident that cats suffer in such a common way that that is why it has its own name.
It is about the feline falling from a high height as a result of a mistake, an unforeseen event, a slip, etc. The cat does not jump , it falls and precipitation from the window or balcony of a building are typical examples.
But don’t cats always land on their feet?
The cat has a great ability to position its body in such a way that, when it jumps, even from a considerable height, it surprises us by landing perfectly on its four legs.
When a cat falls from a first or second floor, it does not have time to perform the positioning movement , so that it touches the ground with any part of the body, especially the face, head or thorax.
Although it seems incredible, the injuries will be more serious than if the precipitation occurs from a greater height, for the simple reason that, in these cases, the cat does have time to get up and land on its feet. Of course, if the height is very high, even if it falls in a good position it will kill itself due to the violence of the impact .
What cats are paratroopers?
We must be clear that all cats are susceptible to this accident . We cannot lower our guard with any of them, but it is true that a higher incidence of parachute syndrome has been found in whole and young cats.
The explanation may be in their interest in the exterior when reaching sexual maturity, inexperience when it comes to calibrating capacities and risks and, as the saying goes, the innate curiosity of felines. Older cats could also suffer these accidents by worsening their physical condition.
Consequences of parachute cat syndrome
The damage that the jack will suffer after the fall will depend on its previous state, the height from which the accident occurred and the position that it has managed to acquire before hitting the ground.
Thus, some cats are unharmed, while others suffer multiple injuries, including jaw fractures and broken limbs and fingers . In any case, we must always take our cat to the veterinarian since, even those that seem to have suffered no damage, may have internal injuries that appear later, when it is too late to tackle them.
What everyone usually agrees on, regardless of the damage, is that they are very scared. We must move them with great care when transferring them to the clinic. If we suspect a spinal cord injury, before touching the cat we have to call the vet to tell us the best way to mobilize it without aggravating the damage.
This will depend on the damage produced, which the veterinarian can assess fundamentally with x-rays and blood tests. Except in minor falls that will only need observation, the usual thing is that a fracture occurs.
A broken leg may require surgical intervention to reposition it, but it will not be life-threatening . In contrast, organ damage, internal bleeding or pneumothorax, which is the escape of air from the lungs, complicate the prognosis.
In the most serious cases, the cat will remain in the clinic. After discharge we will continue with the care at home.
How to avoid parachute cat syndrome
The first measure is never to leave windows or balconies open where the cat is. Either we close the door of the room that we are ventilating or we open the minimum so that the cat cannot look out and not even insert its paw, since some are capable of opening windows.
The safest option is to place a mosquito net that allows you to open the window with the assurance that the cat cannot fall.
In addition, environmental enrichment is important, that is, offering him an environment with sufficient stimuli where he can satisfy his curiosity, his exploratory activity and, thus, expend his energy.
A home for cats must include the possibility of living in the heights, since felines love to always position themselves elevated both to observe and to rest. Scrapers of different sizes that we can make ourselves, strategically arranged furniture and shelves, toys with catnip or those that contain holes through which food is coming out should not be missing, as well as boxes or any homemade utensil that we know that you find interesting.
The sterilization is essential to avoid that, reaching sexual maturity, our cat looks attracted by the activity of their counterparts in the street , which may result in the parachutist syndrome.
Very often the cat that falls into the street, very scared, hides, so it will not always be easy to find it at the scene of the accident. If we have taken the precaution of microchipping it, anyone who finds it can take it to a veterinary clinic where, passing the reader, they can notify us.
Even if the cat has already fallen, it can suffer this accident again, so it is also necessary that we put this identification device on it.