A lucky ‘miracle’ cat survives a 12-story fall

This weekend the New York Post ran the story of Copper, Angela Lang’s 9-year-old cat who survived a 12-story fall from her New York window, breaking only her paw. Lang’s vet pronounced Copper a “miracle cat” for escaping worse damage. (Read the full story here.)


A brown/grey tabby, like Copper, adoptable cat Skeet is at Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, NJ.

The New York Post reports:

The trouble for Copper started shortly before 11 pm Monday, when Lang was getting ready to give her and another cat, Daisy, their nightly treat.

“Daisy came for a snack and Copper didn’t,” Lang said. “That’s when I realized that she was missing. It took me about two hours to find out that she fell.”

Copper had apparently gotten through Lang’s 14th-floor window, [which was above a 2-story garage and] was open only about 3 inches wide and held in place by a window lock.

“I didn’t think she could fit through the window,” said Lang, who had never lived in a high-rise apartment before. “She’s never done anything like this, but she is the explorer of the two cats.”

Unfortunately, falling from apartment windows is so common for cats that veterinarians have given it a name: feline high-rise syndrome. In fact, the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City reports that it sees three to five cases each week, according to the ASPCA website. And cats usually don’t end up as lucky as Copper.

With the weather warming up and in honor of Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month, now is a great time to install screens on all your windows — and to check the screens you already have. Here are some fast facts about window screens and cats from our article on preventing feline high-rise syndrome:

  • Even the most agile cats can fall from windows and balconies. Whether your cat is sleeping on a window sill and is disoriented for a moment when he wakes up, or your cat is startled by a sudden noise, all cats may fall victim to feline high-rise syndrome.
  • Surviving the fall isn’t the only danger. Even if your window or balcony is near the ground, cats who survive the fall may get lost.
  • If a cat’s head can fit through, so can her body. Like Angela Lang, many pet parents might not realize how small an opening can be for a cat to get through. If you have an unscreened window with bars, be sure that your cat can’t fit his head through or he may still get out.
  • Cats should be supervised when in screened-in areas. Even the best screens aren’t 100% reliable. Loose window screens and determined cats can still spell disaster. (Read the story of Callie, a cat who went through her mom’s screened window.) So, be sure to supervise your cat when he’s in his screened-in enclosure or near a screened window — and opt for the air conditioner when you’re out.

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More on this story and feline high-rise syndrome:

New York Post: Cat’s mee-owch! Survives 12-story plunge

Chicago Sun-Times: Cat survives 12-story fall, lands on feet in New York City

Petfinder article: Preventing Feline High-Rise Syndrome

ASPCA: High-Rise Syndrome