One of the things that Jacey does that drives the human nuts is when she will go outside of the balcony railing. The concrete on the outside of the railing is thick, and as nimble as Jacey is, she is easily able to navigate it. The odds of her falling are very small, but the human does not want to risk it.
The humans in white coats have seen way too many cats fall from balconies in high rises. They have given it a name — high rise syndrome.
You might be wondering why nimble and intelligent felines fall victim to high rise syndrome. Well, the human tells me that many humans suffer from something called attention deficit disorder, where they are not able to focus on something.
We felines have the opposite problem. We focus very intently on whatever interests us. And that can cause us to fall from a place that we normally would easily be able to stay on.
Not surprisingly, injuries that felines sustain from high rise syndrome typically involve the legs and paws. You all know that we are very good at righting ourselves so that we land on our feet.
But sometimes, when we fall from a high enough place that we hit the ground at high speeds, our legs will crumple without breaking. Then, the impact is absorbed by our chest. When this happens, felines falling suffer from bruised or collapsed lungs, broken sternums, and broken ribs. Internal organs may be ruptured or bruised. And because our mouth may hit the ground as well, high rise syndrome can cause broken jaws.
What is fascinating is that falls from over six stories, according to the most often cited study on high rise syndrome, cause fewer deaths than those of less than six stories. Also fascinating is the survival rate. If we do not die due to the impact, victims of high rise syndrome have a 90 percent survival rate.
This could be explained by two reasons. First, humans in white coats have said that it takes about 50 feet for us felines to fully relax and slow down the velocity at which we hit the ground. Other humans in white coats believe that it’s because if high rise syndrome claims our life, we are not counted in the data.
Even if the survival rate from high rise syndrome is high, it is not something worth risking. You may see your nimble and graceful feline and think, there is no way my cat will fall. You are probably right, but you do not want to risk that.
Just ask Jacey. She always wants to go out on the balcony ledge, and the human won’t let her. She tells him, look, you have seen me balance on the top of the door and that is much smaller. I can handle this. The human agrees with her, but he says he still wants to keep her safe.