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We recently moved into a new house (approximately 2 weeks ago). The new house has a 2 story family room. The upstairs hallway overlooks the family room, with a dropoff of 10-11 feet.

Last night Romeo jumped off of the balcony into the family room.

He appeared fine, did not cry upon landing, did not limp at all. What signs should I look for that would indicate a vet visit is needed?

  • Also, I'm hoping that he was just testing and he won't do it again, but if he does we plan to make whatever modifications to prevent it from happening again. – Zaralynda Dec 22 '15 at 21:33
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I wouldn't worry too much if it was from a 2 story height, not cause it's not high but because it's high enough for the cat to prepare for landing thanks to their righting reflex, this reflex is what allows a cat to know which way is up and which one is down, allowing it to land on its feet. They develop this reflex at a very young age(if you hold a kitten belly up you'll notice how it "twists" because he is trying to accommodate itself for a proper landing).

Cats are capable of this thanks to their flexible vertebrae, the image below shows how a cat moves its body in order to achieve a proper landing position.

enter image description here

Also, it's thanks to their size and weight that they can achieve this, being so small allows them to have a very much slower terminal velocity(max speed while on free fall).

Although, if you're really concerned you can always take the cat to the vet, there's nothing wrong with being extra careful.(Injuries can be sustained, but it really depends on height, and cat's ability to successfully position itself)

From this link

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  • NASA had astronauts practicing some of these moves, back in the 70's. Angular momentum is conserved, but orientation doesn't have to be. – keshlam Dec 23 '15 at 0:53
  • From the question it would seem the cat jumped of his/her own free will, so no righting needed. – Stig Tore May 22 '17 at 12:09
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Cats don't like admitting that they're hurt. Observe, and if there's significant behavior change, the vet is probably a good idea.

Cats in good condition can survive some surprising falls -- if you don't have problems with the concept, web search "feline high-rise syndrome" for some surprising results that suggest how -- but they don't always land well. My previous cat once fell about 20' off a roof, and almost got away with it -- but she didn't hit quite right and broke her jaw.

My cats now have an 8'-tall cat tree. They'll jump from the 5' and 6.5' platforms at times... but when possible they'll aim for the sofa, which is both a shorter fall and a padded landing.

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If the cat jumped on purpose and isn't limping or showing other signs of distress, which cats are pretty good at hiding anyway, I would just keep an eye on him to make sure it doesn't worsen. If he does it again, that's a pretty good sign it didn't hurt him the first time.

If he's favoring a paw/leg but still using it when needed, consider a vet visit, but odds are it's just a sprain that will heal on its own within a day, i.e. before you can probably get a vet appointment anyway.

If he's not using a paw/leg at all, though, that merits an immediate trip to a pet hospital.

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The responsibility of being a pet parent to either a cat or dog, well as other exotic animals come with responsibilities. These commitments is merely providing food and shelter, but requires a great deal of patience, attentiveness, among other virtues.

I must admit that eventually it pays out. This is given the sense of accomplishment and companionship that cannot be explained.

In this case, understanding and observing your cat is what should determine further actions. Probably checking out his body parts to make sure your cat isn't feeling hurt is crucial.

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