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Nine Lives

1984: Over a five-month period, the Animal Medical Center in New York dealt with 132 cats that had fallen from the city’s windows and roofs.

Wayne Whitney and Cheryl Mehlhaff, who gathered and analyzed data from the clinic, found that the shortest fall was two stories, the average fall 5.5 stories and the longest fall 32 stories. Four of the cats had fallen previously; two cats fell together. Most of the cats fell directly on to concrete but, despite this, 44 of them didn’t need treatment. One-tenth of the cats that did require treatment died, but nine-tenths survived. Treatment was mainly for respiratory problems, facial wounds and bone fractures.

Injuries increased according to the distance fallen from two to seven stories, but beyond that the rate of fractures actually decreased. Only one fracture was recorded among the 13 cats that fell more than nine stories. Only one cat died out of 22 that fell more than seven stories. The cat that fell 32 stories suffered a collapsed lung and a chipped tooth.

Source: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1 December 1987

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