How high can a cat safely jump from?

samus

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I just got a loft bed that's about 4.5 feet off the ground and my cat's still getting used to it. I made a series of levels for her to climb up (a stool and desk next to the bed), which she uses to get up, but sometimes getting down she just jumps straight down. Should I be worried she's going to hurt herself? She's 13 years old and still pretty active (when she's not having digestive issues).
 

jaxtabby

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At 13 some cats start to feel arthritis and avoid such jumps.  If you cat is doing this freely, it must be feeling fine.  Keeping her active will keep her healthy. if you notice her hesitating before each jump you might want to look into getting her some steps to get on the bed.  She sound like she is doing great and is healthy!
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Wow!  That's pretty high for a 13 year old, but if she can do it and doesn't "omph" when she lands, then more power to her.  Is she landing on carpet?  I would imagine her joints are beginning to take a beating after all these years, but since you provided her with another route down, if she wants to take the straight down route, it must not hurt.  One would think she would do what hurts her the least. 
 

betsygee

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I have a 13 year old who still jumps like that, too.  She has a ramp she can use, but she prefers to jump up and down.  Unfortunately she still likes jumping on and off the kitchen counters, too!  
  

She'll probably start using the steps you've set up when she needs to.  
 

mservant

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I used to have a cat who would jump like that even at 17. She was a very light, dainty cat and while she would use stepping stones / furniture to climb up, she would launch down quite fearlessly.  My heart would leap out of my chest sometimes when I saw her getting up to stuff.   I think if your cat is feeling active and happy to be clambering about then let them, but leave furnishing and soft landings around for them so they have an option if you can.   That way, if they still want to be up high they can go for a less dramatic decent on days when they don't feel so athletic.
 
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samus

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Yeah, she definitely prefers to climb down. I guess I'll keep steps around but not be too worried when she decides to take the short cut straight down. I'm also planning on making a nice shelf. Like a cat tree integrated into the bed. :)
 

di and bob

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My 15.5 year old still jumps on and off the counter, just to let me know he can still do it and I think he likes to hear my husband yell! I've seen cats jump from 6-8 feet up with no ill effects except to give me a rush!
 

Geoffrey

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When my daughter brought her first cat home, she left her in the kitchen with the window open.  She lives on the upper floor of an apartment block and the drop is about 40 feet.  Mimi was a year old and, to our amazement she disappeared from the apartment through the kitchen window  window and was quite undamaged when we caught her a few days later.  She was then on the roof of the carport which was around the corner!

Regards,

Geoffrey
 
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juliejac0bs

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Based on studies,   2 to 32 stories is still a safe height and has 90% chance of survival as cats have natural reflexes when falling from a higher places. Cats have a natural fondness of heights btw :)
 

stephenq

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Based on studies,   2 to 32 stories is still a safe height and has 90% chance of survivalbutmost will not. as cats have natural reflexes when falling from a higher places. Cats have a natural fondness of heights btw :)
I have to disagree.  Yes, some cats will survive a fall from a great height but most will not. 90% chance of survival is not accurate.
 
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betsygee

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Based on studies,   2 to 32 stories is still a safe height and has 90% chance of survival as cats have natural reflexes when falling from a higher places. Cats have a natural fondness of heights btw :)
I suspect you meant 2 to 3 stories, not 2 - 32?  
 
 

mservant

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The shorter falls can be hazardous because cats don't always have the time to correct their body position and prepare for the landing.  
   Generally the ones from furniture are OK, if they fall from landings down to a lower floor I believe that is a common cause for severe injuries, esp in younger cats.
 

juliejac0bs

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I have to disagree.  Yes, some cats will survive a fall from a great height but most will not. 90% chance of survival is not accurate.
You can google the sources. It depends but a study was made:

They are pros at controlled falls.  It's quite possible for a cat to survive at her terminal velocity of 60 miles per hour, as demonstrated by a study done on 132 cats falling an average of 5.5 stories, published in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  90% survived, albeit many requiring medical attention.  The study suggested cats often have a better survival rate above a certain height due to their ability to relax and spread out more.  In fact, only one of the 13 falling more than 9 stories broke a bone, and the cat that survived the longest fall, of 32 stories, was good to go in two days.
 
 
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stephenq

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You can google the sources. It depends but a study was made:

They are pros at controlled falls.  It's quite possible for a cat to survive at her terminal velocity of 60 miles per hour, as demonstrated by a study done on 132 cats falling an average of 5.5 stories, published in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  90% survived, albeit many requiring medical attention.  The study suggested cats often have a better survival rate above a certain height due to their ability to relax and spread out more.  In fact, only one of the 13 falling more than 9 stories broke a bone, and the cat that survived the longest fall, of 32 stories, was good to go in two days.
 
I'm sorry, but you are misquoting the study.  It is NOT that 90% survived the fall from 2-32 stories.  It is instead that of THOSE THAT SURVIVED THE FALL, 90% ultimately lived.  That is a very different statistic and says nothing about the overall survival rate of falls, which I maintain is a very poor for most.    The study is quoted in this NIH abstract here -> http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3692980

I goggled your quote above, and it is not taken from the study, but articles about  the study and the line "90% survived, albeit many requiring medical attention." is out of context and is referencing only those cats that were actually taken in for medical treatment.  The actual comment in the study linked above is "Ninety percent of the treated cats survived." (underline is mine for emphasis).

What the real study is basically saying (as an analogy) is that of those that survived the sinking of the Titanic, 90% lived.  Well that's great except for the death of over 1500 people on that ship.

What i always tell my students, and it should be noted by all of us when trying to evaluate studies and statistics is that, when quoting a "study", if one doesn't provide a bibliographical link to the thing that one is quoting from, than one hasn't actually quoted anything.
 

clw01

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My cat omphs when she lands (going up or down) is that bad? 
 

stephenq

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I have to admire you took time in researching this. I stand corrected. Thanks for updating me this info. 
That's what we try and do, advisors, former advisors (like myself), as well as many dedicated members, which is to devote the time to provide quality info for all.  Thank you for being so gracious about it and for raising the issue. 
 
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samus

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@StephenQ, thanks for linking the study. I've heard it misquoted multiple times, good to have it cleared up. So in the study, it was just cats that showed up at the vet, so the total number of falling cats in the city is unknown? Do you know of any studies on what percentage of falling cats survive to make it to the vet?
 

stephenq

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I believe the total number of cats who fall is unknown as here is no reporting method for reporting one's cat as deceased from a fall. I suspect the number of cats who survive a significant fall and make it to the vet is a small subset of the total but I don't know this for a fact, just applying common sense.

Something else from the study that is under reported is that when it says 90% of the treated cats survived, that doesn't include the number of cats that were PTS by owners who couldn't afford treatment so there was a percentage of cats who survived but died due to owner that is outside that 90%.
 
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