Persian Cat

Persian Cat

Cats are furry little bundles of joy. Part of their charm is their ability to get into inaccessible places.

No place is too narrow or too high for these little bundles of mischief. While they seem to be able to get in and out of tight spots with great alacrity, sometimes they can get into too much trouble for their own good.

A few days back we had just such a visitor to our clinic- bloody nose, cracked palate and all, the furry feline came cuddled in the arms of its owner as if sheepishly smiling for the trouble it had gotten itself into. Catty, the cat had managed to jump off the fourth floor of his apartment chasing a pigeon. He was in some pain and had difficulty swallowing when he first came in. You know the irony of it all, Catty would have been better off falling from a taller place. Read on to unravel why.

Cats have 30 articulating vertebrae-6 more than humans. But,this is not what makes them special among mammals. The elasticity of the discs between them, however, gives them truly unique flexibility. Cats can rotate their backs up to 180 degrees, which is partly how they correct their mid-air orientation to land on their feet. When falling, the fluid in their inner ear shifts and they rotate their head until this fluid is level again. The body automatically shifts to follow the head and the cat lands on its feet. This phenomenon is called a ‘Righting Reflex’.

However in a fall from 10 to 12 feet, there often isn’t enough time for even an agile cat to complete the full switch to “feet-side down.” Older, less agile cats could be seriously injured, especially when landing on a hard surface. Veterinarians call this affinity of felines to jump off really tall places as “High Rise Syndrome.”

Coming back to Catty, all he needed was some painkillers and intravenous fluids and a dash of that greatest healer of all-Time. In 3 days, the great white Persian was back to its trouble mongering ways. His parents decided to put an iron mesh on their balcony to make sure Catty’s batty ways did not get him into trouble again.