Kitten recovering after 13 story fall from Minneapolis apartment

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – If cats have nine lives, Brennan must have used up at least a couple of them this week.

Brennan (BluePearl Veterinary Partners photo)

Brennan (BluePearl Veterinary Partners photo)

The 7-month-old kitten is recuperating at BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Eden Prairie after falling 13 stories from the downtown Minneapolis apartment building where he lives.

“He’s acting like nothing much happened to him,” said Julie Syverson, lead surgical veterinary technician at BluePearl. “He’s a little miracle.”

Brennan’s adventure began when his owner, John Knuf, left to go grocery shopping on Friday night. The window of the 17th story apartment was cracked open, and Brennan evidently found a flaw in the screen. He fell from the 17th floor all the way to a landing on the 4th floor.

“It hit me hard when I saw him,” said Knuf, who had to climb out onto a fifth-story ledge to rescue the kitten. “He’s my little man. He wasn’t moving at first but when I picked him up he started crying.”

Knuf rushed Brennan to an emergency hospital, who then referred him to BluePearl. The kitten underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a dislocated hip and a broken shoulder.

“Surgery went very well and so far he’s doing great,” said Dr. Andrew Jackson, the board-certified BluePearl surgeon who performed the procedure, which included attaching a plate to Brennan’s broken shoulder.

Jackson said it’s not all that unusual for cats to fall out of windows. In fact, it happens frequently enough in urban settings that veterinarians have a term for the phenomenon – “high-rise syndrome.”

Brennan and owner John Knuf (BluePearl Veterinary Partners photo).

Brennan and owner John Knuf (BluePearl Veterinary Partners photo).

Brennan is actually lucky that he fell from such a great height. Studies show that cats suffer more severe injuries from falls between the second and seventh floor than from falls above seven stories. That’s because when they stop accelerating, cats no longer sense they are falling and relax, which allows them to better absorb the impact.

Here are some tips to prevent pets from falling from windows:

  • Secure screens with screen guards.
  • Don’t leave pets on balconies unattended.
  • Keep patio furniture away from balcony railings and high patios.
  • Make sure windows are closed before throwing toys for your pets.
  • Never allow pets on a fire escape.
  • If your pet has fallen, be very cautious when approaching. Animals in pain are more likely to bite. Gently but securely wrap the pet in a towel and seek emergency medical care immediately.