©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Step 4, Split upper palate

Cats love to perch on windowsills. They frequently sit in a window and gaze at the birds as they fly by, or try to catch insects that land on the windowsills. Unfortunately, sturdy screens aren't always placed on all windows and the cat sometimes falls. An important part of cat care is knowing how to treat cats who fall out of windows, especially from a high-rise building.

A cat usually survives a fall of up to three stories without serious injury. In a fall from a greater height, the tendency to land on all four feet usually holds true and leg fractures are common. As the cat hits the ground, the head is thrust downward and the chin hits first. This usually breaks a cat's teeth and splits the upper palate, which causes the nose to bleed. Shock and internal injuries occur.

If you are unsure whether your cat has fallen from a high-rise building or window, some warning signs to watch for are blood coming from the cat's nose and mouth, broken bones, and unconsciousness. You should also watch for signs of shock, which include pale or white cat gums as well as rapid heartbeat and breathing.

If your cat has fallen from a window or high-rise building, use the following cat care tips:

Step 1: Look for the cat in all the hiding places near where the fall took place.

Step 2: Approach the cat carefully. If your cat is nervous or anxious, restrain the cat if necessary.

Step 3: Examine for blood around the nose. If blood is present, carefully wipe it away. Bleeding should stop in a few minutes.

Step 4: Examine for blood, broken teeth, and/or split upper palate in mouth. To open its mouth:

Step 4a: Place one hand over the cat's head so that your thumb and index finger fall just behind the long canines (fang teeth), the head resting against your palm.

Step 4b: Gently tilt the cat's head back so its nose is pointing upward. Push your thumb toward your finger. The cat's mouth then should open.

Step 5: Carefully wipe blood away from the cat's mouth. The bleeding should stop in a few minutes.

Step 6: Examine the cat for broken bones.

Step 7: Transport the cat to the veterinarian immediately.

©Publications International, Ltd.