A beloved pet cat is lucky to be alive after falling from a nine story balcony on Halloween and landing on a concrete patio, shattering his jaw and two of his legs and suffering a host of other serious injuries, according to Jamaica Plain's Angell Animal Medical Center.
Simba, who lives with the Jardus family in Brookline, was enjoying a typical quiet Halloween evening with his family when things suddenly took a turn. “My mother was visiting and she inadvertently left him outside on the balcony where, at some point, he fell all the way down to the patio below,” said Victoria Jardus.
Critically injured, Simba laid by the side of the building, enduring overnight temperatures that fell into the twenties before he was found the next afternoon. Victoria rushed him to Angell, where doctors worked feverishly to stabilize him.
Shock, Hypothermia and Pain
“Simba was in shock when he first arrived and it’s quite miraculous that he survived at all,” said Dr. Virginia Sinnott of Angell’s Emergency & Critical Care Unit. “His temperature had dropped to 86—as opposed to 100, which is the normal body temperature for a cat, and he suffered multiple injuries that could easily have killed him.”
In addition to fractures of the both his front and rear right legs Simba’s jaw was shattered by the fall. His lungs were nearly ruptured, he suffered multiple lacerations and had blood in his abdomen. He spent a full eight days in the hospital, during which time the veterinary team applied splints to help his leg heal. His jaw fractures went on to heal on their own.
Now, six weeks after the fall, Simba is still recovering. “He is through the worst of it and for that we’re so grateful,” said Victoria Jardus, whose young daughter claims Simba as her own. “We came so close to losing him and I’m overjoyed to see him improve a little each day.”
Simba is walking, breathing and eating well, and has been back to Angell several times for bandage changes and re-checks. “We expect him to keep coming back for the next two weeks so we can monitor his progress and ensure he heals as completely as possible,” said Dr. Sinnott.
Simba’s survival is extraordinary given the height from which he fell. “Many pets die from falling from windows or patios that are not even half as high,” said Dr. Emily Ulfelder of Angell’s surgery team. “He is so lucky to have landed the way that he did, as the fall alone could easily have killed him. As for surviving a frigid night alone, outside and in such pain, it’s fair to say he used at least one or two of his nine lives!”