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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cat survives 15-story fall

By Robin Tierney - Special to The Examiner - (Maryland, United States)
Friday, July 29, 2005

Rajah may have used up eight lives in one fell swoop last weekend. The 2-month-old kitten plummeted off the 15th-floor balcony of an Alexandria high-rise. Sunday morning, when Jessica Vides went to feed her two cats, only Linx showed up. "I asked my fiance, 'Have you seen Rajah?' " said Vides. "He has a habit of falling into the drawers and hiding." After scouring the apartment, they continued their search outside on the off-chance the kitten had snuck out the door.

Jessica Vides holds her 2-month-old cat, Rajah on Friday, who recently fell 15 stories from their home in Alexandria. Jeff Mankie/Examiner

Eventually, her fiance found the kitty in the bushes by the foundation of their building, a full 15 stories below their balcony. "Rajah was moving and, amazingly, seemed fine," Vides said.

What happened? "We kept the litter box on the balcony," explained Vides. The cats had seemed to know not to go near the edge - where access was blocked by clusters of plants, bicycles and odds and ends stored against the railings. Apparently, after a potty break, Rajah's curiosity literally sent him over the edge.

Vides attributed their luck to good landscaping: "There are a lot of bushes and trees, which must have broken his fall." Perhaps Rajah's young, flexible kitten physique also worked in his favor.

A Virginia cat rescue acquaintance came right over to examine the fallen feline. "We found no bruises, no injuries," said Vides. Rajah slept more than usual that day, but ate, drank and soon resumed his normal kitty antics. "He was playing with toys, playing with Linx, playing with his tail." He also climbed atop the bookcase, indicating that he hadn't developed a fear of heights.

"It is very dangerous to have cats and dogs out on balconies," cautions Judy McClain of the Society for the Prince George's County Prevention of Cruelty to Animals/Humane Society, where it's illegal to have a dog on a balcony if unaccompanied by an adult person. A dog could jump over or squeeze though rails; a tethered dog could jump off and be strangled to death.

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