A female cat owner living on the eighth floor of a building in Turin, Italy is being sued by a man for negligence. The man claims that she was negligent in caring for her cat because her cat fell off her balcony hitting and seriously injuring him. The cat was killed.
The cat weighed 13 pounds (6 kg). The man, who is 56-years-of-age, suffered a serious neck injury which took 30 days to heal.
It is not uncommon for a domestic cat to fall from a balcony anywhere on the planet. Sometimes cats fall long distances of up to 20 stories. They most often survive because, as we know, they have an ability to fan out their legs which breaks their fall. In addition they are very flexible animals which softens the impact. Domestic cats reach terminal velocity at a certain height and they often end up with relatively minor injuries to the chin, chest and legs.
This, however, is the first time that I have encountered a story in which a falling cat hits and injures a person.
But for man cat would have survived
It’s a great shame that the cat was killed. If the cat had not hit the man she would have almost certainly survived. It would not be possible to argue that the man on the pavement (sidewalk) contributed to his injury because he failed to look up and catch the cat!
Claim should succeed
My gut reaction to this claim is that it will succeed. I don’t see how it can be anything else but negligent of a cat owner to allow his or her cat to fall off a balcony from a high-rise apartment. However, there may be an unusual reason why it happened.
There is always that possibility. Cat owners should not make the presumption that because domestic cats are so athletic and surefooted it is impossible for them to fall from a balcony. Cats do fall from great heights and it isn’t just from a balcony. They can fall from tree branches and any other structure but it is rare and unusual. However, if the possibility exists a cat owner should take precautions.
If he succeeds in his claim the damages could be quite high because it may include loss of wages for a month and he could claim that he suffers from headaches or something like that which a medical expert might argue will last for a long time.