Sugar the cat may be on her ninth life after surviving a 19-story fall, and rescuers say it's actually better for all cats to fall from a higher altitude.
Brittany Kirk, Sugar's owner, spoke with reporters about the experience. "I look out my window all the time and I think, 'Wow, this is really high.'" Sugar fell out of one of the apartment windows while Kirk was at work.
"I'm just so thankful," she told WBZ-TV. "When I came home from work today and I saw her, I was just very thankful. It's a miracle." Vets and other animal advocates tell owners that they should always install screens on windows if a pet is in the home, but Kirk did not have them, which accounted for Sugar's fall.
Cats are notorious for landing on their feet after a fall, and in this case, the higher altitude gave Sugar time to adjust and prepare for landing.
"The cats are able to relax, orient themselves in a flying squirrel position with the legs spread out. It slows their descent," said Brian O'Connor, a manager with the Animal Rescue League.
O'Connor talked about the call that brought his team of rescuers to the scene.
"We just knew that someone from inside on the second floor saw something go by their window, looked outside and saw that a cat had landed on its feet and then kind of scurried off."
"By the time we'd gotten there, the building staff had gotten the cat corralled inside," he said.
The team took Sugar to the veterinarian where they discovered just how fortunate the kitty was. Sugar only had minor bruising on the lungs and a small cut on her lip.
"At that point it kind of hit," O'Connor said. "Like wow, this cat really fell from quite a height. Pretty lucky. I'd say it used up one of its nine lives today."