Last week my cat jumped off the balcony.
We live on the third floor of a block of flats, and our balcony has a wall round it with a gap at the bottom.
My cat is an indoor cat. She has lived her whole life inside, so having a balcony to go out onto is a new experience for her. As the weather has been good lately I’ve been sitting with the door open so she can wander in and out as she pleases, thinking it was perfectly safe for her to do so. I did not think she would attempt to drop herself from a third floor balcony to the ground, from essentially an army crawl position. I was wrong.
It was the single most terrifying moment of my life.
One minute we were both sitting on the balcony, me writing away (on a thing that has now been shelved due to the whole not being able to concentrate on anything other than the cat jumping off the balcony thing), her under my chair, and the next I hear a sliding sound, followed by a thud below. My heart skips. I look under my chair. There is no cat. I look all around the balcony. No cat. Over the balcony to the group. No cat. Under my chair again. No cat. I look inside the flat. My heart stops.
I bolt down the stairs, out of the flats, and look into the garden of the ground floor flat directly below us, and low and behold standing there, on a concrete patio, looking surprised, is my Kiko. Clearly having not expected the events of the last few minutes. She looks at me, and meows, but makes no effort to come towards me. So we are now in a stand off. I see the cat, and both of us know I want to pick her up and carry her back up stairs. But both of us see the fence separating us. I call her, and she takes a step towards me, then stops as it dawns on me that she has hurt one of her legs. My heart (which had just about restarted) stops again as I think of what a terrible mother I am, and the vet bills I can’t afford, and the way the vet will tell me off when they find out what happens, and the pain my poor baby must be in. After a split-second considering how inappropriate it is to go into someone else’s garden I throw open the gate, grab the cat and whisk her back upstairs to our flat. She meows and wriggles the whole way.
We get back into the flat, and almost instantly she starts walking around and looks incredibly pleased with herself. She is still limping slightly but can put weight the leg in question so I’m pretty sure (this fluctuates between 90% and 5% about 3 times a minute) that it isn’t broken at least. When I say limping slightly, obviously I mean walking in a way that looks normal to everyone except me.
An hour later and she is curled up happily asleep, while I try not to have a panic attack.