Recently, a cat named Mikey got stuck in a 90-foot tall palm tree in the city of Pico Rivera in Los Angeles County. In total, he spent close to two weeks in the palm tree, which was in spite of various efforts to convince him to climb down on his own. For example, Mikey’s owner Dolores Lopez tried using dry food, canned tuna, and even Kentucky Fried Chicken to lure Mikey on the recommendation of the local animal control agency. Likewise, when the Fire Department was called in, they determined that they didn’t have the equipment needed to perform a rescue, though they did make an unsuccessful attempt to scare the cat out of the palm tree with a hose.
Eventually, one of Lopez’s friends contacted PETA, which in turn, sent out a call for anyone who could provide assistance. This resulted in a local crane company called The Crane Guys of La Mirada stepping in. However, while The Crane Guys of La Mirada provided an animal rescuer with the means to reach out to Mikey, it was Mikey who got himself out of the palm tree by jumping. Fortunately, while it took some time for Lopez and her daughter to find their freed cat hiding under the foundation of a house, they discovered that Mikey was in a much better condition than what most people would have expected based on what had happened. As such, this can be called a happy story, particularly since it is an excellent reminder that there are people out there who care about others.
How Did the Cat Survive?
With that said, some people might be curious about how Mikey managed to survive for close to two weeks while stuck in a palm tree. After all, while there are some mammals that can survive for long periods of time without food and water, cats aren’t one of them. Instead, cats can survive just three days without water, which is comparable to humans, and just a week without food, which is quite a bit worse than humans that can survive for weeks under similar circumstances.
Of course, there is a wide range of factors that can influence a particular cat’s survivability. For example, a smaller, less active cat needs less water than a bigger, more active cat. Likewise, a healthier cat is more capable of putting up with tough conditions than a not so healthy cat. However, since Mikey was in the palm tree for close to two weeks, it seems safe to say that he managed to get some kind of nutritional intake while he was stuck there. The people on the ground didn’t have a very good view of what was going on, but Lopez has joked about the cat eating his way through whatever might have been sharing the environment with him, which seems pretty likely under the circumstances.
As for Mikey surviving the 90-foot fall with what seemed like minimal effect on his health, it is important to note that cats are pretty much arboreal animals. After all, cats are smaller than a lot of the other predators that can be found out there, meaning that the ability to climb trees was a great way for their ancestors to protect themselves from other animals while gaining access to additional food options in the process. However, arboreal animals are still capable of falling for various reasons, with potential examples ranging from a missed landing to a branch that breaks beneath their weight. As a result, such species have adaptations that are meant to help them survive such incidents, with the cat being no exception to this rule.
For instance, cats have a high surface area relative to their weight, meaning that they fall at a slower rate than bigger animals. Furthermore, cats have long, muscular legs that aren’t extended downwards in the same manner as human legs but are instead angled beneath them. Due to this, when they land, the force isn’t concentrated in their bones but instead spreads out to their joints as well, thus reducing the chance of shattered bones. On top of this, it should be mentioned that cats have an excellent sense for up and down, which can prompt them to move into a position with better chances of survival when it seems that they will be landing at an awkward angle. For short distances, this means putting themselves in a position to land on their feet. However, when cats are going through a long fall, they will spread out their legs for the purpose of slowing themselves down via increased drag resistance rather than risk everything on their legs.
Suffice to say that the landing isn’t pleasant, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that cats are quite good at surviving falls of great distances. After all, while no scientist has ever gone about throwing cats from great heights before measuring their survival rates, Mikey is far, far from being the first cat to jump from a great height with relatively little impact on their health and their well-being.
What Can Cat Owners Do When Their Cat Gets Stuck in a High Location?
Cats getting stuck in high locations isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Apparently, while cat claws are optimized for climbing up, they aren’t quite as useful for climbing down. Something that explains much about some cats’ reluctance to get out of the trees in which they have gotten stuck, particularly if they are either young enough or inexperienced enough or both.
As for what cat owners should do if their cats have gotten stuck, there are various methods that can be tried out. For instance, there are some cats that will just climb down out of their own free will when they feel hungry enough. Furthermore, there are plenty of stories about cat owners seeking to lure down their cats by offering whatever food that they enjoy. With that said, while media has convinced a lot of people to call the fire department, that might not be the best idea. Instead, interested individuals should contact local animal control, who tend to be the ones with the right expertise, experience, and other resources needed to help out with such situations. However, this isn’t necessarily always true, meaning that cat owners might want to look up which of their local authorities is responsible for such matters beforehand to boost their preparedness.