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Kitten: I fell 13 stories and lived, please take this thing off my neck

Brennan knows he did something foolish, but isn't sure why he has to be punished with this dumb bonnet.

Brennan knows he did something foolish, but isn't sure why he has to be punished with this dumb bonnet.

A Minneapolis kitten is very lucky, very tough, or some combination of both. Brennan, a seven-month-old kitty, was messing around with a window and screen in his apartment one recent Friday night.

His owner, John Knuf, an investment analyst who works in Edina, had run out to go grocery shopping, and had unwittingly left one of the windows cracked. Brennan investigated, as a kitten will. But despite his having surely taken in and appreciated the view, Brennan had evidently forgotten that he and John lived on the 17th floor of a high-rise apartment. When he found or forced a way through the screen, Brennan fell out, plummeting more than 100 feet before smashing onto a fourth-floor landing.

A fall of that distance is a death sentence for most people — most mammals, really — and Brennan's owner assumed that when he came home and saw his kitten lying motionless some 13 floors below him.

"It hit me hard when I saw him," Knuf said. "He's my little man."

Knuf raced down the stairs and climbed out onto a fifth-floor ledge. When he reached his kitty and scooped him up, Brennan started crying. He was alive. 

The astonishing tale of Brennan, the unbreakable kitty, was made public late last week by BluePearl Veterinary Partners, the Eden Prairie animal hospital that treated Brennan for his injuries. Said injuries are shockingly minor, given what he'd gone through: Brennan dislocated a hip, broke a shoulder, and... that's it. After a surgery on Wednesday last week, Brennan is said to be "doing great," according to surgeon Andrew Jackson.

Don't tell Brennan someone shaved off his leg hair.

Don't tell Brennan someone shaved off his leg hair.

As it turns out, Brennan might have been saved by the enormous height from which he'd plummeted. If a cat falls from between two and seven stories (at least 20 to 70 feet), they often sustain greater injuries than a slightly bigger fall. After a bit, a falling feline stops accelerating and "no longer senses they are falling," BluePearl explains. They chill out, probably wondering why objects have become a bit blurry along the vertical axis.

With relaxed muscles, the kitties have a better chance of surviving the impact once they reach the ground — or fourth-story landing, in this case. (Note: We do not advise you test this phenomenon by tossing cats off of taller and taller structures. Leave them on the couch.) 

Even with some physical explanation, Brennan's fairly minor injuries and quick recovery got him labeled a "little miracle" by Julie Syverson, another vet surgeon.

"He's acting like nothing happened to him," Syverson says.