Clumsiness & Falling off Things

Splat Cat

Purred: Sun Mar 17, '13 7:17pm PST 
Are special kitties clumsier and do they fall off of things more often than other kitties?

If you've noticed your Special Kitty is klutzier than your other kitties, what factors do you think contribute to your kitty being klutzier?

Do you notice your Special Kitty compensating for his or her disabilities by being less active or by avoiding certain kinds of activities such as jumping, high climbing, etc?

In my own observations, Lefty who is blind in her left eye and partially blind in her right eye too, avoids doing things that demand a lot of coordination and precision. She only climbs up things that she can easily climb down from or that only requires a short distance jump to get back on the floor. She learns very fast. In only a week she's mastered climbing up on the perches of the new cat tree now. She's also mastered climbing back down the tree to the floor. Righty who has only partial vision in her right eye & a normal left eye, is as coordinated as any other cat. When I lived on a farm, one cat I had who was blind as a result of corneal scarring due to herpes virus in kittenhood, was an outdoor cat (although all the outdoor/barn cats stayed safely in the basement at night) and he was able to find his way all over the farm. The other blind cat I had became blind as a resut of a stroke in old age. After she became blind, she tended to stay mostly in only one room of the house & would only climb up or jump down from short distances.

I've been surprised to discover that Uno my one-eyed kitty is the fastest and most coordinated of all my cats. She's not the least bit klutzy. I sometimes wonder if her accuracy in pouncing on things etc comes from the fact that she's never known anything except being one-eyed. Her left eye had already been destroyed by a sharp object before she was even 4 weeks old.

The 3-legged cats & Tripod the 3-legged German Shepherd Dog I had in the past all were well coordinated & could easily keep up with their 4-legged playmates. Tripod was a breech puppy at birth, her mother was a first-timer & Tripod was the second puppy of the litter to be born (the first pup of the litter came in normal head first position). Tripod's mother reached around to either try to help pull the puppy out, clean the puppy, or attempt to chew the cord and she accidentally crunched her jaws right through Tripod's right rear leg leaving everything below the hock mangled and hanging by a thread of skin. I called the vet and Tripod was only a few hours old when her right rear leg was correctly amputated at mid-femur. Being a newborn, Tripod healed very rapidly. As an adult Tripod could go over a 6-foot high kennel run fence (something most of the 4-legged GSDs never even bothered to attempt doing!) and pull on a leash as powerfully as any normal 4-legged GSD could do. Tripod could also keep up with the normal 4-legged GSDs when they were playing running games together as a group. She was a very strong muscular dog.

Of the cats I have now, the two that are the most klutzy are Splat Cat and Velcro. I do believe that in Splat Cat's case, her klutziness is due at least in part to residual brain damage. I was acquainted with Splat Cat when she was adopted from an animal control kill shelter by my best friend & lived the life of a typical well-coordinated farm cat before she was hit by a vehicle. When Splat Cat goes to jump up on things, probably 1/4 to 1/3 of the time she will either only partly land where she intended to and slide off, or else she will miss the landing altogether. She sometimes scares me when she knocks things down during her klutz landings & I'll rush to check her to make sure she didn't hurt herself. Of course being a cat, she rushes equally quickly away to some obscure hiding place as soon as she sees me coming to check her!

As for Velcro, I don't know what his excuse for being klutzy is. He has no obvious disabilities. Velcro is very sweet natured. In some ways he's very smart-he comes like a dog when my son calls his name, he obeys a few other doggy commands, & shows his intelligence in some other ways. He's also the only cat I ever had so far, who actually enjoys swimming in the bathtub! However, he probably has the highest level of klutziness of all my cats. In some other ways he's not smart at all. He would never have survived as an outdoor cat, he's too trusting & sweet-natured.
Regarding Velcro's klutziness, at least 1/3 of the time his attempts at jumping up & down or at walking across things like my desk will result in a miss or in him knocking things down. Velcro also will go to sleep near the edge of the bed, couch, chair, etc, & its not uncommon at all for him to stretch or roll or change position & just fall right off the edge onto the floor.
Interestingly in addition to the laid-back gentle relaxed temperament typical of Maine Coons & Maine Coon mixes, he shows a behavior I've heard described many times in the Ragdoll cat but personally hadn't seen until I got Velcro. He has the "floppy cat" trait. Velcro does simply flop down totally relaxed when you hold him, when he's on your lap, or even when my son held him upside down to see if Velcro would stay "floppy cat relaxed" or not. Not only did Velcro hang upside down totally relaxed like a floppy cat, he was purring happily during the entire experiment. One drawback about a "floppy cat" though, when a big heavy cat goes limp in your lap & you need to move him, it's alot harder to move that cat OUT of your lap. I don"t know if this "floppy" trait is connected to Velcro's klutziness or not. I've never heard anybody say whether other cats who have the "floppy" trait (Ragdolls are a breed noted for this trait) are also klutzier than cats without the floppy cat trait or not.

So far, I find that what makes my cats most likely to be klutzy is NOT DISABILITY RELATED.

A cat who hears you coming & is worried about getting caught, scrambles wildly & often kicks backward as takes off like a "bat out of hell" to flee the scene of the crime. Quite frequently the fleeing feline felon brings down an assortment of objects (hopefully not breakable or spillable!) with him. One of the sounds around here that gets my attention most quickly is a loud thudding/crashing/breaking sound followed by the sound of galloping kitty hooves as the feline felon flees the scene of the crime and the sound of my galloping human hooves as I run to see what happened. Come to think of it though, what would get my attention most quickly by scaring me to death would be a loud thudding/crashing/breaking sound followed by SILENCE. At least the sound of the fleeing feline felons racing away from the scenes of their crimes do tell me that the little "criminals" are still alive and ok.