Feline’s Fifth Floor Fall Results in Birthday “Cat-astrophe”

Four years ago, Bianca Sonnino of Miami Beach, Florida, adopted a calm, gray kitten named Zoe. Bianca and Zoe have been inseparable ever since and created countless lifelong memories. However, one recent memory they’d rather forget is when Zoe fell off a five-story balcony on Bianca’s birthday, landing the Maine coon in the emergency veterinary hospital. Zoe’s balcony escapade has earned her the title of the November “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance.

While living in her native Italy, Bianca met Zoe when she was just 4 months old. Bianca could tell Zoe was a perfect mix of kind and beautiful, and knew she needed to be part of the family. The duo lived in Italy for a couple of years before starting a new chapter in their lives and relocating to Florida in support of Bianca’s fiancé’s career.

They made the 11-hour flight to Miami with no complications other than a troubled leg for Zoe. Prior to their big move, Zoe had knee surgery that left her with a limp.

Zoe adapted well to her new environment and continued to live a normal life, spending lots of time in the family’s fifth floor condo while occasionally enjoying play time on their new balcony. Because of Zoe’s bad leg, Bianca always made sure to watch closely when she played outside.

The day of the plummet is a day that Bianca will forever remember as the birthday “cat-astrophe.” After having a peaceful day at home, Bianca let Zoe onto the patio for fresh air.

“Zoe had been outside already for a few minutes. When I looked over to the patio I saw her and everything looked fine,” said Bianca. “The next time I looked over, there was no sign of Zoe. I immediately ran outside to look around for her and that’s when I could hear her meowing from the garden outside of our balcony. I was in such disbelief.”

Externally, Zoe looked fine but Bianca knew that with such a high fall, she could have internal injuries. Being late on a Friday night, Bianca rushed Zoe to Knowles Central 24 Hour Animal Clinic of Miami, where they swiftly stabilized her, identified her injuries and managed her pain. Multiple radiographs revealed that Zoe was in far worse condition than she appeared. The frazzled cat had three fractured ribs, pulmonary contusions and multiple luxations.

“The fall happened on Friday night and by Monday there were more unidentified injuries that complicated her treatment plans,” said Bianca. “She was in a very fragile state and the veterinarians were not sure if she could handle surgery at the time. I decided I did not want to put her in anymore pain, so we would wait it out and see how she does.”

Zoe stayed in the hospital for several days until she was finally able to regain her strength to undergo surgery. Bianca remembers the phone call from the veterinarian giving her the unexpected news that somehow, her brave cat was miraculously alive and ready for surgery.

With multiple injuries to treat, the veterinarians decided to first address Zoe’s elbow luxation, followed by other separate reconstruction surgeries. After eventually being discharged from the hospital, Zoe continued treatment with multiple follow-up visits, as well as a visit to a veterinary cardiologist to evaluate a newly diagnosed heart murmur.

Zoe is now doing incredibly well after her near-death fall. She is still being treated for injuries sustained from the life-threatening accident, but her condition continues to improve each day. Bianca is appreciative of all the incredible care Zoe received from the amazing veterinary staff and for Dr. Dee and Dr. Budge, who performed Zoe’s surgeries. Being from Italy and not familiar with American veterinary practices, Bianca is very thankful that the staff took the time to explain everything to her.

“They were able to make the right choice in the right moment,” said Bianca. “Nationwide reimbursed me for my veterinary expenses very quickly. I recommend for pet owners to invest in pet insurance. Veterinary costs are very expensive, and when it comes to your pet you should not have to worry about cost to save their life.”


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