Wednesday 1 July 2009

Fall injuries incurred because of cats

There are some interesting statistics on the subject of fall injuries incurred because of cats that are published by on the website. They naturally tell us a lot about us more than they do about our cats. They relate to the USA.

This is what I gleaned from the data and which is of interest to me and I hope people who keep and live with cats:

In 2006 in the USA dogs out numbered cats 43m to 37.5m. And in well over half of these households (64% in fact) there was more than one pet. The data collected indicate that cats and dogs present a “fall hazard”. I can understand that and it could be argued that we don’t need nationwide statistics to tell us that. A stray that I feed always gets under my feet because he is so pleased to see me (as he knows he’ll get food). He walks right in front of me and stops regularly. A sure fire way of causing a trip up!

In the USA, in 2006, 1% of 8m fall injuries, treated in hospital emergency departments, were caused by pets. The data will underestimate the true number as some accidents go unreported and some are treated in GP surgeries. Of these falls the majority happened when walking a dog (very few cats get walked!) and chasing cats or dogs (I suspect this relates more to cats though). The research indicated that proactive, preventative measures should be taken (don’t chase a cat for starters).

As expected the highest number of injuries occurred in relation to older people who also are more likely to keep (and a better equipped to keep) companion animals. They are also more likely to break something when they fall.

Other interesting information (which was admitted to be incomplete) is as follows:

Dogs are more likely to be involved in a person falling than cats (71.5 thousand to 9.7 thousand, a significant difference).

As to people, females are more likely to fall and be injured (68.7% females to 31.3% males – also a large difference). This would imply to me that women are walking their dog and falling over (rarely of course but those would seem to be the circumstances under which most accidents of this nature occurred).

As to people, the age group under which most accidents happened was the young (0-14) followed closely by 45-54.

The most common injury was the fracture at about 31% of all injuries followed by abrasions at 26%.

The area of the person’s body most injured was the arm or hand (27%) followed by the head and neck (23%).

Most accidents happened at home (by far, at 86%) .

And most accidents occurred when people chased a pet (11.7%) when they fell over the animal (66%).

If a conclusion can be drawn it is that people (mainly but only just, children) are recklessly (!) chasing their companion animal around the house and falling over causing a broken bone in their hand or arm.

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