Cat Fell out of Window, Still Has Eight Lives Left

Clara resting in one of her favorite poses -- on the bed where she belongs!

My landlord finally put screens in my windows yesterday, so I naturally had all of the windows open last night. For a year, the screens have been broken, so I was looking forward to taking advantage of a cool breeze and fresh air. I didn’t expect, though, to wake up at 5:15 a.m. to see my furry feline halfway up the second-story window, her claws dug into the screen — the outside of the screen, no less.

“Clara!” I said. “Get off of there!” Mind you, that may not have been the smartest advice I’ve ever given.


If only Clara’s claws were stronger.

If only the screens had been securer.

If only I had woken up before she managed to sneak out the window and up the screen.

I quickly shut the window, put in my contacts and rushed outside. “Clara!” I called out in a high-pitched voice. I felt like the mother rabbit in my favorite childrens’ book, “Runaway Bunny,” searching all around for my adventurous little one. Clara always comes when I call her. Not this time. After five minutes of calling and no response, I started to get teary-eyed.

It was dark and I didn’t have a flashlight, so I couldn’t see anything amidst the dog cage, the furniture and the lawn ornaments that cluttered the ground at the foot of the window. The screen laid on top of the dog cage, bent and broken.

Another creative pose.

“How could I have let her stay by the windows?” I thought, getting mad at myself. “And why did she have to be such a daredevil?”

I figured she had fallen, hurt herself and hidden somewhere to die.

The neighborhood cat, Skittles, approached me, as if to keep me company. But I didn’t want to see her. In that moment, second best wasn’t enough.

“Meowwww. Meowmeowmeowmeowwww.”

I knew it was Clara’s cry. I knelt down and saw two green eyes staring at me from underneath the house. “Clara, get over here,” I said, partly mad but mostly relieved. She decided to play hide and go seek. She’d come out for a minute, then run away when I tried to grab her. The only thing she would come out for was Skittles, who initially hissed at her but then kissed her to try and make it all better.

I ran upstairs to get food, thinking that would attract her, but had no such luck. (Of course, Skittles wanted some food, though.) The next time Clara came out to see Skittles, I grabbed onto her, swooped her into my arms and tried to not get scratched. She was not a happy kitty.

Clara sitting on the kitchen table shortly after the fall. Her eyes seem to say, "I'm sorry."

Clara’s currently strewn across the kitchen table, just barely keeping her eyes open. She knows she’s not allowed on the table, but I’m letting her rest there this morning. She’s had an eventful day so far, and being on the table is her way of letting me know she wants to be close to me. I can’t deny her of that closeness, especially not after this morning, when she seemed so far away.

Oh yes, and those windows? Unless the landlord secures them, they’ll be shut from now on. The fresh air was nice for a night, but Clara only has eight more lives to live. I don’t want to risk having  her lose another one.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

3 thoughts on “Cat Fell out of Window, Still Has Eight Lives Left

  1. Hi Mal,

    Whew!! You got me going there for a while, but I knew you would have called me if things hadn’t turned out as well.



  2. Mal, Thank God Clara is fine and safe. I know her love her so much! P.S. keep those windows shut.


  3. My 3 yr ole Abyssinian was put to sleep yesterday , Sept 2010 , after falling out a 7th floor window…
    I’m sick about it. Not sure if I can think about getting another cat. I’m sick about it. Twyla in Ca…

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