Cleo the cat survives 17-storey jump

A New West man’s worst nightmare came true as he watched his cat Cleo leap off the balcony of his 17th floor apartment.

Cleo, Joel Isfeld’s eighth-month-old savannah cat, managed to sneak on to the balcony of his Plaza 88 apartment on Sunday night. In a matter of minutes, Cleo was on the railing, and before Isfeld could react, he watched his cat jump right off.

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“It was very traumatic,” he told The Record Tuesday afternoon. “I was frantically searching and looking below to see if the cat was splattered all over the bottom.”

Isfeld didn’t see Cleo below so he set out in search of his beloved feline, whom he’d brought home only six months earlier. He searched the SkyTrain platform and overhang below, in case she’d landed or fallen there, but Cleo was nowhere to be found so Isfeld continued his search.

“I figured maybe she somehow recovered from the fall and got onto one of the neighbours' balconies, or one of the ledges of the building below,” he said.

The building’s security guard let Isfeld on every floor of the building to ask other residents if they’d seen his cat.

“I got them all to search their balconies, to no avail,” he said.

On Monday, when Cleo still hadn’t turned up, Isfeld, who had stayed home from work to continue his search, grabbed a pair of binoculars and headed across the street to the Inn at the Quay to see if he could spot her from there – no dice, the cat was gone.

But Isfeld wouldn’t give up. He said he went “wild” trying to find Cleo, posting on Facebook, talking to his neighbours, calling the SPCA and even considering hiring a pet search company that uses blood hounds to find missing animals.

After exhausting nearly all avenues, Isfeld got a phone call from the building's security guard around 10 p.m. on Monday night – Cleo had been found.

“She had somehow made her way over to the adjoining building’s courtyard area and she was found on the ninth floor,” Isfeld said. “Somehow she had landed the fall and made it over to the adjoining courtyard garden area.”

Other than being a little shaken up with a wee scratch on her nose, Cleo was completly unscathed, a “kitty miracle” if you ask Isfeld.

“Being in an apartment building you always think, ‘OK, the last thing I want is for my cat to fall off the balcony.’ It was my worst nightmare coming to fruition in front of my eyes,” he said. “It was really, really terrible and shocking.”

Two days after the traumatic event, Isfeld is still in shock. He has a second cat that has never attempted anything as adventurous as this and figures it must be Cleo’s age or breed that sparked the jump.

“I was in total shock and disbelief because I’ve always been very careful with her because, being a savannah cat, she’s a little bit more wild than most domestic cats. She’s very high energy and she’s still a baby kitten as well,” he said.

From now on, Isfeld said the balcony door will remain closed.

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