Me-OW! Cat Survives 26-Story Plunge

06/02/2009 at 03:00 PM EDT

Me-OW! Cat Survives 26-Story Plunge
ABC News
A curious cat named Lucky certainly lived up to his name after falling 26 stories from a New York City apartment last month. It all happened after the little guy's owner, Keri Hostetler, was cleaning her lower Manhattan apartment, and cracked a window in her home office to air it out. When she went looking for Lucky – a 3-year-old gray-and-black-striped male – a short time later, she found her home-office door ajar, the window wide open – and window washers across the street waving wildly to her. "I ran around the apartment screaming for him," Hostetler told Good Morning America recently. "And then I saw the window and I knew what had happened."

As it turned out, Lucky had walked out of the window, possibly expecting to climb onto a ledge, and instead plummeted 26 stories to a sixth-floor balcony below. The window washers across the street saw the amazing incident happen, and worker John Hayes captured the entire experience on camera in three photos: Lucky stepping out of the window, his fall and his landing. Hayes helped guide Hostetler to where he believed he saw Lucky land, and discovered him curled up on the cover of a barbeque grill.

Lucky was rushed to a veterinary hospital, where he was treated for–amazingly–just a broken toe and a broken lower jaw. "That's the miraculous thing about Lucky," Hostetler said. "He has been [lucky] since we got him."

What's the moral of the story? Hostetler recommends that all pet owners -- especially those living in tall buildings–invest in screens to protect their pets. Learn more about the dangers open windows pose to cats–which the ASPCA dubs "High-Rise Syndrome"–here.

More amazing stories on PEOPLE Pets:
Iowa Dog Who Saved Farmer Enters Hall of Fame
Itsy Bitsy Could Be the Smallest Cat in the World

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