HOW FAR CAN A CAT FALL WITH­OUT BE­ING IN­JURED?

iD magazine - - Questions& Answers -

The high­est fall ever sur­vived by a cat (vir­tu­ally un­harmed) was from the 32nd floor of a build­ing— more than 325 feet. But how is that pos­si­ble? If a cat falls from a height with its back fac­ing the ground, it can turn it­self around within just a few yards. For this the cat uses an in­ge­nious trick: As soon as it falls it stretches its hind legs out as far as it can and draws its front paws close to its body. Then it re­peats the ma­neu­ver in an­other or­der: It stretches out its front legs and draws its hind legs in— ro­tat­ing the rest of its body in the pro­cess. To en­sure a safe land­ing the cat ends by hunch­ing its spine and ex­tend­ing all four legs. This tech­nique cush­ions the im­pact sim­i­lar to how a shock ab­sorber ab­sorbs ex­cess en­ergy from the springs of a car. The fall­ing fe­line prac­ti­cally sails down to the ground. A kit­ten ex­hibits this right­ing re­flex as early as three weeks of age, and by its 39th day of life it will have man­aged to con­trol it.

HOW FAST DOES A CAT FALL? The ter­mi­nal ve­loc­ity of a fall­ing cat is 60 mph.

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