OCT 30, 2018 6:09 PM PDT

The Science Behind Cat Landings

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

You’ve undoubtedly heard the old wives’ tale that cats always land on four feet, and while they do most of the time, there’s a lot more to the story. In fact, scientists have discerned some rather captivating data by studying cat falls over the years.

Most cats don’t fall from that great of heights, but in cities, cats can get adventurous and climb buildings or escape from windows. In one instance, a cat dropped 32 stories and survived, but most cases involve between one and seven stories.

As it would seem, cats are more likely to land on their feet when dropping from heights between one and six stories in the air; any higher, and cats use a different technique: they sprawl their limbs outward like a parachute, landing flat on their chest rather than on four legs.

As you might come to expect, landing in this manner yields heart-wrenching injuries; some cats experience broken bones, collapsed lungs, or chipped teeth, but they survive nevertheless. In many cases, veterinarian care can bring them back up to speed.

One thing researchers noticed, however, was that bodily injuries progressively got worse when falling from one story, two stories, three stores, and so on. But while this seems like an obvious side-effect, researchers also discerned that injuries beyond a seven-story drop didn’t appear to worsen as height increased, such as in the case of the 32-foot drop.

Cats are incredible creatures, and their dexterity may help them survive many of the falls they endure. Still, it seems like we still have a lot to learn about how these survive such extreme falls.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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