“Parachuting” cats

British anthrozoologist John Bradshaw in his 2014 feline science book Cat Sense reports how cats can survive falls from tall buildings and trees by performing an intricate midair ballet. Their “gravity-detecting” bio systems cause the forelegs and hind legs to rotate to point downward as they fall.

Then “…forming a ‘parachute’ by spreading all four legs out sideways, before adopting the landing position at the last minute. Laboratory simulations suggest that this limits the falling speed to a maximum of fifty-three miles per hour. This tactic apparently allows some cats to survive falls from high buildings with only minor injuries.”

Some cats also counter-rotate their tails fast, like a helicoptor, to stabilize their fall “…while the back is arched to cushion the landing.” Pretty clever, those cats.

2 responses to ““Parachuting” cats

  1. We had that deaf Persian many years ago. His habit was to walk on the laundry drying lines outside the window (approximately 6 floors up). Eventually he slipped. There were no broken bones, but he pissed blood for a few days, and after the eventual recovery he was never the same. Still survived…

  2. Wow. Good thing we live on the ground.