Curious George

A fountain of material and immaterial information - Things that I spend my days wondering about... and perhaps you have been too? Check out for more curious questions (and answers to them)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Invinvible cats

For those of us who like cats, we are of course mostly fascinated by their ability to scratch and kill at their will.
Yet their most impressive skill they keep secret from us (until we fling them out of an aeroplane)

Cats always land on their feet, and they survive pretty much no matter how far they fall (assuming they donĀ“t die from asphyxiation - or in other words: Suffocate)

Discovery channel has a special on this, and it turns out that cats can fall as far as they want and still survive the fall (assuming they dont land on a rubble of cut glass, a pointy sword, a church spire or the likes...).
Once they get their bearings they use their body as a parachute. There have been registered incidents of cats falling 20 stories or more without coming to harm.

No way right?! Way!!

A 1987 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association study, examined 132 cases of cats that had fallen out of high-rise buildings. Average fall was 5.5 stories, and 90% survived (though in truth many did suffer serious injuries).
But here comes the real rub. Turns out the broken bones and damages ratio went up and up once you got the 7th floor. After that, the injury rate actually declined sharply!!
So the higher the fall, the better the chances of walking away clean.

When you combine this with retractable claws.... come one! Who cant think cats are cool?!

My disclosure is as follows; I think cats are cool, so I might give them a bit more credit than they deserve. This study for example does not really go into detail about the potential of alot more cats dying and having gone straight into the dumpster. It doesnt quite discount the fact of higher survival rate above 7th floor, but it does leave the study open to discussion.


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