How this cat survived a 32-story fall

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: 32 stories above the streets of New York City, a cat fell from a window and lived. After vets treated the cat’s chipped tooth and collapsed lungs, the feline was sent home two days later.

Cats fall a lot, and they’ve gotten really good at it. Drop a cat upside down, for example, and it will almost always land on its feet. That’s because cats are extremely flexible. They can twist their bodies mid-air as they fall.

But landing feet first isn’t always the best strategy. Like if you’re falling from 32 stories up. To figure out how cats manage that perfect landing every time, a series of studies looked at over a 100 cats’ falls from two to 32 stories up.

Comes as no surprise that cats who fell from the second floor had fewer injuries than cats who fell from the sixth floor. But here is the fascinating part. Above the seventh story, the extent of the injuries largely stayed the same, no matter how high the cats fell. So, how is that possible?

Well, it all comes down to acrobatics or lack thereof. Cats that fell from two to seven stories up mostly landed feet first. Above that, however, cats used a different technique. Instead of positioning their legs straight down as they fell, they splayed out like a parachuter. And landed belly-first instead.

But this method isn’t 100% foolproof. Chest trauma, like a collapsed lung, or broken rib is more common with this landing method. But the risk of breaking a leg is much less. So, how do cats somehow subconsciously know how to land?

It has to do with a physics phenomenon called terminal velocity. At first, the cat plummets faster and faster under gravity until she’s fallen the equivalent of five stories. At that point, she hits constant terminal velocity at 100 kilometers per hour. She’s now in free fall where air friction counteracts her acceleration under gravity. At this point, she’s no longer accelerating and, more importantly, doesn’t feel the pull from gravity.

So, here’s what researchers think is happening. From two to seven stories up, cats don’t have enough time to reach terminal velocity and prep for landing feet first. But once they hit terminal velocity, their instinct changes and they parachute their limbs.

All that said, don’t throw your cat out of a window. I can’t believe I have to say this. Not only is it still very dangerous, it’s not very polite. Don’t throw your cat out the window just to see all that go down. Just watch this video again. Just hit the little replay button.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in October 2018.

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White House says Biden is ‘doing 100% fine’ after he tripped on the stairs of Air Force One

biden af1 fall
President Joe Biden trips while boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on March 19, 2021.

  • President Joe Biden is “doing 100% fine” after taking a spill on his way up to Air Force One.
  • “It’s very windy. I almost fell coming up the steps myself,” Biden’s deputy press secretary said.
  • The fall “did not even require any attention from the medical team,” the WH communications director said.
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Despite slipping twice and taking a tumble on his way up the stairs to Air Force One, White House communications officials said President Joe Biden emerged unharmed.

“It’s pretty windy outside,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters riding along with Biden to his event at the CDC in Georgia. “It’s very windy. I almost fell coming up the steps myself. He is doing 100% fine.”

Biden slipped on his walk up the steps, then stumbled again when recovering from the initial slip. Shortly afterwards, he found himself on the stairs before getting up to deliver his typical salute upon entering the plane.

While other presidents have had stumbles on the same set of stairs, Biden’s age and history of foot injuries led the traveling press pool to ask questions about the incident.

White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield tweeted that she was “happy to report that he is just fine and did not even require any attention from the medical team who travels with him. Nothing more than a misstep on the stairs.”

Jean-Pierre was asked by a reporter aboard Air Force One if Biden’s fall had anything to do with when he fractured his foot while playing with one of his dogs, Major, but she did not answer, according to the pool report.

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