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# What is the force of impact when cats land on their feet?

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What is the force of impact when cats land on their feet?

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As the formulas Roger supplies indicate, the force would depend on how fast the cat was moving when it landed, and the mass of the cat. The velocity of the cat depends a lot on how high the cat was when falling – acceleration due to gravity is the main driver behind this speed. The ability of a cat to fall from seemingly impossible heights unharmed has to do with a lot of factors besides just force of impact. During falling, the cat will whip its head around to orient to the ground, and then whip its body around to match that orientation. The agility and flexibility of the cat’s spine helps here. Cats have a lot more lumbar vertebrae (the vertebrae in the lower back) than we do, and so are much more able to move their body into position than we would in the same circumstance. While falling, the cat spreads its legs and tail out, and puffs out its fur. This acts as a parachute, slowing the cat’s descent speed (and possibly even helping it maneuver towards a softer landing spot).

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As the formulas Roger supplies indicate, the force would depend on how fast the cat was moving when it landed, and the mass of the cat. The velocity of the cat depends a lot on how high the cat was when falling – acceleration due to gravity is the main driver behind this speed. The ability of a cat to fall from seemingly impossible heights unharmed has to do with a lot of factors besides just force of impact. During falling, the cat will whip its head around to orient to the ground, and then whip its body around to match that orientation. The agility and flexibility of the cat’s spine helps here. Cats have a lot more lumbar vertebrae (the vertebrae in the lower back) than we do, and so are much more able to move their body into position than we would in the same circumstance. While falling, the cat spreads its legs and tail out, and puffs out its fur. This acts as a parachute, slowing the cat’s descent speed (and possibly even helping it maneuver towards a softer landing spot). While t