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Falling Cats

Falling Cats

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Published by Jared Friedman
About why cats don't die when they fall.
About why cats don't die when they fall.

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Published by: Jared Friedman on Oct 20, 2006
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/06/2013

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 Nine Lives?“Feline pesematology.” Not exactly a common term, feline pesematology is the name given to the relatively obscure study of thescience of falling cats. Believe it or not, due to the large number of catsinjured by falls, there has been enough interest in this field to spark a fair amount of research. It is not uncommon for serious studies on absurdlyinconsequential matters such as falling cats to attract some attention fromthe scientific community, but one in particular has created a rather extraordinary level of interest not only for its subject matter but for itsseemingly impossible conclusion.The famous (or infamous) study was conducted by two scientists atthe Animal Medical Center in Manhattan who examined the survival rates osome 115 previously airborne cats as a function of the number of storiesfrom which they fell. The cats fell from New York apartments at heights of 2 to 32 stories onto concrete pavement. The first result was interesting if notreally unexpected: cats are very good at surviving long falls. In fact, morethan 90% of the cats survived their brief flight. The second result was whatturned heads. When the height each cat fell was taken into account, it wasfound that only about 5% of the cats who fell 7 to 32 stories died, whileabout 10% of the cats who fell from 2 to 6 stories died. Now, in the interestsof scientific accuracy, it must be noted that the sample size for thisexperiment was not really large enough to firmly establish this seemingly paradoxical effect, but the authors of the study did propose a viableexplanation.All falling objects (including cats) will accelerate only up to a particular speed, called the terminal velocity, at which point air resistance becomes strong enough to counter-balance gravity. For a human, terminalvelocity is about 130 mph, but for a small furry cat, it is at most 60 mph andis reached after about five stories of free-fall. Now, the well-knownsensation of falling, for humans as well as cats, is caused only by

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Meow, I could while away the hours, sleepin' with Mama's flowers, and yet, I'm torn apart. Just because I'm presumin' that I could be kind-a-human, if I only had thumbs. If I had thumbs - I'd be genius and really ingenious regarding grip and clutch. I'd be dandy with the grasp, and groovy with the clasp. If I only had thumbs, I could show my real prowess. I'm afraid there's no denyin' and I a
Agnes Miles added this note
You have an acerbic wit. I like it.
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