Whitney & Melhaff's Study
Cats' apparent fearlessness concerning heights leads to many accidental falls. In fact so many cats are brought to veterinarians for treatment after a fall, that in 1976 Dr. Gordon Robinson coined the term feline high-rise syndrome to describe the resulting pattern of injuries. Eleven years later Drs. Wayne Whitney and Cheryl Mehlhaff at the Animal Medical Center in Manhattan conducted a study over a five month period on cats brought in for treatment after a fall. They compiled a database of 115 cats who fell a range of two to thirty-two stories, primarily ending their falls on concrete pavement. The mean fall was 5.5 stories. Three of the cats were dead upon arrival and 8 more died in the next twenty-four hours, leaving 104 living cats or about 90%. This is a remarkable statistic.
When the height the cats fell is taken into account, it is found that only 5% of the cats who fell seven ...
... middle of paper ...
... a small amount of mass, but also their ability comes from their flying squirrel (relaxed) posture upon reaching terminal velocity and from their superb inner gyroscope.
* Diamond, Jared. "How Cats Survive Falls from New York Skyscapers," Natural History 20-26; August 1989.
* Diamod, Jared. "Why cats have nine lives," Nature 332, 586-587; April 14, 1988.
* Fredrickson, J. E. "The tail-less cat in free-fall," The Physics Teacher. 27, 620-625; November 1989.
* Halliday, David, Robert Resnick and Jearl Walker. Fundamentals of Physics, 5th ed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1997.
* Mehlhaff, Cheryl and Wayne Whitney. "High-rise syndrome in cats," J. Amer. Vet. Med. Assoc. 191, 1399-1403;1987.
* "Terminal Velocity," Discover 9,10; August 1988.
* Von Baeyer, Hans Christian. "Swing Shift," The Sciences 30, 2-4; May/June 1990.
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