The mechanics of a cat landing from a drop

Cats have a remarkable ability to survive drops from great heights. This ability is examined by considering the aerodynamics of the cat during a drop, and by examining the mechanics of the landing. For the landing the spring-like properties of the cat’s legs and the compliance of the landing surface are all modelled. The analysis shows that a combination of the reduction of landing velocity due to aerodynamics, the spring like properties of the cat’s legs, and the relationship between cat mass and bone diameter give cat’s the ability to survive drops from great heights. The analysis highlights how simple models exploiting mechanical principles can explain the survivability of falling cats.

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Work Title The mechanics of a cat landing from a drop
Access
Open Access
Creators
  1. John Henry Challis
Keyword
  1. Aerodynamics
  2. Spring stiffness
  3. Critical damping
  4. Geometric scaling
License CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike)
Work Type Article
Publisher
  1. European Journal of Physics
Publication Date October 28, 2022
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6404/ac9764
Deposited April 18, 2023

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Version 1
published

  • Created
  • Updated
  • Added Creator John Henry Challis
  • Added Challis_CatLanding_EuropeanJournalOfPhysics.pdf
  • Updated Description, Publication Date, License Show Changes
    Description
    • Cats have a remarkable ability to survive drops from great heights. This ability is examined by considering the aerodynamics of the cat during a drop, and by examining the mechanics of the landing. For the landing the spring-like properties of the cat’s legs and the compliance of the landing surface are all modelled. The analysis shows that a combination of the reduction of landing velocity due to aerodynamics, the spring like properties of the cat’s legs, and the relationship between cat mass and bone diameter give cat’s the ability to survive drops from great heights. The analysis highlights how simple models exploiting mechanical principles can explain the survivability of falling cats.
    Publication Date
    • 2023
    License
    • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
  • Published
  • Updated Publisher, Publisher Identifier (DOI), Publication Date Show Changes
    Publisher
    • European Journal of Physics
    Publisher Identifier (DOI)
    • doi.org/10.1088/1361-6404/ac9764
    Publication Date
    • 2023
    • 2022-10-28
  • Updated Keyword Show Changes
    Keyword
    • Aerodynamics, Spring stiffness, Critical damping, Geometric scaling
  • Updated Publisher Identifier (DOI) Show Changes
    Publisher Identifier (DOI)
    • doi.org/10.1088/1361-6404/ac9764
    • https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6404/ac9764