You are currently viewing How Far Can A Cat Fall Without Getting Hurt

How Far Can A Cat Fall Without Getting Hurt

Cats, those elegant and mysterious creatures, have long captivated and won the hearts of both animal lovers and enquiring minds.

Cats have an almost magical grace with quick movements and an amazing ability to land on their feet, especially when climbing.

However, have you ever considered how far a cat can fall without getting hurt?

Cats that are domesticated because mostly they are services animal cannot jump very much because they are afraid of them, unlike those that grow up in the wild they jump very high without any care.

The Myth of Cats Always Landing on Their Feet

How Far Can A Cat Fall Without Getting Hurt

Let’s dispel one of the longest-lasting misconceptions about our feline friends, the notion that cats always land on their feet, before we discover the mysteries of how far a cat can fall without getting wounded.

Although cats have a remarkable capacity to right themselves after falling, this is not a foolproof superpower.

This myth has been perpetuated for years due to the belief that cats are unstoppable acrobats who can effortlessly perform mid-air twists and land gracefully on their feet every time.

This idea is based on the extraordinary righting reflex of cats, a highly developed instinct for survival.

The Righting Reflex:

The righting reflex is an amazing instinct that cats have. A falling cat can quickly alter its body position mid-fall to ensure it lands on its feet, thanks to a sophisticated series of actions. The development of this response, entrenched in their DNA, usually starts around three weeks of age.

The righting reflex involves several steps:

  • Orientation: When a cat starts to fall, it quickly assesses its surroundings, determining which way is up and which is down.
  • Rotation: Next, the cat instinctively moves its body to align its feet down.
  • Alignment: As the cat nears its landing point, it spreads its legs to create maximum surface area and reduce the impact force upon landing.

While this reflex is impressive and often allows cats to escape injury in falls, it is not foolproof. Several factors can influence its effectiveness, and there are limits to how much a cat can adjust its position during a fall.

When Cats Don’t Land on Their Feet:

Despite their incredible agility, cats do not always land on their feet, especially in certain situations:

  • Insufficient Height: The righting reflex requires a minimum distance for a cat to execute its acrobatics fully. If a cat falls from a very low height, it may not have enough time to correct its position.
  • Surprise Falls: Cats need a moment to react and initiate the righting reflex. If they are taken by surprise or fall suddenly, they may not have time to adjust, increasing the risk of injury.
  • Impaired Reflex: Older cats or those with physical limitations may have a less effective righting reflex, making them more susceptible to injury in falls.
  • Obstacles: The cat may be unable to finish the required revolutions in time if there are obstructions in its path when it falls.
  • High-Speed Falls: A cat can reach “terminal velocity,” or the point at which it can no longer accelerate when it falls from a significant height. The cat can no longer easily change its stance at this point, which raises the risk of harm.

How Far Can A Cat Fall Without Getting Hurt

During a fall from a high place, a cat uses accurate balance and flexibility. This cat is known as the “righting reflex.” Most cats use a minimum height of about 90 cm ( 3.0 feet ) to fall.

The fact is that the higher the falls, the more likely the cats are to survive.

The BBC studied 132 cats in 1987; they all fell into a high-rise building and went to a city veterinary clinic. 90 % of the treated cats survived, and 37% needed emergency treatment.

Although cats fall more than 30 stories and survive, this survey is not extremely common.
The researcher said the cats may fall up to 20 floors or more than 200 feet, which is minimum injury and survival.

Falling in the House

Cats are unlikely to be hurt if they fall in the house, possibly from a refrigerator or counter. Monitor for any behavioral changes, breathing problems, or limping that might point to an injury.

Cats in the average home can leap roughly 8 feet. They shouldn’t sustain severe wounds if they fall from this height. After a fall, always watch your cat to see if they exhibit any unpleasant symptoms.

Dropping From a High Building:

Your cat and any other animal are always at risk from falls from tall buildings. However, cats have a better chance of surviving longer falls than shorter ones because they have more time to employ their righting reflex. The cat can unwind, expand its limbs, and prepare for impact.

The cat still risks suffering internal damage and shock even if it lands on its feet. Although they have a higher chance of surviving the fall, this does not guarantee that they will always emerge unscathed.

Jumping Off a Balcony:

Injury risk rises if a cat falls from a balcony on the second floor. Cats have reportedly fallen from higher altitudes and survived without suffering life-threatening injuries, though. The cat fell 20 floors in its 16th year without breaking any bones. Despite being unconscious, he lived. Stories like this don’t guarantee every cat will have the same luck.

Terminal Velocity: How High Can Cats Fall Safely?

How Far Can A Cat Fall Without Getting Hurt

As we continue our investigation into feline physics, terminal velocity is crucial when discussing how far a cat may fall without getting damaged.

Knowing this idea will help you gain important insights into how far a cat can survive after leaping from a height.

Defining Terminal Velocity:

An object’s terminal velocity is the maximum speed it may travel in free fall when the resistance of the air around it balances out the downward force of gravity. This implies that cats eventually reach a speed during a fall at which they cannot accelerate.

Factors Affecting Terminal Velocity for Cats:

Several factors influence a cat’s terminal velocity during a fall:

  • Body Position: A falling cat instinctively spreads its body to increase air resistance, which helps slow its descent. The more a cat can splay its legs and extend its body, the more effective this “parachute effect” becomes.
  • Air Density: Another factor is the air’s density. Terminal velocity is reached slower at higher altitudes because the air is less dense. In contrast, terminal velocity is faster at lower altitudes when the air is thicker.
  • Cat’s Weight: Heavier cats will reach their terminal velocity faster than lighter cats, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are more likely to be injured upon impact. Their mass may help distribute the force of impact more evenly.

The Myth of the Cat’s Righting Reflex and Terminal Velocity:

It’s crucial to remember that the cat’s renowned righting reflex, which enables it to turn and land on its feet, works best within a specific range of falling heights.

The capacity to change its position as a cat falls from a higher height and achieves terminal velocity decreases. The cat may not be able to fully correct its posture before impact at this phase because the righting reflex is less effective.

This phenomenon raises an interesting question: how high can a cat fall and survive? Studies and experiments have attempted to answer this question, shedding light on the remarkable resilience of these agile creatures.

Measuring Terminal Velocity and Safe Falling Heights for Cats:

Researchers and veterinarians have experimented to determine the heights from which cats can fall and still have a fair chance of surviving, as well as the terminal velocity of cats.

Cats may frequently survive from heights of up to five floors, or about 60 feet, according to a generally cited statistic from these experiments, producing various outcomes.

Tips for Cat Owners

Our primary duty as responsible pet owners and cat lovers is to ensure our feline pals are safe and healthy. Even though cats are renowned for their versatility and agility, mishaps can sometimes occur, particularly when falling from heights.

Here are some vital advice and suggestions to assist you in protecting your cat from dangerous falls:

1. Secure Windows and Balconies:

  • Install sturdy screens or safety nets on windows and balconies to prevent your cat from slipping or jumping off.
  • Ensure all openings are securely fastened, as cats can find weak spots.

2. Supervise High Places:

  • When your cat is up high, as on a window sill or a raised platform, keep a watchful check on them.
  • Be particularly vigilant if you live in a multi-story building.

3. Provide Safe Alternatives:

  • Offer your cat plenty of opportunities for vertical exploration within your home. Provide cat trees, shelves, and perches to satisfy their climbing instincts.
  • Creating a stimulating indoor environment can reduce your cat’s desire to venture into potentially dangerous high places.

4. Use Window Guards:

  • Consider using window guards specifically designed for cats. These provide a secure enclosure while allowing your cat to enjoy the view.

5. Keep Balcony Doors Closed:

  • If you have a balcony, ensure that balcony doors are kept closed when you’re not present to supervise your cat.
  • Cats can easily slip through small openings and become trapped on a ledge.

By following these tips and creating a safe indoor environment, you can significantly reduce the risk of your cat experiencing a fall from a height.


In conclusion, while cats are resilient and possess extraordinary survival instincts, they are not immune to accidents, especially from significant heights.

By taking proactive measures and creating a safe space for our cats, we can reduce the risk of falls and ensure that our beloved feline friends live long, happy, and injury-free lives.

Remember, responsible pet ownership begins with understanding and addressing the potential dangers our pets may face.


Do cats get hurt by falling?

Cats can get hurt when they fall, even though they typically land on their feet. Prepared cat owners should know the issues that can arise when a kitty falls. Felines who fall may sustain sprains, broken bones, head trauma, and chest or stomach injuries.

At what height do cats take fall damage?

Between Five and Nine Stories
The strange thing is that cats can survive falls from extremely high floors. According to a RadioLab episode, cats who fall between five and nine stories are the most likely to sustain injuries.

How fair can a cat fall and still live?

There are situations where cats have survived after falling from skyscrapers in New York that are 32 stories high. But coming out unhurt is hardly a given. An investigation published in the Journal Of The American Veterinary Medical Association in 1987 focused on 132 cats who had survived falls of an average of 5.5 stories.

Leave a Reply