A white cat named Sugar fell 19 stories off a Boston building from her owner’s window and survived without breaking a bone. It was estimated the length of the fall was 150-200 feet. The only injuries were lung bruisings.
One potential explanation for these incidents where a cat survives a very long fall is that they orient themselves in the air with legs spread out which slows down their rate of falling. Their body position in the air has been likened to the shape of a parachute because they also arch their backs, and they land on their feet. Some research has shown longer falls could have a better survival rate, because it gives cats the chance to assume the body position which is favorable. It has been said to resemble a flying squirrel position, when they are gliding.
A neighbor saw Sugar fly past a window and wondered what she had seen. She ran to the window and then called animal rescue. Sugar’s owner was at work and had left a window cracked open because it was a warm day. Her cat was identified by an implanted microchip after the fall, by the rescue workers. Apparently she landed on grass and mulch. “High rise syndrome” is one name given to the phenomenon of cats falling out of tall buildings.
This video explains how cats fall and that they adapted to do so in nature, because they are very able climbers and had to be able to survive falls from trees.
Note: the cat pictured above is not Sugar.