Cat Survives 19-Story Fall by Gliding Like a Flying Squirrel

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They say cats have the ability to always land on their feet, and Sugar is proof.

The 1-year-old white cat plunged 19 floors after falling from the window of a high-rise building in Boston on Wednesday, landing in a small area of soft mulch and suffering only minor injuries.

A woman who lived on the building’s second floor said she saw a “white streak” fly by her window in the early afternoon. She glanced out and saw Sugar hitting the ground, bounce up and miraculously land on her feet. The woman called down to the lobby and the cat was recovered as it was running back toward the building’s entrance.

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Mike Brammer, assistant manager of the animal rescue services department at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the organization that took Sugar in after the fall, told MSNBC that the fact that Sugar landed in a tiny patch of mulch, which was surrounded by brick and concrete, was no coincidence. Brammer guessed that in addition to a little bit of luck, Sugar was able to aim her fall by becoming akin to a “flying squirrel.”

“You notice where their legs attach to the body, they have … the extra fur right there,” he told MSNBC. This helps because during a fall, “they’re able to glide a little bit and control … where they are going.”

Additionally, the height of Sugar’s dive might have worked in her favor. According to a 1987 study on the so-called High-Rise Syndrome, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats who fell from higher floors fared much better because they can spread themselves out like a parachute and slow the impact.

As for Sugar, after being treated for a minor scratch and some bruising on her lungs, she was reunited with her owner, Brittney Kirk, who was at work during her cat’s wild adventure. While she’s definitely is no worse for the wear, it’s likely that Sugar is now one life down, with eight to go.

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