There have been instances where cats fall from more than 30 stories high, yet escape alive! The record was a cat which fell 32 floors, yet only suffered only slight damage to its body and lost a tooth. How was this possible? Logically speaking, even if a cat could right itself during a fall, how could it cushion such a huge impact? I would like to know why this happens.
Here is the cat righting reflex
In addition to the righting reflex, cats have other features that reduce damage from a fall. Their small size, light bone structure, and thick fur decrease their terminal velocity. While falling, a cat spreads out its body to increase drag. An average-sized cat with its limbs extended achieves a terminal velocity of about 60 mph (97 km/h), while an average-sized man reaches a terminal velocity of about 120 mph (190 km/h). A 2003 study of feline high-rise syndrome found that cats 'orient [their] limbs horizontally after achieving maximum velocity so that the impact is more evenly distributed throughout the body. The study authors speculated that after falling five stories the cats reached terminal velocity and thereafter relaxed and spread their bodies to increase drag.
With their righting reflex, cats often land uninjured. However, this is not always the case, since cats can still break bones or die from extreme falls. In a 1987 study, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, of 132 cats that were brought into the New York Animal Medical Center after having fallen from buildings, it was found that the injuries per cat increased depending on the height fallen up to seven stories, but decreased above seven stories.
The study was critiqued that dead cats are not brought to the vets, so the statistics is not reliable. It is about surviving cats from falls. Still that was a very lucky cat, but its velocity was not higher than falling from a 5th floor or so .