Cat Jumps From Burning Building, Miraculously Survives

A cat has survived a jump from a burning building in an astonishing video shared by the fire department.

The fire occurred in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood on Thursday afternoon, and the cat was trapped in on the fifth floor of an apartment. Video footage shows the cat jump from the window and over a wall, as onlookers scream. But the cat lands on the grass—on its feet—before walking away seemingly unscathed.

The Chicago Fire Department released the video of the cat jumping, saying: "Nine lives for a cat that jumped from fire at 65th and Lowe. Cat hit grass, bounced, and walked away!"

Nine lives for a cat that jumped from fire at 65th and Lowe. Cat hit grass bounced and walked away!

— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) May 13, 2021

Associated Press reported that the cat was not injured and that the fire department was trying to track down its owner. Fire department spokesman Larry Langford said: "It went under my car and hid until she felt better after a couple of minutes and came out and tried to scale the wall to get back in."

There have been no reported injuries, and the cause of the fire—which was confined to one apartment—has not been reported.

Twitter users were stunned by how the cat managed to jump to safety and walk away as though nothing had happened, like Twitter user @krissbiskit who said: "The form, the technique, the landing! It's a 10 for me."

As astonishing as the feat was, cats bodies are built to survive high falls.

When they're not living inside a home or in an urban environment, they tend to live in trees. As a result, their bodies have evolved to allow them to survive falls, according to a report by the BBC.

Cats have a large surface area compared to their weight, which reduces the force at which they hit the ground.

Their terminal velocity is also much slower than humans—for example, a 1987 study by veterinarians Wayne Whitney and Cheryl Mehlhaff found that an average-sized cat with its limbs extended achieves a terminal velocity of about 60mph, while an average-sized man reaches a terminal velocity of about 120mph.

A cat jumping
A stock image of a cat jumping. A cat has survived a five-story jump from a burning building. Nils Jacobi/Getty

Interestingly, with their terminal velocity, cats may actually have better luck falling from higher up.

A series of studies on more than 100 cats' falls from two stories to 32 stories found that cats that fell from the second floor suffered fewer injuries than those who fell from the sixth floor. But above the seventh floor, the cats tended to suffer similar injuries, no matter from how high they fell.

According to Insider, which reported on the studies, it takes the cat falling the equivalent of five stories for it to reach a constant terminal velocity and no longer accelerate. Once cats reach terminal velocity, their instinct urges them to parachute their limbs, reducing the risk of breaking a leg.