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Terminal velocity - why do cats have nine lives?
James May explains why a cat has a better chance of surviving a big fall than a human. It's all to do with cats having a non-fatal terminal velocity. As a falling object accelerates, drag builds up; when this equals the downward force of gravity, the object hits a constant speed or its terminal velocity. This speed varies with different shapes and sizes; a falling human has a terminal velocity of 120 mph, whilst a cat's is just 60 mph. This is because smaller things have a larger surface area relative to their mass than bigger things, so air resistance has a greater effect. First broadcast on 'James May's Things You Need to Know' on BBC Two in August 2012.
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