A MAN watering his plants on the second floor of a block of flats in Handforth was alerted to a cat falling from the 10th floor last Thursday.

The man, who did not wish to be named, told the Guardian that the incident occurred last Thursday evening at around 8pm after the cat had gone after a pigeon, which had landed on a handrail.

He said: "I witnessed the whole incident and as the cat came down it made a scream I have never heard before.

"I was watering my plants and it fell past me in a drop I would estimate was 100ft. It landed in a hydrangea bush feet first and then ran off before lying down in a field to recover from the shock."

The man, who said he didn't want to be identified because pets were not permitted in the block said he had spoken with the owner of the cat and it is fine after surviving the drop.

He explained: "I have spoken with the owner a couple of times since and they said the cat is perfectly fine, which is incredible considering the distance it fell."

He added: "It must have used some of its lives in one fell swoop!"

In March 2012, the BBC reported that a1987 study of 132 cats brought to a New York City emergency veterinary clinic after falls from high-rise buildings, 90 per cent of treated cats survived and only 37 per cent needed emergency treatment to keep them alive.

One that fell 32 storeys onto concrete suffered only a chipped tooth and a collapsed lung and was released after 48 hours.

The report went on to explain that from the moment they're in the air to the instant after they hit the ground, cats' bodies are built to survive high falls, scientists say.

They have a relatively large surface area in proportion to their weight, thus reducing the force at which they hit the pavement.

Cats reach terminal velocity, the speed at which the downward tug of gravity is matched by the upward push of wind resistance, at a slow speed compared to large animals like humans and horses.

For instance, an average-sized cat with its limbs extended achieves a terminal velocity of about 60mph (97km/h), while an average-sized man reaches a terminal velocity of about 120mph (193km/h), according to the 1987 study by veterinarians Wayne Whitney and Cheryl Mehlhaff