The skeleton of a cat allows it to absorb shocks to its forelimbs because it has no direct skeletal connection between its collarbone and vertebral column.
"Cats have no direct skeletal connection through a collarbone between the bones of their forelimbs (pectoral girdle) and those of their vertebral columns. In effect, they have shock-mounted forelimbs, which cushion a landing after a jump. None of these schemes reduce the extremes of velocity one bit; what they reduce are the velocity gradients." (Vogel 2003:77)
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