The Guardian on a 1969 study:
> It is well known that falling cats usually land on their feet and, moreover, that they can manage to do so even if released from complete rest while upside-down … numerous attempts have been made to discover a relatively simple mechanical system whose motion, when proceeding in accordance with the laws of dynamics, possesses the salient features of the motion of the falling cat. The present paper constitutes such an attempt.
Take a look at the [PDF paper itself](http://pentagono.uniandes.edu.co/~jarteaga/geosem/taller7/minicursoJK-Uniandes/robotic%20examples/kane.pdf) for some hardcore cat physics equations.
(No cats were harmed in the study, but they did drop a “mathematical abstraction of a cat”.)