Poonie, many thanks for your question. Having been a cat owner for the last 20 years I have always been interested in this BUT decided that I did not want to experiment on my 19 year old cat (Marley). I think I will rely upon other people’s experiments to try and answer your question.
Apparently it’s all to do with, muscular reaction. Somehow they can rotate their body very quickly, within seconds of beginning a fall. I’ll talk my friends about it, and asked if any other animals can do this.
This little video, made using a flicker book, illustrates how the cat changes it’s bodies position as it falls
One of my friends suggested that you should look at cats and the positions that they take in their everyday life so that you can understand how flexible the backbone/spine of a cat is. Record what you see and let us know. Can you position yourself in the same way as a cat does? Possibly in some positions, but what about the other positions?