Cats ALWAYS Seem To Land On Their Feet: But How?

No matter how a cat jumps or falls, they always seem to be able to right themselves in midair and land gracefully on their paws. How is this even possible?! Find out...

Even the most graceful of humans can't even begin to match the innate sense of stability and balance of our cats.

One phenomenon in particular that fascinates us is their natural ability to fall and jump at various angles from various heights...yet still somehow manage to land on their feet.

How do they do it?!

Believe it or not, it's not some kind of mysterious magical ability. It even has a name: the "cat righting reflex".

Development of the Righting Reflex

Cat owners will know well what this move looks like, as we've probably been shocked more than one time to see our cat perform the seemingly impossible.

You can spot this reflex first when a kitten is only about 3 or 4 weeks old. By 6 or 7 weeks, they've mastered the skill!

Most cats only need an estimated 12 inches of falling distance in order to perform this move successfully. And because it doesn't rely on balance from their tail, as many people falsely believe, even cats without tails can do this without a problem.

How They Do It

Most of what this skill comes down to is a cat's body and bone structure: cats have an extremely flexible backbone and no collarbone. These free-moving clavicle bones are also what allows them to fit into and through shockingly small spaces.

As they fall through the air, cats are able to use their inner ear senses to determine which way they need to turn. Then, their flexible body comes into play and allows them to twist and rotate in the air. By tucking in their front legs and extending their back, they're able to tip the balance in the right way to ensure a solid landing on the front paws, swiftly followed by the back.

Okay...so even the science behind it is beginning to sound a bit magical. Cats will never cease to impress us!

But They're Not Invincible

Despite the fact that our cats are talented little creatures, they aren't invincible. They are still capable of getting broken bones or other serious injuries or even dying from a fall from an extreme height, such as a window in a several-stories-tall building.

So it's vital that we take all the necessary precautions to protect our cats from extreme heights.

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by Andrea Heckler