It’s no secret… we think cats are a-MAY-zing. Sure, they’re cute and comforting, but they’re also scientifically fascinating. While they may delight you with the circus act of balancing atop your shower curtain, what’s even more impressive is how they stick the landing every time. Read on to find out why cats seem to land miraculously on their feet no matter how far they jump.
NINJA CAT! GROUND ATTACK!
We’ve all seen a cat take a tumble, sometimes comically, at a height that gives us a minor heart attack! No matter the height, they always seem to turn into parkour ninjas mid-flight and backflip their way to a feathery landing. So, how do cats always seem to land on their feet?
SHE BLINDED ME WITH… CAT SCIENCE?
The answer does have a logical explanation – it combines two of our favorite things; science and cats (of course). Apparently we weren’t the first to wonder about the mystery of cat landings. Cats have been recorded in slow motion while falling, giving us a glimpse into exactly what happens that helps them land so smoothly.
As soon as a cat begins to fall, their head moves into the correct upright position, followed by their spine, and then legs. Once repositioned, their front paws move close to their face to shield it from impact and the body spreads out, acting like a living parachute. A cat falling from a greater height actually has LESS chance of injury since they have more time to adjust themselves and prepare for landing. Think that’s cool? They also have 30 vertebrae in their ultra flexible spines, while humans only have 24. Not to mention a vestibular system in their inner ears that tells them which way is up and which is down, which comes in handy for those times when they don’t quite clear the gap from the kitchen island to that cozy nook above the fridge.
Cats are a-MAY-zing, but not all cats always land on their feet, especially older cats. What’s more, cats can still get hurt while falling. Remember to keep your cats safe and lessen their opportunities to fall by keeping your windows and doors closed. Stay safe out there all you ninja cats!
For more science, cat facts, and just plain fun, head on over to YouTube and learn more from our dear friend, Purrfessor Cat™.