The scientific reason why do cats always land on their feet?

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How do cats always land on their feet?

Cats have been mesmerizing human beings for centuries. The old civilizations had given a sacred place to cats like the famous Egyptians. Cats are still part of our lives, and their charm hasn’t faded a bit. These mysterious creatures have given us many myths and astonishing facts. The most common perplexing statement, “do cats always land on their feet,” is also one of them.

People have been trying to find out an exact answer for a long ago. With the advent of science, this very question has been under study by scientists since the 1800s. Latest studies have revealed that the falling cat phenomenon isn’t as simple as it seems. Gravity, the earth’s magnetic field, and cat biology collectively play a vital role in helping them land on their four. The question “Do cats always land on their feet” is a no if you want 100% results every time. Various factors, conditions, and especially the height of the fall make the landing on all four possible. Keep reading to find out if the cats always land on their feet and how they do that.

Do cats always land on their feet?

Do cats always land on their feet?

If you want to ask if a cat lands on all four every time without getting injured, well, the answer to this question is a big no. it is a myth that cats don’t get injured from the fall, and they manage to land on all four every time. Various cases show the deaths or severe injuries to cats when they fall from tall buildings. However, this phenomenon has a catch as multiple results from the data from fallen cats reveal a remarkable fact. When the feline falls from a 1 to 6 story high building, the injuries are much worse.

But according to experts, when a cat falls from a 7 to 32 story building, the chances of deaths are low, and mostly there are no serious injuries. This phenomenon baffled the researchers, and they associated it with the physiology of cats and how it tends to create a parachute-like structure while falling. In addition, the higher building gives more time to cat to align their body in the most optimum position to reduce the risk of injury and even death.

How do cats always land on their feet?

The cat can align their body mid-air to minimize the impact, which is called righting reflex. You can see the righting reflex in this video filmed in a plane flying at a high altitude. It shows that in the presence of gravity, cats tend to turn their bodies mid-air. And when the plane dives to reduce the impact of gravity, the cat gets baffled and cannot use the righting reflex. Click here for a dynamic explanation of this phenomenon.

In easy language, a cat has no collar bone, and the backbone has 30 vertebras. The cat’s legs are slender yet muscular to fix at an angular shape. These legs can sustain the pressure and energy from the fall with the help of righting reflex. Cats are not born with the balancing trick. The kittens learn it at the age of 3 weeks. By the age of 7 weeks, the kittens fully master the trick. Not every cat is a pro in mid-air balancing and safe landing, so never dare try to know the status of your cat.

Physics and the fall

Physics is at its full swing when a cat falls and tries to sustain itself from the impact. During the fall, a cat uses its tail, paws, spine, and belly to reduce the speed and minimize the impact force on the contact with the help of legs and paws. The bend and twist are the two important phenomena that help the cat’s body to show this feat that seems a wonder in the first place.

Can fat cats also sustain the fall?

Cats are not likely to get fat in the wild, but in homes, diet, eating habits, or disease could make them fat. If you have a fat cat and live in a high-rise building, you cannot take the risk of letting your cat fall. The obese body with excessive weight may not allow the cat to maneuver the body mid-air. Even if the cat gets ample time to handle the body, her weight will make it impossible for her to sustain the damage of hitting the floor even on all four. Your fat cat could get seriously injured or might not survive the fall at all.

Final thoughts

Cats can survive falls, and in most cases, they can land on their four feet. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t worry about your cat falling from heights. For example, if you live in a tall building, never allow your cat to roam the brim or edge of the building. A cat might survive the fall, but the chance of injury is always there. A serious injury from the fall could claim the life of your cat and will leave you with nothing but regret.

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