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Why Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet?

Cats seem to have a knack for landing upright. Why is that?

Dr. Mel offers a few reasons why cats are such expert landers...


“Hang on Buzz, come back here where you’re safe and sound. This bench isn’t very high and chances are that being a young cat without arthritis, that if he did land he’d land on his feet. But we’ve all heard stories of cats falling out of apartment buildings and landing safely on their feet and walking away without any injury. If a dog did the same thing they wouldn’t be coming off so well. So why does that happen? Well they’ve done a lot of research on this and they’ve found that there is a few reasons.

First of all cat have got a ratio of body weight to surface area which is different to human beings. The surface area is greater so there is a lot more drag when they are falling so the speed at which they fall is a little bit slower which gives them a little bit more time to right themselves. Their relatives, like tigers and leopards are what we call arboreal animals that live in trees like monkeys and so forth and apparently all of those animals have what’s called an aerial righting reflex which means that when they fall, they sort of know where they are in space so they can twist their body so that their feet are able to land on the ground when they hit the ground.

The other last thing that cats have to their advantage is that they have very long, muscular legs. Hang on Buzz show off your legs. When they land on the ground like that they take a lot of the concussive force so they don’t break their legs so they’re nice and springy. So you’re made to land, pretty lucky hey?”