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Why Cats Always Land on Their Feet

Our little furry friends are known for being very nimble and can often be seen effortlessly climbing trees or fences, and jumping up and down all around the house. Although playtime sometimes involves falling, as if luck always follows them, most of the time, a cat will land on its feet.

We at Bright Side were curious as to why cats always land on their feet, even if they fall from a 32-story building, so we’ve decided to look closer into this little phenomenon.

Even kittens have the righting reflex.

The gift of perfect balance isn’t something that the mother cat teaches her babies, it’s actually a gift from mother nature. This instinct comes from their ancestors that needed to hunt in the wild, both on the ground and in the trees, so they developed flawless balance and agility. In kittens, this righting reflex starts to develop at 3-4 weeks and gets perfected at just around 6-7 weeks of age!

Photography helps us see the magic.

For a long time, this feline habit has been a mystery to people and scientists alike — until the nineteenth century, to be exact! But by using photography, a French scientist, Etienne-Jules Marey, managed to create a slow-motion video to see what happens in the few seconds of a cat’s fall.

A cat’s body can act like a parachute to soften the landing.

With the help of the slow-motion video, Marey saw that the cat used its flexible spine and legs to twist in the air. While falling, the cat’s inner ear helps it understand which way is up so it can begin rotating its head the second the fall starts. Next, it arches its back so that the back legs can follow and turn toward the ground. To reduce damage, a cat can use its body as a small parachute, similar to a flying squirrel, by spreading its legs to prepare for a safe landing.

Cats can take good care of themselves, but you should still look out for them.

Cats are agile and resilient, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on them. Because of their curiosity, cats have a tendency to fall, so always make sure your pet is safe!

Have you ever seen your cat fall from an unexpected hight and land on its feet? Do you believe that cats have 9 lives?

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