Question: Why do cats always land on their feet?

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  1. @nicko24: Awesome question!

    They CAN do it because of their super flexible backbone and lack of collarbone. They DO it instinctively (without practising, they are able to do it), they just need around 30cm drop space and they can right themselves!

    They do it using their vision and inner ear balance mechanism to twist and bend themselves (front end first) with their front legs tucked in, then extend their front legs and bring their hind legs in. It’s hard to put in words – so maybe a video?

    Fantastic YouTube clip about this (no cats were hurt!):

    AND – as @Kyler will probably tell you, understand cats has informed space telescope design:



  2. Hey @nicko24,

    This is a puzzling question. I always wondered this as well, but cats weren’t hurt in exploring my questions either.

    1st thing: When scientists looked at survival rates for cats falling out of buildings, it seems that a fall between 2 and 32 stories has a 90% survival rate, which is pretty amazing! What is interesting is that the cats that fall LESS than 6 stories have many more injuries than those that fall from higher than 6 stories!

    2nd thing: People always say that if you put butter on one side of a piece of toast and it falls off the table, it will always hit the floor butter side down. So, what would happen if you put butter side up toast under a cats paws? I imagine the cat would never hit the ground ever, it would just spin and spin and spin 30cm above the ground. Although, I wouldn’t recommend you try this experiment at home. You’d have a really unhappy cat.

    What do you think would happen?



  1. Just found my new fave YouTube science channel – you might like this clip: