Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?
No. Contrary to this popular belief, cats do sometimes fail to land safely on all four feet. But usually, a cat manages to twist itself in midair and land on its feet if it falls or is dropped.
This acrobatic feat is made possible by the cat’s long, flexible body, keen sense of balance and nearly perfect muscular control.
Its powerful muscles enable the cat to make leaps of as much as seven feet, and still land safely. The quickness of the cat’s instincts and its agile body enable it to get out of dangerous situations better than most other animals.
A falling cat is less like an airplane and more like a parachute. As its body orients itself to the falling motion, it relaxes and spreads out for the landing ahead.
Cats are also gifted in other ways for landing on their feet. They are born with flexible backbones that enable that course correction while falling.
The cat’s inner ear houses its vestibular system, which tells the cat’s body where it is in relation to the ground, whether upside down, in motion, or walking around. The system lets the cat’s body correctly orient itself and regain balance after a fall.
And because cats are so light, at one point, the speed with which they fall is almost equal to the upward thrust of air and the two get balanced. This gives the cat a bearing over the situation and it spreads its limbs out like a parachute.