Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do cats always land on their feet?

Whether or not a cat lands on her feet depends on several factors, including the distance she falls and the surface on which she falls.
Cats have exceptional coordination and balance and a flexible musculoskeletal system. A falling cat will instinctively try to right herself from head to tail, first rotating the head into the proper position, and then sequentially spiraling the rest of the body so all the feet are oriented to the ground. As the body gains the right position, the cat will spread her legs and relax her muscles in anticipation of landing. Their feet and legs can cushion the impact.
Cats have the tendency of being better able to survive falls from greater heights than lower ones. The most dangerous falls are from between two and six stories. Even though they can right themselves, their legs and feet can no longer absorb all of the shock. Above this height, there is a theory that the number of injuries decline, because cats reached a terminal velocity, they relax and spread themselves out like flying squirrels, minimizing injuries.
So, your cat may be able to survive a fall – but, then again, she might not. You never know ... and prevention is always better than a visit to the vet's.

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