Slow Motion

How Do Cats Land On Their Feet?

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Cats begin to exhibit their righting reflexes when they're as young as three weeks old. Their flexible backbones enable them to twist in the air and land feet-first, all while conserving momentum. Counterintuitively, a cat falling from a high height-five stories or more-is more likely to survive than one falling from a lower height, as it has more time to adjust its position and brace for impact.


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Key Facts In This Video

  1. When falling, cats first try to determine which way is up with their eyes or ears. 01:24

  2. Cats with bobbed tails also land on their feet with the cat righting reflex. 02:49

  3. Watch a labelled, slow-motion demonstration of the cat righting reflex: 04:31