How Do Cats Land On Their Feet?

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.

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

Written by Curiosity Staff December 19, 2014

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