Monday, September 25, 2006

How cats always land on their feet

Cats have an amazing ability to land on their feet when they fall. This ability is evident in kittens as young as three weeks old and appears to be fully developed by the time they're about seven weeks of age. So how do they do it?

Well, first of all -- just like gymnasts are trained to do -- a cat will look for the ground by turning its head. Then, also like a gymnast, it will pull in its limbs to facilitate rotation. It doesn't hurt that the cat also has a nice, flexible collarboneless spine that helps it twist around so that its feet are beneath it. Then -- and this is the coolest part -- once it has rotated, it arches its back and stretches its legs and tail to turn itself into sort of a cross between a flying squirrel and a parachute.

Now here's one of the most interesting things of all -- cats falling from higher distances tend to have fewer injuries than cats falling shorter distances. It is thought that a long distance fall gives the cat time to (are you ready for this?) relax.

References:; MSN


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