How do CATS land on their feet? By Request
©KIM TAYLOR / HOTSPOT MEDIA
Here a picture is worth a thousand words and Kim Taylor has captured the cat’s righting reflex beautifully.This is a great aid to cats when falling but is not infallible, cats can still break bones or die from falls.
The cat righting reflex is a cat’s innate ability to orient itself as it falls in order to land on its feet. The righting reflex begins to appear at 3-4 weeks of age, and is perfected at 7 weeks. They are able to do this as they have an unusually flexible backbone and no functional collarbone. The minimum height required for this to occur in most cats (safely) would be around 1 m (3.281 ft). Cats without a tail also have this ability, since a cat mostly moves its hind legs and relies on conservation of angular momentum to set up for landing, and the tail is in fact little used for this feat
In addition to the righting reflex cats have a number of other features that will reduce damage from a fall. Their small size, light bone structure, and thick fur decrease their terminal velocity. Furthermore, once righted they may also spread out their body to increase drag and slow the fall to some extent. A falling cat’s terminal velocity is 100 km/h (60mph) whereas that of a falling man in a “free fall position” is 210 km/h (130mph). At terminal velocity they also relax as they fall which protects them to some extent on impact.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_righting_reflex
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