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Author Topic: Do cats always land on their feet?  (Read 18842 times)

Offline Simulated

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« on: 20/10/2007 12:59:00 »
This is a purdy big myth around here cuz of all the stupid annoying barn cats we have.


 

another_someone

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #1 on: 20/10/2007 13:12:48 »
Nothing is absolute - but my understanding is that cats are quite good at landing on their feet, if they fall from sufficient height to give them time to turn around in the air before landing (not that I have had much to do with cats, but this is what I have been told by people who do own cats).

Ofcourse, since cats use their fur as a parachute, this probably does not work for hairless breeds (not sure what it does with some of the very hairy breeds).
« Last Edit: 20/10/2007 13:14:33 by another_someone »
 

Offline Simulated

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #2 on: 20/10/2007 13:50:40 »
Ah..That makes sence..Lots of sence..Thank ya George!
 

Offline i am bored

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #3 on: 20/10/2007 14:22:43 »
drop one off the top of a building see if it lands on its feet
 

another_someone

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #4 on: 20/10/2007 14:31:13 »
drop one off the top of a building see if it lands on its feet

As I said above - cats tend to use their mass of fur to trap a lot of air, as a parachute does - so they have a fairly low terminal velocity - I believe they can fall from quite a substantial height and survive.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #5 on: 20/10/2007 17:27:45 »
I had a cat land on my feet once.
 

Offline Simulated

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #6 on: 20/10/2007 17:44:08 »
Haha. Same here. I would go drop a cat off the roof, but mom wouldn't let me.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #7 on: 20/10/2007 18:20:12 »
Ask Simon Bond.
 

Offline Simulated

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #8 on: 20/10/2007 18:44:17 »
Who's he?
 

Offline Carolyn

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #9 on: 21/10/2007 05:00:48 »
Haha. Same here. I would go drop a cat off the roof, but mom wouldn't let me.

Neither would Nics.
 

Offline Karen W.

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #10 on: 21/10/2007 06:07:09 »
This is an old topic already addressed by Neil.. I think.. LOL And NO they don't always land on there feet! I had a cat who constantly fell off a ladder and would land on her hip and back end!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #11 on: 21/10/2007 15:10:02 »
Apparently cats don't have shoulder blades so they can twist their spine almost right round.

My question has always been, what would happen if you glued 2 cats back to back and dropped them from a window?
 

Offline Simulated

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #12 on: 21/10/2007 18:28:18 »
haha i think they would land on their sides..and thanks karen!~
 

Offline Karen W.

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #13 on: 21/10/2007 18:43:33 »
Your welcome..
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #14 on: 21/10/2007 22:01:04 »
Simon Bond is an author and cartoonist.
http://www.methuen.co.uk/titles.php/itemcode/674
 

Offline Simulated

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #15 on: 22/10/2007 21:44:50 »
Ah I see now Thanks Bored Chemist
 

Offline i am bored

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #16 on: 23/10/2007 02:45:44 »
if only i could do that to the dogs, im a cat person but its fun "introducing" cats to gravity
 

Offline SquarishTriangle

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #17 on: 16/11/2007 11:01:13 »
Apparently cats don't have shoulder blades so they can twist their spine almost right round.

Cats have shoulder blades!!! Anyway, here's my oh so brief answer:


The process that enables a cat to rotate its body during a fall and land on its feet is known as the “air righting reflex” and almost always occurs in all normal cats.

There are two sensory inputs that can initiate the air righting reflex in a falling cat (and some other mammals). The first of these is the vestibular apparatus present in each inner ear, which normally maintains balance and posture. The second is the ocular system, which receives visual information and sends it to the brain. Either of these sensory systems can alone initiate the reflex during a fall and consequently ensure that the cat turns in midair such that it lands the right way up when it reaches the ground. However, the vestibular system has been shown to be the primary control for this reflex.

The structure of the vestibular apparatus enables it to detect both angular and linear acceleration of the head. If a change is detected, such as the head being tilted as the cat is losing balance, sensory cells in the semicircular canals of the vestibular apparatus become stimulated (polarised or depolarised, depending on the direction of change), firing off nerve cells towards the brain stem. The nerve impulse (signal) then travels down the spinal cord to activate contraction in the muscles that will be appropriate for correcting the posture.

If the vestibular systems in both ears are destroyed in an otherwise normal cat, the reflex still occurs. Likewise, if the cat is blindfolded (or blind from birth) the rotation occurs as normal. However if the cat has both inner ears destroyed and is blindfolded, the rotation ceases to occur. This leads to the view that both systems are able to control the same reflex. Cats with only one inner ear destroyed always turn to the side of the destroyed ear, even if it means going through more than 180 degrees (normally the cat would turn to the side that is already closest to upright).

It has been shown that a distance of only 1 foot (the study was in imperial) is required for the normal cat to land on its feet, but some can do it in as little as 6 inches. Generally the higher the cat falls from, the more time it has to correct its posture and ensure a footed landing. However once you get above a certain height, other non-posture related problems may come into play…such as the squish factor.

References:
Muller HR, Weed LH (1916). Notes on the falling reflex of cats. The American Journal of Physiology. 40(3): 373-379.
Cremieux J, Veraat C, Wanet MC (1984). Development of the air-righting reflex in cats visually deprived since birth. Experimental Brain Research. 54: 564-566.
 

Offline Alandriel

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #18 on: 16/11/2007 15:00:50 »
Squarish Triangle saves the day

*again* !  ;D ;D



Quote
The process that enables a cat to rotate its body during a fall and land on its feet is known as the “air righting reflex” and almost always occurs in all normal cats.




I guess those barn cats were deaf and blind!

(mind you I once had a cat with a similiar inability to fall on its paws. Poor thing repeatedly ended up with a bloody nose....)
 

Offline SquarishTriangle

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #19 on: 16/11/2007 15:21:29 »
Aww that's terrible. Did this same cat fall over often even on the ground, or off furniture?
 

Offline JimBob

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #20 on: 16/11/2007 21:57:12 »
Mine did after a bout with ethaline glycol. Wasn't ever "right" after that. Died when she was 16, too. The male I got a few months after I got her lived to be 20 years old.

 

Offline Karen W.

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #21 on: 17/11/2007 01:52:38 »
Yep my old girl was about 19 when she passed and she was the sweetest kitty! drooled when you pet her I always had kleenex in hand.. LOL!
 

Offline SquarishTriangle

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #22 on: 18/11/2007 03:27:13 »
What was the ethylene glycol from?
 

Offline Alandriel

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #23 on: 19/11/2007 21:11:38 »
Aww that's terrible. Did this same cat fall over often even on the ground, or off furniture?

Mine I think was really just at the very end of the queue when the brains got handed out.

I got him as a tiny kitten and at first he seemed all normal, a very playful if somewhat clumsy kitten. Later.... that's a different story ........poor thing

He was sooooo silly. But also really cuddly and lovely.

He would walk along a ledge and just keep on walking when the ledge was finished
He would bump into things when in one of his 'absent minded' moments
he would sit up and just stare into space often for minutes at a time
he would stop in mid paw lick and just stop, then continue again 20 secs or so later

I think he was 'out of body' a good portion of the time  ;D

That's him - Dubdub (little bear) - sadly, when he fell in love with a fennec fox the lady was either already taken or her big brother got the better of rascal dubdub

 

Offline Simulated

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Do cats always land on their feet?
« Reply #24 on: 19/11/2007 21:38:51 »
Intersting stories
 

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Do cats always land on their feet?
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