Why Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet?

A brown and white cat jumping across the image there are islands and a sea in the background

Have you ever wondered why cats always land on their feet? We have all heard stories of cats always landing on their feet but is it really true? The truth is that cats are very good at landing on their feet but do they land on their feet every time, and how do they do this? This article will explore this fantastic ability that cats have.

History Of Cat Reflexes

Cats are descended from animals called “ferrets,” which were bred as hunting companions to flush prey out of tight spaces in rocks, trees, and buildings.

When these critters pounced on small mammals like rabbits or rats, they would fall over with sudden movement. Over time, this became a reflex for felines; when they jump into the air to catch something (or take off after it), their back legs will stretch out behind them first before bending down so that they can land on their paws instead.

How Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet?

Cats have five toes, which gives them more traction than humans who only walk with two big toe pads in each foot – making us less likely (though not impossible) to get our balance back when we slip or stumble over something while walking upright! The soles also contain tough elastic tissue called “reticular laminae” under layers upon layer skin cells; these tissues help spread out pressure from weight bearing evenly across all surfaces touching your paw pad surface area- preventing injuries like broken claws and toes!

Most of the time, cats land on their feet, but there are some exceptions. Cats have a reflex called the righting response, which is an automatic movement that makes them turn their head to look behind themselves and then twist around so they end up facing in what would be “the direction of gravity”.

Cats also use this same motion when walking on slippery surfaces like ice or wet floors. Cats are more agile than humans because we walk with our feet pointing outward (which means less traction) while felines keep theirs pointed inward so kitty’s claws can dig into whatever surface she walks across instead.

So How Do These Amazing Animals Always Land Safely?

Cats always land safely due to their flexible spine and their righting reflex.

Flexible spine: Cats have an extra set of bones in the backbone, which allow for a greater range of motion, so they can twist around to land on all four paws.

Rightening Reflex (a cat’s natural instinct): When cats jump from high places or fall off something like furniture higher than ground level – the kitty will automatically turn her head back behind herself before landing with both feet facing down towards gravity. This means she’ll always be able to make sure it lands safely by twisting its body as soon as contact occurs! So when you see your little feline friend jumping up onto things without hesitation, you know why he does this.

Cats also have a reflex that causes them to pull their legs in when they feel like the ground is shaking or moving, which helps keep balance and stability on all fours – just as it does for humans who are standing up straight with two feet—planted firmly onto solid flooring! So next time you see your cat land gracefully after jumping from high places (like counters), know this: It’s not because he doesn’t understand gravity; instead, cats instinctively use physics principles of inertia-based movement so well we don’t even notice how amazing these little creatures truly seem until now 🙂

When Do Kittens Start Landing On Their Feet?

Kittens can land on their feet as early as one week old, but it’s not until they are about six weeks that their reflexes have matured enough to make this a natural response. 

Can A Cat Survive A Fall From Any Height?

The highest a cat can land safely from is about 12 feet. Cats can survive a fall from around six stories high, but it is not recommended to let your cat jump from such a height. Falling or jumping from anything higher will lead to injury.

The first thing that happens when cats fall (or are pushed off) something tall and narrow like the edge of an overhang or balcony is, they spread their limbs out wide so as much surface area can touch down on whatever’s below them. In this case, usually concrete pavement; next comes what’s called “righting reflexes”, which means all four paws will come into contact with the ground at roughly the same time for balance purposes. By landing on four paws at the same time, it helps avoid injury if there was any momentum left after falling through the air and finally landing!

Do Lions And Big Cats Always land on their feet?

We know that domestic cats and kittens can land on their feet but does this apply to big cats such as lions?

It’s not just cats that can land on their feet! Lions and other big felines also can land on their feet from a high fall or jump.

Big Cats land on their feet using the same natural response as cats do, but they also use their tails to balance them.

Lions have an extra trick up their sleeves that helps with landing, too: Their tail which acts almost likes another limb when balancing during falls by helping keep everything balanced while still tucked away safely under its body, so no one gets hurt or worse yet, killed!! This means even though big felines may not be able to find themselves safe ground after jumping off something high enough, such as 18ft tall -they are more likely than small animals who don’t possess this natural ability to land on their feet. 

Why Doesn’t My Cat Always Land On Its Feet?

Here are the most common reasons for cats not landing on their feet:

Neurological Problems Stopping Cats Landing On Their Feet:

If you notice that your cat does not land on its feet every time, it could be an indicator that your cat has a neurological disorder. A common reason for this is that the cat’s brain does not have enough time to process what its body should do in order, and so it can’t react quickly when falling over, which leads them off balance. If you are concerned about your cat’s reflexes, you should seek advice immediately from your vet. They will be able to assess the situation and advise on what you should do next.

Overweight Cats Can Struggle Landing On their Feet:

Another reason your cat might not land perfectly is that they are overweight, which can affect their balance when falling over because of a lack of muscle control and being less agile due to carrying more weight than usual around its body.

Cats With Arthritis Might Not Land On Their Feet:

It is also possible that your cat has arthritis or some other condition that may affect its balance and reflexes. If this seems to the case, you should take it for a check-up with their vet straight away, who will then advise on what they need to help them get better again.


Rochelle is a self-claimed crazy cat lady and proud cat mum to Owlie! She has owned, rescued, and fostered cats throughout her whole life. Rochelle created Cats On My Mind as a hub for likeminded cat parents to get all the information they will ever need to give their fur babies their best life!

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