Do Cats have Nine Lives?
Most animals need to be more alert than humans due to their needing to be alert to evade predators or when being predators they need to outwit their prey if they are to survive. Of all domestic animals, the cat is the most reliant on alertness which it has inherited from it’s ancestors. A cat’s quick wits and instant reflexes are the characteristics of wild felines.
A cat’s combination of caution, agility and rapid reaction to emergency has become part of folklore. The prevailing myth of the cat’s ability to find a way to survive wherever possible, has created the idea of it having multiple lives, but in reality it has only one.
Why do Cats always land on their feet?
Cats have been observed to survive falls without significant injury from heights much higher than could be reasonably expected.
A reason that they survive falls that would kill a human, is that they weigh much less than a human. This gives the cat a lower terminal velocity, so that as they fall they reach a point where their acceleration caused by gravity is offset by air resistance.
Experts have analysed high speed photos of cat’s high falls, that show the cat’s ability to extend all four legs sideways, similar to gliding mammals who also use this concept of greater exposed area to create a cushion of air below it, which cat’s use to give them a greater control over their fall. This lets the cats fall the right way up, not like a human who may tumble uncontrollably in a free fall situation. When a cat is falling, it’s senses quickly tell it which way is the correct way up, thus enabling it to instantly twist it’s agile body into a position for a safer landing. As it hits the ground, it’s feet will be spread out and they will flex, enabling the cat to absorb the impact, which is also enhanced by the cat’s muscles joining directly to and surrounding the bone, not with ligaments as in some other creatures.