Why Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet?

You must have heard the saying, “A cat has nine lives”.

Now, we all know that’s not true, but how did this saying come about in the first place?

It actually developed as a result of a cat’s ability to always land on its feet, even if it starts falling from a non-upright position. A cat seems able to land on its feet even when it falls from great heights, or from a strange, upside-down position. Believe it or not, there are reports that cats have been able to land on their feet uninjured, even after falling 7-8 stories.

The question is, how is a cat able to land so gracefully on its feet all the time?

Righting Reflex

The “righting reflex” is a cat’s ability that allows it to almost instantly determine up from down and rotate in mid-air, thereby allowing the cat to land on its feet.

Falling Cat

Credits:Denys Shentiapin/Shutterstock

Skeletal Structure of Cats

Cats do not have a collarbone and they have unusually flexible backbones, which helps them turn their body in mid-air. This is why cats seem so cool too!

Now, if you’re fascinated by felines, then check out this video, which explains how cats always manage to land on their feet. Maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about holding onto your own nine lives!


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Why Do Cats Land On Their Feet? – Animal Planet
  3. How Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet? – British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
The short URL of the present article is: http://sciabc.us/6XUpB
Help us make this article better
About the Author:

Ashwin Vinod has a B.Tech in Electronics and Communications from APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, Trivandrum (India). He likes to watch movies, reading fiction novels and surf the internet.

Science ABC YouTube Videos

  1. Photosynthesis: How Plants Make Their Food?
  2. How Does A Helicopter Work: Everything You Need To Know About Helicopters
  3. Rigor Mortis, Livor Mortis, Pallor Mortis, Algor Mortis: Forensic Science Explains Stages of Death
  4. Why Is Space Cold If There Are So Many Stars?
  5. Tensor Tympani Sound: Why Do You Hear A Rumbling Sound When You Close Your Eyes Too Hard?
  6. Hawking Radiation Explained: What Exactly Was Stephen Hawking Famous For?
  7. Current Vs Voltage: How Much Current Can Kill You?
  8. Coefficient Of Restitution: Why Certain Objects Are More Bouncy Than Others?