Do cats always fall on their feet?
The cat is an animal that has always lived accompanied by several ancient myths and beliefs. Some unfounded, like thinking that black cats bring bad luck, and others that have some scientific basis, as in this case the ability to fall on their feet.
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Want to know more about this phenomenon? If you’ve ever wondered if cats really fall down or if it’s a legend, YourCatCareguide tells you the truth about this popular myth. Keep reading!
Myth or truth?
To say that cats always fall on their feet is a belief that makes one think that cats have seven lives. However, it is not certain that the cat always falls , and even when it does not mean that it saves from injuries, in some cases quite serious.
Although on a large number of occasions the cat is able to fall from considerable heights without injury, it does not mean that you should allow your cat to have access to balconies, balconies and other places that need adequate protection, since an accident can cost your life.
The process, why do they fall on their feet?
In a fall into the void, two things play a key role so that the cat can straighten the body and fall on its feet: the ear and flexibility .
As with the rest of the mammals, the inner ear of the cat is the vestibular system, responsible for controlling the balance. Inside this system there is a fluid that moves in the ear, indicating to the cat that it has lost the center of gravity.
This way, when the cat falls, the first thing that tries to straighten is the head and the neck. Then a physical law on the conservation of angular momentum applies, which indicates that a body that rotates on its axis generates resistance and changes its speed.
Through this principle it can be explained that the cat, when it falls, is able to make a 180-degree turn and straighten the entire spine, while retracting its front paws and stretching the back; all thanks to the flexibility of your body. This done, you are already looking at the floor. Then he will collect his paws and arch his column in a position that earned him the nickname of a parachutist. With this movement intends to cushion the blow of the fall and, in many cases, it succeeds.
However, the speed of the fall does not decrease, so if it is a lot of height it is likely that, although it falls on its feet, it suffers terrible injuries in the legs and spine, and even die.
The reflex that is generated in the ear takes a thousandth of a second to be activated, but the cat needs other vital seconds to be able to perform all the necessary turns that allow it to fall on its feet. If the distance of the fall is too short you will not be able to, if it is very long it can be that it reaches and it arrives unscathed to the ground, or it could be that it turns but it hurts very much to the same one. In any case, it is a useful but not infallible reflex .
What if the cat falls ill? What should we do?
The cats are excellent climbers as well as extremely curious animals, for that reason, it is very habitual that they try to explore new places like for example the balcony or some windows of their house.
We should understand that for them these small forays are a source of enrichment and fun, so we should not avoid it, on the contrary: adding a mesh or safety net to cover your porch is a great way to make your cat happy and allowing you to enjoy the outdoors.
However, if you do not have this material, it can happen that the cat falls from a considerable height, something that if repeated several times, receives the name of “syndrome of the cat paraquedista”. Anyway, if the cat falls and looks hurt, we should evaluate the situation and apply first aid to go to the vet as soon as possible .