UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
I wonder if the myth that cats always land on their feet is true. Why?
Question Date: 2016-08-31
Answer 1:

Wikipedia says cats always land on their feet if they fall from at least a foot high. If they fall only a few inches, they don't have time to turn to be feet down before they hit the ground.

The Wikipedia article is called "cat righting reflex" and it says this:
The cat righting reflex is a cat's innate ability to orient itself as it falls in order to land on its feet. The righting reflex begins to appear at 3–4 weeks of age, and is perfected at 6–7 weeks.

Cats are able to do this because they have an unusually flexible backbone and no functional clavicle (collarbone).

Thanks for your question. It's fun to know the answer.

Helen


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use