Posted in: Animal News

Why Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet? Slow Motion Video Reveals The Answer [Video]

cat always falls on its feet

Why do cats always land on their feet? Smarter Every Day, a web series that attempts to, yes, make people smarter every day, decided to tackle the question in a new video.

The video gives an interesting explanation to why cats always land on their feet. It also uses high-speed cameras to show an extremely friendly cat being dropped over and over again. So if you like physics, or cats, this video’s for you.

Smarter Every Day says:

“The first thing a cat does is figure out which way is up. It does this either with the gyro in the ear or with its eyes.”

But even when the direction of up has been determined, it’s still unclear how a cat can stop itself from spinning.

Smarter says:

“Here’s the interesting thing about this. At the beginning of the drop the cat isn’t rotating. Half way through the drop the cat is rotating. And at the end of the drop, Gigi (the amiable cat) somehow stops rotating. Newton’s first law says that an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an external force. I see no external forces on this cat. So what’s happening here? It’s not making any sense.”

Smarter Every Day drops a few more cats and makes a few more observations. They also took a look at some old NASA videos of cats in space. One interesting, but ultimately fruitless observation, is that the cat’s tail rotates in the opposite direction of its body when it’s falling. But Smarter Every Day says that tailless cats will also land on their feet, so the tail doesn’t really have anything to do with a feline’s most famous trick.

Instead, it’s all about the back. Smarter Every Day says that a cat is able to rotate it’s body by bending it’s back, making one half of its body spin faster than the other half.

Here’s the video explaining why cats always land on their feet.

And just in case anyone was worried, Smarter Every Day writes: “GiGi was not hurt during the making of this video. We took great care to make sure she would be safe.”

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