Mythbuster: Cats Always Land on Their Feet

One of our favorite features on SlimDoggy is our Mythbuster feature where we take a commonly held belief and look at the true story behind it. Today, we’re going to do the same at SlimKitty and look at whether this is true or false – Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?

Judging by this compilation of “clumsy cats” I would say the evidence is that while they may be clumsy, they do usually right themselves and land on their feet if they have enough time.


Is there any physics behind their ability to right themselves? It appears so. According to Wikipedia:

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.[1] Cats are able to do this because they have an unusually flexible backbone and no functional clavicle (collarbone). The minimum height required for this to occur in most cats (safely) would be around 30 centimetres (12 in). Cats without a tail also have this ability, since a cat mostly moves its hind legs and relies on conservation of angular momentum to set up for landing, and the tail is in fact little used for this feat.[2]

You can read the entire post here. It even has a little video of how it works. But it doesn’t stop them from being mischievous.


  1. Jeri A. Sechzera, Susan E. Folsteina, Eric H. Geigera, Ronald F. Mervisa, Suzanne M. Meehana (December 1984). “Development and maturation of postural reflexes in normal kittens”. ScienceDirect 86 (3). doi:10.1016/0014-4886(84)90084-0. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  2. Huy D. Nguyen. “How does a Cat always land on its feet?”. Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Medical Engineering. Retrieved 2007-05-15.



We are joining up with the Monday Mischief Blog Hop, hosted by Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog and My Brown Newfies. I know it’s for dogs, but cats are full of mischief too 😉

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  1. We had guessed that because Amelia’s leg are so long, her center of gravity is confused and that is why she lands so ungracefully at times. But in the end, it’s just nicer to make up that stuff than say she is a wacky klutz! 🙂
    Bethany recently posted…Cat Selfie: Enthusiastic IndifferenceMy Profile

  2. My cats aren’t clumsy when it comes to jumping and landing. But they do knock things over a lot. That’s why I use Museum Putty to keep my breakables from getting knocked over.

    Wags and purrs from Life with Dogs and Cats
    Susan and the gang from Life with Dogs and Cats recently posted…Eulogy for my father, Dr. Norman P. WillettMy Profile

    • Haha…my dad gave me some of that putty when I move to California – for the earthquakes. I used it for awhile and then just forgot…but good idea to use it for the cats.
      KitKat recently posted…Mythbuster: Cats Always Land on Their FeetMy Profile

  3. Ha! Interesting post! I love that photo at the end too!!!
    xx husky hugz
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…The Itchy 21 HuskiesMy Profile

  4. Great post! Cats are so awesome.

  5. I grew up in a very small town at the end of nowhere. We had cats aplenty. Which means that my brother and I tested this theory on a regular basis. I can confidently and unscientifically say that yes, cats nearly always land on their feet. Unless they’ve fallen asleep on an office chair and have been spun for a length of time. Then they’re too dizzy to land on their feet.
    Flea recently posted…Furry Friends, FBM 91My Profile

  6. Nice posty, but kitties don’t always land on there feet and weez hate when peeps do expewiments to test dat notion. But yous did a nice posty. 🙂

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi
    Dezi recently posted…Fankful Funday MondayMy Profile

  7. We are paying close attention to SlimKitty now because mom put in an adoption application for a kitty at Petsmart. In her experience, a cat that fell off the radiator with nothing to grab, no, she didn’t land on her feet. Poor thing had a hairline fracture in her pelvis the rest of her life. Love Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…Total Pet Expo — Next Trends in Pet ProductsMy Profile

  8. I think they have to land on their feet, because they are not nearly as graceful as they’re made out to be, and that’s the only thing that saves them from more injuries! That last photo was great….LOL.
    Jan K recently posted…Monday Mischief – Finders, KeepersMy Profile

  9. That last photo and caption is so funny! Cats are fortunate as dogs don’t land on their paws usually either.
    Emma recently posted…Change Up Your Walking Routine #DogWalkingWeekMy Profile

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