Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Does a Cat Always Land on Its Feet?

Stolen, in it's entirety, from Neatorama.

By Miss Cellania on Oct 19, 2010 at 5:06 am(Image credit: Flickr user Mini Mookiy. This is not “Esther”)

by Fiorella Gambale, Ph.D.
Institute for Feline Research
Milano, Italy

Cats have excellent balance, and are remarkably acrobatic. When turned upside down and dropped from a height, a cat generally has the ability to land on its feet. Until now, no one has systematically investigated the limits of this phenomenon. In this study, I dropped a cat upside down from various heights, and observed whether the cat landed on its feet.

Dropping a Cat Upside Down from a Height of 6 Feet

I dropped the cat from a height of six feet. I did this one hundred times. The cat always landed on its feet.

Dropping a Cat Upside Down from a Height of 5 Feet

I dropped the cat from a height of five feet. I did this one hundred times. The cat always landed on its feet.

Dropping a Cat Upside Down from a Height of 4 Feet

I dropped the cat from a height of four feet. I did this one hundred times. The cat always landed on its feet.

Dropping a Cat Upside Down from a Height of 3 Feet

I dropped the cat from a height of three feet. I did this one hundred times. The cat always landed on its feet.

Dropping a Cat Upside Down from a Height of 2 Feet

I dropped the cat from a height of two feet. I did this one hundred times. The cat always landed on its feet.

Dropping a Cat Upside Down from a Height of 1 Foot

I dropped the cat from a height of one foot. I did this one hundred times. The cat never landed on its feet.

Drop Height Attempts Landed on feet Did not land on feet
6 ft. 100 100 0
5 ft. 100 100 0
4 ft. 100 100 0
3 ft. 100 100 0
2 ft. 100 100 0
1 ft. 100 0 100

Discussion

Popular belief is that “a cat will always land on its feet.” My experiments show this to be true for drop heights ranging from six feet down to two feet. It is not true at a drop height of one foot.Does a cat land on its feet when dropped from a height of less than one foot? This preliminary study indicates that the answer may be no. However, further experiments, preferably with the same cat, are needed to settle the question.

Acknowledgments

I want to thank the cat, “Esther,” for her initial cooperation in this experiment. Thank you, also, to Esther’s owner, M.R. Young. And special thanks to the organization PFTAR (People For the Tarring-and-Feathering of Animal Researchers), whose indiscriminate yacketing inspired this project.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Happy Days said...

I believe the experiment is true. However, I don't believe she used Ester in all her experiments. 100 x's for one cat can't be true. She had to use multiple cats. If I were ester, I'd scratched her eyes out and anything else I could have managed to get hold of.....debbie

October 20, 2010 1:47 PM  
Blogger Chris H said...

And what have we learned today? Cats need at least 2 feet of air to be able to flip over and land on their feet. WHY THANKS for that tidbit of information. dude!

October 25, 2010 1:03 AM  

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