Do cats always land on their feet???
I have always wondered to myself if cats ALWAYS land on their feet and if so, how they do it? By watching the video below, I have found the answers to my question.
The process in which cats go through to land on their feet is amazing. Their "aerial righting reflex" is an instinctive trait within cats that becomes prominent after 7 weeks of age. The righting process begins with the cat's eyes and ears. Using their eyes and ears, the cat finds where the ground is. After, it bends the front legs and then the back legs under it's body, then arches it's back to reduce the force of impact.
In many cases, they have discovered that cats who fall further distances, actually sustain less injury. This happens because during free fall the cat rights it's body and then relaxes for impact. By having more time to do so, the cat is more prepared and has a better chance of surviving the fall.
As you can see, the comparison between humans and cats are vastly different. The differences in mass and anatomy allow cats to have better ability at landing on their feet than humans do. Compared to a cat, humans terminal velocity is much higher, averaging around 120 m/s, while cats terminal velocity averages around 60 m/s. Because cats have less mass, they fall slower, and they spread out their legs while falling, which distributes their mass and increases their air resistance. Finally, cats have four points of impact, compared to only two on a person, leading to less damage.