Why Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet?

Cats are incredibly agile creatures, but even still, it’s always surprising to see them land on their feet after jumping from high surfaces.  Even from great heights, cats manage to land gracefully on their feet! How is it possible?

Righting Reflex

Cats have a righting reflex, which allows them to turn while in the air, so that they land safely on their feet. Using their sensitive ears, they are able to maintain balance and orient themselves, so they are not injured from a fall. It is believed that cats develop this reflex as kittens, and it is fully developed in as little as 7 weeks.


Because of their unique skeletal structure, cats are incredibly flexible. They don’t have a collarbone and their backbone is significantly more flexible than humans. This is how they are able to turn and flip their bodies in the air.

Instinctual or Learned Behavior?

A cats ability to land on their feet after a fall is an instinctual behavior! This means that cats are not taught how to turn their bodies in midair, it is an automatic response to falling.

Other factors

While cats are able to land successfully on their feet after most falls, occasionally, accidents do happen. Factors such as a cats weight and age, or the distance of the fall can all impact whether or not a cat will land on its feet.