Why Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?: 101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Feline Unfathomables, Medical Mysteries and Befuddling Behaviorsby Marty Becker D.V.M., Gina Spadafori
Is My Cat Crazy?
If only it were that simple! But the fact is that your cat is very sensible indeed—about cat things. She knows how to scratch upright surfaces, cough up hairballs, send messages with her pee, and party all night. To the feline mind, these are the stuff of everyday life—as important as sleeping all day and grooming/strong>
Is My Cat Crazy?
If only it were that simple! But the fact is that your cat is very sensible indeed—about cat things. She knows how to scratch upright surfaces, cough up hairballs, send messages with her pee, and party all night. To the feline mind, these are the stuff of everyday life—as important as sleeping all day and grooming for several hours using nothing but your tongue.
Your clever kitty knows you very well (after all, she sits and stares at you when you're in the bathroom). But how well do you know her? Find out why cats knead against us, the best way to hold a cat, how cats can jump onto your kitchen counters without even a running start, why they chew on your sweaters.
Award-winning pet experts Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori explain the ins and outs of the feline psyche. Because the better you understand cats, the easier it is to love the kitty on your couch. Can you teach an old cat new tricks? You bet! Expecting a baby? It's perfectly okay to keep your cat. What about kittens? You'll find everything you always wanted to know about feline sex but were afraid to ask.
Your cat's not crazy, but she can be mysterious. Did you know cats can tell time? They talk with their tails and walk on their toes. And there are even rumors that some cats are descendents of space aliens. It's no wonder the ancient Egyptians were not the only ones who worshipped them.
You'll also find the answers to questions that tend to tickle your curiosity: Why do cats' eyes glow in the dark? What's in catnip that makes kitties so silly? Can curiosity really kill a cat?
You've got questions? This book's got answers. Do cats always land on their feet? Find out!
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Read an Excerpt
Do cats always land on their feet?
Not always. But they'll sure try. Cats are the perfect small predator, just as comfortable stalking a squirrel from tree to tree as they are chasing a wiggly piece of ribbon across the carpet. They've evolved with some nifty high-rise survival skills, including the ability to grab onto a branch with retractable crampons if they lose their footing.
And if that doesn't work, they have that awe-inspiring ability to right themselves in midair so they can stick a perfect four-point landing.
This nifty feat would put any Olympic gymnast to shame. A falling cat will instinctively try to right himself from head to tail, first rotating his head into the proper position (to spot the ground just like all those crazy acrobats do on the X Games whether they're on skis, snowboards,
bikes or skateboards) and then sequentially spiraling the rest of his body so all his feet are oriented to the ground. As the body gains the right position, the cat will spread his legs in a sort of flying-squirrel fashion and
relax his muscles in anticipation of landing. Spreading the impact over four points is considerably better than hitting on one, and a cat's cushy joints enable him to absorb a lot more impact than we mere humans can.
A cat's ability to rotate in midair isn't a fool-proof strategy for surviving the perils of modern living, however.
Veterinarians have long noted and studied what's called high-rise syndromeùthe tendency cats have of being better able to survive falls from greater heights than lower ones. The most dangerous falls are from between two and six stories. Amazingly enough, a few urban cats have survived falls of up to thirty stories, albeit with severe injuriesùbroken legs and jaws, and collapsed lungs.
The difference may well be the cat's ability to set himself up for the best possible landing, in the way that all cats having been doing for generations. You see, that
"rotate and relax" maneuver takes time to implement.
From the lower floors, it's thought a cat hasn't enough time to prepare himself for impact by getting himself in proper landing position. From the highest floors, the fall's too great to survive. In between, however, is a margin of survivability for the cat who lands on his feet.
Urban veterinarians say they start seeing cats who've fallen out of windows and off balconies in the spring,
when people are anxious to enjoy the nice weather and
open their windows. Cats aren't stupid, but it's really not in their nature to understand the implications of being twenty stories up. They don't think about it, and go about their business as always. Some cats simply lose their footing walking on a narrow balcony railing, while others jump after a moving object such as a bird. Hundreds of cats are killed or injured each year in falls.
It's best not to test a cat's ability to land on his feet.
The answer is an easy one: Buy screens! That way, the cat can't get out easily and the bugs can't get in.
Meet the Author
Marty Becker, D.V.M., 'America's Favorite Vet,' was named Veterinarian of the Year in 2002. He is regularly featured on ABC-TV's, Good Morning America, writes a weekly column for over 500 Knight Ridder newspapers, and coauthored several of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul books for cat- and dog-lovers. He lives in Idaho.
Gina Spadafori is a nationally syndicated pet-care columnist and top-selling author of Dogs For Dummies, and co-author of Cats For Dummies and Birds For Dummies. She lives in northern California in a decidedly multispecies home.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I have a pet cat and was delighted to find a book that answered my many question about my favorite feline. 'Why do cats always land on their feet' tickled my funny bone and gave me insight to my pets behavior. Great Book!
This little book contains the cat-ology insights every person who has watched cats wants to know. Veterinarians have heard these questions over and over, but seldom have had access to these answers in such a 'feline friendly' format. Marty and Gina are entertaining and informative in these pages, and a close read can make someone a much better cat housemate (many only tolerate their two legged adult roommates). This book also would make a great gift for any pet owner or animal lover.
Bring along your sense of humor and enjoy an educational tour through the minds, bodies and psyches of cats, courtesy of authors Gina Spadafori and Marty Becker. This book is clever, humorous and enlightening. And if the answers to 101 questions aren't enough for you, the authors have included an email address so you can send any as-yet-unanswered questions to them for inclusion in the sequel. An illuminating, fun read - highly recommended!
This very well-written work has something for anyone who likes or loves cats. Even if you thought you knew all there was to know about cats this book will teach you something new on practically every page. A good effort by two of the most prominent people in the pet care field.
Im petalfoot can i join the party?
Hi.im a liger. Half tiger and half lion.
Can i join? I'm Glitterwave, HorseClans first medince cat. Eventually i lost track of Horseclan, but i finally found them. They obviuosly got a new medicine cat so i died of old age.