Why Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?: 101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Feline Unfathomables, Medical Mysteries and Befuddling Behaviors by Marty Becker D.V.M., Gina Spadafori |, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Why Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?: 101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Feline Unfathomables, Medical Mysteries and Befuddling Behaviors

Why Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?: 101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Feline Unfathomables, Medical Mysteries and Befuddling Behaviors

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by Marty Becker, D.V.M., Gina Spadafori
     
 

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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

Overview

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!

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780757398810
Publisher:
Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date:
01/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
918,525
File size:
1 MB

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
1
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.

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