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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Cats have an excellent body coordination and are known as true acrobats. Because of their physique, cats can hunt and catch other, often even faster animals (such as birds) with comparatively little energy expenditure.

Cats need their special skills especially for hunting: Almost silently, velvet paws can sneak up on other animals unnoticed before they jump at the very last moment to catch their prey. The elegant fur noses can even turn around their own axis during the jump. The tail strikes out in the opposite direction and thus acts like an oar.

In free fall this so-called turning or adjusting reflex is also very useful. Cats can do this stunt from a height of at least two meters. As fast as lightning (less than one second) the cat rotates in the air, in order to direct all four legs downwards in time. But unfortunately, this clever reflex does not prevent injuries.

How the cat jump

The turning reflex is in the blood of the cats and makes sure that in case of a fall they automatically turn from the supine position into the falling direction. This stimulus reaction develops as soon as the kittens start to learn to walk and develop body control (approximately in the sixth to eighth week of life).

If a cat falls backwards from a window or from another high point to the ground, it automatically turns its head and front legs in the direction of the fall first. Immediately the hind legs are reflexively pulled to the body and the tail begins to steer in the air. This practice positions the rear body towards the ground. At last, the cat stretches out all four legs and makes a hump to cushion the impact.

Danger! Falling cats!

Especially kittens are at risk of falling off a tree, cupboard or other furniture when playing and hunting. Adults and old specimens are not immune to damage either. The situation can quickly become dangerous if…

  • The cat falls from too great a height (the impact is too hard)
  • Or too low height (they do not have enough time to turn all the way around and come up at – the right angle. Cats need about 2-3 meters to do this)
  • The landing area is too hard, odd, or covered with sharp stones, sticks or even broken glass.
  • The cat is sick or handicapped
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What can happen at cat jump and how should you react?

If your cat has fallen from a great height, it is essential to go to the vet quickly. Because internal injuries are often not immediately visible. The most common injuries after a fall are:

  • Broken Jaw
  • Lung bleeding
  • Various internal bleeding
  • Cleft palate
  • Bone fractures (mostly leg or pelvis)
  • Injured organs (usually bladder, lung, diaphragm, spleen or liver)

In shock, injured animals can travel long distances. If your cat does not come home and cannot be found, pet trailers can help. Trained search dogs can take up the scent and find missing animals.

Better safe than sorry!

Prevention includes many aspects. First you should get your windows and balconies safe for your pet. Cats are clever and skillful animals, but even the most cautious pet sometimes may lean too far out of the window or try to catch a bird passing by.

Make sure you have non-slip surfaces and fasten your furniture to the wall, because a tragedy can happen quickly. You should be especially careful with kittens and older cats.

Even cats that already have had a fall will learn anything from the experience. Remember that you have the full responsibility to protect your darling as good as you can.



Unfortunately, cats do not always land (gently) on their feet. Even if the rotary reflex works and the cat can turn her feet to the ground, there is no guarantee for safety. For the sake of your darling you should therefore avoid unnecessary dangers and keep an eye on him. Take precautions and help your cat not to fall when your cat jump.