Deciphering the cat’s ‘cannon’ technique

Decipher the cat's flying technique - Photo 1.

The cat Nya-suke is flying, one of many examples of the ability to “strike” in cats – Photo: Daily Mail

In the years 2013-2014, Nya-suke – a domestic cat with “nationality” of Japan – stormed the country’s social networks through “unbelievable” high-jump videos.

This cat’s jumps from the ground reach a height of 180cm – 196cm, about 7-8 times its body height. The video was recorded and posted by the cat owner, attracting millions of likes and shares.

In 2020, another video caused a fever when recording a cat in the city of Parma (Italy) easily jumping from the floor to the ceiling to get a balloon in just “one note”. This cat then skillfully twists in the air and returns to the ground perfectly with the resulting “trophy”.

According to Rowyn C. Rose – a cat expert – most cats today possess outstanding jumping ability, often able to jump 5 times higher than their body. Cases of jumping 6-8 times higher than the body are considered rare.

Most domesticated modern cats are descended from wild cats of North Africa or the Near East, Rose explains. They are all arboreal creatures, capable of jumping quickly to high places to safety. They can also twist and turn in the blink of an eye to hunt and hide from predators.

Rose says that today, domestic cats have retained many of the anatomical features of their ancestors. The cat’s body has more than 500 quick-twitch skeletal muscles, which are coordinated almost all by the cat when jumping.

Decipher the cat's flying technique - Photo 2.

Nya-suke’s high jump – Photo: Daily Mail

Stronger and longer hind legs support maximum range of motion. When jumping, cats often extend their front legs to reach the destination while the hind legs push the body forward.

Cat’s paw pads have dozens of nerve receptors, which help cats assess the surface where they are standing in order to calculate the force needed to jump and land.

The ability of cats to land is also very “miracle”. When landing on the ground after the “dumpling”, the cat’s hind legs create an angle for better shock absorption. Claws can also make them easier to grip, providing more stability when landing.

Rose explained, a cat usually has about 30 backbones. The flexibility and ability to flex the spine allows the cat to adjust its direction in the air. Cats easily twist themselves in the desired direction to achieve the ideal “landing” position.

Even a cat’s tail and whiskers are useful. Cat tails help keep balance when moving and when jumping high. Meanwhile, cat whiskers have somatosensory follicular cells that allow them to sense the position, location, and orientation of their body relative to the ground.

As a result, cats sense small vibrations and airflows, protect their eyes and face from objects like tree branches, and judge the distance and size of space.

Deciphering the cat's flying technique - Photo 3.

The ability to “twist” and land perfectly in cats – Photo: TENOR

Professor Patrick Bateson of the University of Cambridge (UK) – former president of the Zoological Society of London – said the cat’s grounding skills are highly regarded by experts as an “art”.

He believes that thanks in part to his unique body structure, cats are not only easy to bounce, but also increase their ability to survive in accidents. According to the survey, 90% of cases of cats falling from apartment buildings from the 2nd to the 32nd floor can still survive if treated promptly.

Professor Bateson said that today’s domestic cats can develop “kicking” skills as young as three weeks old. By 7 weeks old, the cat will master this “super move”.

“Cats have a very high sense of balance, and their flexible spine structure allows them to make spectacular landings. Even if cats carelessly fall, free-fall, or be thrown into the air. , they can still rotate in the air to adjust their posture perfectly,” Bateson said.

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