Why Are Cats So Flexible?

Cats are so flexible because of their high number of vertebrae, or individual spinal bone disks. Including their tails, cats have up to 53 vertebrae. By comparison, a human spine contains 33 vertebrae. While all animals' vertebrae has cushioning between the individual disks, a cat’s spine has more elastic cushioning than most mammals. This allows them to be able to twist themselves more easily, at angles of as much as 180 degrees. Cats also have tiny collarbones, which gives them the ability to flatten themselves to fit through small openings. When cats fall from tall heights, their flexibility is what generally keeps them from breaking any bones, because they are able to twist and reposition themselves mid-fall to land on their feet.

More about cats:

  • Cats can jump as much as nine times their height from sitting down.
  • Kittens as young as seven weeks know how to manipulate their bodies to fall from tall heights without injuring themselves.
  • Cats have a wide range of vocal sounds — an estimated 100 of them. By comparison, dogs can make about 10 vocal sounds.
More Info: animals.nationalgeographic.com

Discussion Comments


Considering how cats are able to fall from very tall heights, I'm assuming that's one reason why they're not afraid of climbing tress. First of all, not only do they have their claws to help them, but even if they do fall, they're flexibility is very beneficial, as the article also states.


@Euroxati - Well, off the top of head, I'm not familiar with a lot of them, but one sound you don't hear too often is the "screeching" sound. It's often heard when cats get into a fight or a heat. However, cats are indoors quite often, and the feuds are usually outside.


I had a cat a while back, and I remember how flexible she was. Also, in regards to vocal sounds, does anyone know some of them that aren't heard as much as others (such as meowing). Obviously, I've heard my cat make several noises before, but I didn't know there was such a wide range.

Post your comments
Forgot password?