June 14, 2013

Cats and their nine lives

“Cats have nine lives.” Cats’ agility, quickness and ability to land on their feet have kept this proverb around for a long time. Have you ever wondered about the origins of this statement? It is thought that this came from ancient times when nine was considered a lucky number, because it is the “trinity of trinities”. Because cats seem to be lucky in their death escapes, this number was well-suited for the cat. Another theory is that the nine lives originated from the ancient Egyptian reverence of cats. The god Atum-Ra, who took the form of a cat when visiting the underworld, gave birth to eight other major gods. As such, Atum incorporated nine lives in one.{{more}}

While cats are amazing creatures that seem to be able to get themselves into trouble and emerge unharmed, they do not have nine lives. They are resilient, and their athleticism is often in their favour when running from a dog, dodging a car, or jumping from a high level. Notwithstanding this, we still see them dead on the road; I still see them mauled by dogs and with broken bones due to falls.

Their muscles, bones, and even their inner ears are constructed to help them right themselves during a fall and increase their odds of landing on their feet and absorbing the shock. The highly developed inner ear of cats equips them with an unusually keen sense of balance. Which brings us to the question of “why do cats land on their feet?”

Contrary to popular belief, falling cats do not always land on their feet. In fact, every day, cats sustain serious injuries from falling out of open windows, off balconies, and from rooftops. Cats do not fear heights and will often leap after a bird or a butterfly, thinking that they are Superman, only to find themselves falling through the air. The trauma sustained from a fall of over two stories (24 to 30 feet) is known as high-rise syndrome.

If a cat falls a short distance, he can usually right himself and land on his feet. If he falls more than one or two floors, however, he may sustain injury. Although he can right himself, his legs and feet cannot absorb the shock.

Cats have exceptional coordination and balance and a flexible musculoskeletal system. They are normally able to orient their bodies in space in such in such a way as to land on all four limbs.

To help your cat live a long life and be able to enjoy her for many years, you must be a responsible pet owner. When you decide to adopt your kitty and give her a place to live, remember that this is a lifelong commitment. A cat is not a toy or a decoration, she is a living creature that deserves your love and care as long as she lives. If well cared for, a cat can live up to 20 years.

For further information, contact:
Dr Collin Boyle Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981