Image source: Pixabay.com
Cats are amazing animals. They are graceful and elegant. Cats are also moody. Their antics are enjoyable to watch. No wonder, the Internet is flooded with cat videos. Type “funny cat videos” into the search bar and you will enjoy feline antics all day long. Giggling is the appropriate term to be used here.
You must have watched your cat racing towards a tree and jumping half its height before it actually begins to climb. Conversely, a cat jumps from far up and lands on all fours. To us, these activities seem amazing. To a cat, this is all a days' work. You must have thought as to how your furball could do all this. To understand this, it is important to remember that your soft, lovable kitty is closely related to the jungle tiger. Like its relative, it is nimble-footed and can even be ferocious if need be.
You have seen the jumping process at work. The cat first tests the jumping platform for stability by using its back legs. It then crouches and bends the limbs, tightening its lithe body like a coiled spring. Then it uncoils and jumps, landing in his chosen place safely. A cat can jump on to high fences and small narrow surfaces with minimum effort.
Evolution at work
The matter of evolution has given the house cat strong legs. The body is also extremely flexible. This as the ancestors of the house cat lived mainly on trees. It had to leap to catch food. After the cat caught its meal, it must also climb up to the tree. This is as the cat is both predator and prey. The strong foot helps the cat to carry a heavy load relative to its body size. Since it can jump, the cat can travel from one tree to another without practically touching the ground. The present-day reality is of course much different. Domestic cats have no requirement to hunt for food. They get readymade nutritious and tasty food. All their jumping and fast-moving activities are a relic of ages long past.
A majority of domestic cats can jump up to about six times its height. This means, for all practical purposes, about six feet. To an observer, the cat does not jump, it levitates. A cat has an extremely graceful jump and it is a beautiful sight to see the animal soar. The physics involved in this feat is a remarkable one. The animal has strong legs and a flexible spine. All these means they can release powerful bursts of energy at one shot. All this takes a little preparation. This is why the cat hesitates before it jumps. The animal is calculating its chances and preparing itself accordingly.