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.