A cat’s spine can rotate more than the spines of most other animals, and their vertebrae have a special, flexible, elastic cushioning on the disks, which gives it even more flexibility. A flexible spine also contributes to the speed and grace of cats.
When cats run, their backs contract and extend to give them maximum stride. Their shoulder blades are not attached with bone, but with muscle, and this gives a cat even greater extension and speed. It is also the reason why cats can get themselves into tiny spaces, as they can squeeze their shoulders very tightly together.
Cats can jump from a seated position, nine times their height. Their flexible spines and shoulders, and great spring in their legs, are the reasons for this ability.
When cats run, they increase their stride by extending their backs and can stride at least three times their own body length. And when they fall from a high position, they have the ability to re-align their bodies and land safely. Hence the adage that cats have nine lives.
Cats need all these added advantages as in the wild they are pure predators, the premier predators in fact. And, their ability to find food for themselves and their families requires a supreme agility and the ability to run fast from a starting position. They also need the flexibility to change direction on the proverbial dime, and this they have as well.
Cats will forever remain one of our most fascinating creatures to behold. And the common house cat has all these abilities as well. Their flexibility can, so often, cause our hearts to sing, as we watch them sleep in the most coiled up positions. There is still a bit of the wild predator in the house cat, and that is one of the reasons we are so attracted to them. They are unpredictable in ways that dogs are not, and in that way, keep us on our toes.