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Why Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?: 101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Feline Unfathomables, Medical Mysteries and Befuddling Behaviors [Kindle Edition]

Marty Becker D.V.M.
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Book Description

  Is My Cat Crazy?

If only it were that simple! But the fact is that your cat is very sensible indeed—about cat things. She knows how to scratch upright surfaces, cough up hairballs, send messages with her pee, and party all night. To the feline mind, these are the stuff of everyday life—as important as sleeping all day and grooming for several hours using nothing but your tongue.

Your clever kitty knows you very well (after all, she sits and stares at you when you're in the bathroom). But how well do you know her? Find out why cats knead against us, the best way to hold a cat, how cats can jump onto your kitchen counters without even a running start, why they chew on your sweaters.

Award-winning pet experts Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori explain the ins and outs of the feline psyche. Because the better you understand cats, the easier it is to love the kitty on your couch. Can you teach an old cat new tricks? You bet! Expecting a baby? It's perfectly okay to keep your cat. What about kittens? You'll find everything you always wanted to know about feline sex but were afraid to ask.

Your cat's not crazy, but she can be mysterious. Did you know cats can tell time? They talk with their tails and walk on their toes. And there are even rumors that some cats are descendents of space aliens. It's no wonder the ancient Egyptians were not the only ones who worshipped them.

You'll also find the answers to questions that tend to tickle your curiosity: Why do cats' eyes glow in the dark? What's in catnip that makes kitties so silly? Can curiosity really kill a cat?

You've got questions? This book's got answers. Do cats always land on their feet? Find out!

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marty Becker, D.V.M., 'America's Favorite Vet,' was named Veterinarian of the Year in 2002. He is regularly featured on ABC-TV's, Good Morning America, writes a weekly column for over 500 Knight Ridder newspapers, and coauthored several of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul books for cat- and dog-lovers. He lives in Idaho.

Gina Spadafori is a nationally syndicated pet-care columnist and top-selling author of Dogs For Dummies, and co-author of Cats For Dummies and Birds For Dummies. She lives in northern California in a decidedly multispecies home.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Do cats always land on their feet?

Not always. But they'll sure try. Cats are the perfect small predator, just as comfortable stalking a squirrel from tree to tree as they are chasing a wiggly piece of ribbon across the carpet. They've evolved with some nifty high-rise survival skills, including the ability to grab onto a branch with retractable crampons if they lose their footing. And if that doesn't work, they have that awe-inspiring ability to right themselves in midair so they can stick a perfect four-point landing.

This nifty feat would put any Olympic gymnast to shame. A falling cat will instinctively try to right himself from head to tail, first rotating his head into the proper position (to spot the ground just like all those crazy acrobats do on the X Games whether they're on skis, snowboards, bikes or skateboards) and then sequentially spiraling the rest of his body so all his feet are oriented to the ground. As the body gains the right position, the cat will spread his legs in a sort of flying-squirrel fashion and 1 relax his muscles in anticipation of landing. Spreading the impact over four points is considerably better than hitting on one, and a cat's cushy joints enable him to absorb a lot more impact than we mere humans can.

A cat's ability to rotate in midair isn't a fool-proof strategy for surviving the perils of modern living, however. Veterinarians have long noted and studied what's called high-rise syndromeùthe tendency cats have of being better able to survive falls from greater heights than lower ones. The most dangerous falls are from between two and six stories. Amazingly enough, a few urban cats have survived falls of up to thirty stories, albeit with severe injuriesùbroken legs and jaws, and collapsed lungs.

The difference may well be the cat's ability to set himself up for the best possible landing, in the way that all cats having been doing for generations. You see, that "rotate and relax" maneuver takes time to implement. From the lower floors, it's thought a cat hasn't enough time to prepare himself for impact by getting himself in proper landing position. From the highest floors, the fall's too great to survive. In between, however, is a margin of survivability for the cat who lands on his feet. Urban veterinarians say they start seeing cats who've fallen out of windows and off balconies in the spring, when people are anxious to enjoy the nice weather and open their windows. Cats aren't stupid, but it's really not in their nature to understand the implications of being twenty stories up. They don't think about it, and go about their business as always. Some cats simply lose their footing walking on a narrow balcony railing, while others jump after a moving object such as a bird. Hundreds of cats are killed or injured each year in falls. It's best not to test a cat's ability to land on his feet.

The answer is an easy one: Buy screens! That way, the cat can't get out easily and the bugs can't get in.

Product Details

  • File Size: 340 KB
  • Print Length: 239 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0757305733
  • Publisher: Health Communications (September 16, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001OD41K2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,487 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who'd a Thunk It? September 11, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It may be that all cats really want is a warm place to snooze and a nice little bowl of food twelve times a day, but I suspect that's not true and when we tell ourselves that, we're just trying to comfort ourselves for the harsh reality which is that cats are actually just as complex and yes, unfathomable, as we think they are.

So, these authors get that, and don't try to sugar coat it. They admit it, they explain it, they move on.

I don't know as much about cats as I do about dogs, partly because of the aforementioned unfathomability of the feline, and partly because I can pick them up and move them around and thus have had to spend less time delving into their psyches. So I assumed these authors would ask questions I'd never thought of and know more stuff, too.

And they did.

What I didn't expect is that they'd make me laugh. A lot.

Just because cats are deep doesn't mean you can't find that funny. Being befuddled can be kinda fun.

Great gift book for cat lovers, too.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST LOVE CATS! September 17, 2006
This could not be a more perfect gift for cat lovers! I read it in one sitting and laughed out loud all the way to the end AND I learned a lot along the way! Fabulous information communicated in a witty and captivating manner! And yes, it is true, CAT'S RULE! Another amazing book by my favorite author, Dr. Marty Becker! I highly recommend this book; it'll put a smile on your face! Bravo!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why in the world do they do that? December 15, 2006
So you are a cat lover, do you ever wonder about their peculiar behavior that they sometimes have? Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori do an excellent job of explaining some of the mysteries of cats. They pick out questions that you have always wondered about and they give good explanations.

My favorite explanation was why do cats always pick out the non cat person and go up to them in a room. They do this because all of us cat people stare and look at the cat, this can be viewed as threatening to the cat. It is the person that dislikes cats that is ignoring them, and therefore not a threat to the cat. So who will the cat visit first? The cat will visit the least threatening person first.

There are many other cat mysteries that are answered in this book. I would highly recommend this book to you, or to the cat lover in your life. There are 101 questions that are answered in this book, questions like do cats like milk, can tylenol kill a cat, and can cats tell time. This book is enjoyable and provides insight into the mysterious world of cats.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Marty Becker, DVM, and Gina Spadafori. I had many, many questions about feline behavior and was lucky enough to stumble upon this book at the local bookstore. It is very, very funny and extremely informative. It is well written and covers just about any questions you may have about your kitty cat! I would recommend this book highly to anybody who owns a cat or is considering adoping/buying a cat!! I especially loved the humor the authors put into the book. It was a hoot to read! ENJOY!!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great little gift this would be! September 17, 2006
Like its companion book, "Why do dogs drink out of the toilet?", this book is a very easy read, yet contains serious information. I plan to order several copies to take as inexpensive "surprise gifts" when I visit my friends that love their cats & dogs, as a "thank you", or for holiday stocking stuffers. Although the style is light, the panel of experts that has weighed in on the questions reads like a "Who's Who" of vets and animal behavior specialists.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If anybody understands cats, these people do August 25, 2006
Though I'm mainly a dog lover, I've also had cats for more than twenty years. Though I love them as well, I find them at once mysterious, affectionate, aloof and seemingly arrogant. The authors thoroughly researched yet amazingly accessible book sheds much light on these enigmatic animals. I came away with a new love and respect for cats. This book would make a great gift to your cat-loving friends. Or, pour yourself a bowl of milk and curl up for a good read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight-forward and humorous September 20, 2006
The writers of this book got it right. They have presented some pretty complex information in an extremely easy-to-digest format and made if fun to read. There's no pretentiousness in the prose yet I didn't feel like it was dumbed down either. It was a quick read that left me satisfied.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purrrfect! September 3, 2006
If you are the owner of a cat who thinks she rules your household, I can assure you that this book will interest you! Dr. Becker has a knack for not only answering pet questions with scientific accuracy (since he's a veterinarian), but with humor and realism, as he has many pets in his own family. He knows what it's like to have a cat demand to sleep under his covers :)

The issues that are discussed in the book are enlightening, and I couldn't stop reading once I started. For instance, on the subject of why cats hate to be in water Dr. Becker replies (in part), "They're perfectly capable of swimming, and in fact cats are good swimmers. But they seem to know that it not only makes them look silly, but also requires at least an hour of careful and determined grooming to get every hair back in place and restore a cat's dignity and scent to normal levels."

If you know anything about cats, that will strike a chord with you since we all know their dignity is top priority! If you love cats, I recommend you get this book. It will not only answer your many (and varied) questions, but will tickle your funny bone in the process.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really interesting book; learned a lot!!!
Published 3 days ago by Steve Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book..
This book is excellent reading and I've learned a lot. I would recommend this book to any cat lover!! Buy it!!
Published 10 months ago by Suzanne Slack
5.0 out of 5 stars Cats are amazing
I have had cats my entire life, which spans several decades! I learned a lot and enjoyed this book thoroughly! High recommend it.
Published 18 months ago by Terry Morse
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and amusing
While I knew most of this information, I learned a few new things, and the book was amusing and entertaining.
Published 22 months ago by Tova Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book!
It's a fun and interesting read. Done in a simple format; you do not have to read it from front to back. You can pick any page or search for a specific topic. Read more
Published 22 months ago by A. Edelbi
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
full of all sorts of great information about cats. Highly recommend it if you really want to know more about your cat
Published 22 months ago by Musia
4.0 out of 5 stars Cats and understanding them
We recently (April of this year) adopted a himilayan cat and I had lots of questions regarding cats. Read more
Published 23 months ago by suzieq
4.0 out of 5 stars Trivial Pursuit: Cats Edition
An alternate title for this book could be "Trivial Pursuit: Cats Edition". All those weird little things cats do get explained here: what exactly is a hairball, why do cats eyes... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Laurie A. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars love my baby kitties
Interesting to know what cats do what they do! I love my two babies and understanding them is great. Easy read also.
Published on November 7, 2012 by ashlee
4.0 out of 5 stars quick read.
Nice book. Some very interesting facts.
Cover to cover in less than 1 hour.
I would recommend this for any cat lover but don't expect too much.
Published on May 25, 2012 by S Pettersen
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More About the Author

Dr. Marty Becker, "America's Veterinarian," is the popular veterinary contributor to ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" and lead veterinary expert for He is a founding member of Core Team Oz and the resident veterinarian on "The Dr. Oz Show." He is a contributor to Parade magazine and and a nationally syndicated pet-care expert. He's also a practicing veterinarian in north Idaho. He is the author of many top-selling books on pet-care, including "Chicken Soup for the Pet-Lover's Soul," "The Healing Power of Pets" and both "Your Cat: The Owner's Manual" and "Your Dog: The Owner's Manual."


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