Exploring Pip’s aeronautical hops

Pip, my family’s ornery cat, is a jumper. That hardly warrants a mention more importantly an entire column. But in my defense, my family has never owned a feline that showed any interest in aeronautics. Both Abby and Baily, our previous cats, preferred to keep their paws on the floor.

What I find so interesting is the physical reasons why Pip can jump like he does.

According to Ipetcompanion.com, Pip’s jumping prowess comes from his powerful hind legs and flexible spinal column.

On average, an adult cat can jump around 5 to 6 times his height. An average cat’s height is 12 inches, so on average, a cat could jump as high as 6 feet. Pip is 14 inches in height. According to the experts he could possibly jump higher than the average.

In The Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers explained how high Pip can jump by measuring the length of his back legs. The longer the back legs the higher a cat can jump. Pip’s back legs are at least 8 inches long. I said “least” because the cat kept playing with the tape measure so the measurement could be off. The bottom line is that Pip is one tall feline.

Finally, muscle strength and age are also important. The two-year-old’s younger age and strong back legs give him the strength to jump high.

In our kitchen, we have a florist’s flower can that is filled not with fresh cut flowers but a dozen of Pip’s wand toys. His favorites. When we twirl one around Pip jumps after it. The flexible feline performs perfects loops in the air as he tries to catch the end of ribbon, tail of a worm or the feathers of a bird.

We always know when Pip is about to jump. First, he backs into a crouch. He closely studies his prey. Just before he leaps in the air, he wiggles his hips and raises his front paws. His back legs thrust him into the air.

My friend Vickie, who lives in Englewood, had a black and white tuxedo cat named, Isis. She, too, was a highflyer.

When Vickie twilled a feather toy around the room the sassy cat would leap for it. Nothing unusual about that. Most cats leap after toys. Isis would leap so high her back paws would routinely touch the living room’s 7½ foot ceiling.

The high-flying cat wasn’t always the most graceful lander, so Vickie had to be careful to twirl the feather toy in open areas of the room to avoid the sharp ends of tables and chairs.

Mary, another cat who loved feather toys, lived with my friend, Regina, in Uniontown, Ohio. The gray tabby loved crawling into things and being a pest.

Mary also liked looking at her yard from a higher elevation than the yard and it’s surrounding foliage provided. Twice, Regina found the cat sitting on the roof of the ranch style home. Apparently, the feisty feline had jumped from the house’s railing to the roof. Regina placed a ladder against the house, figuring if the cat had found a way to get up there, she would find a way to use the ladder when she was ready to come back down.

And Mary, the cat, did.


To measure a cat’s height, locate the tallest point on its back, between its shoulder blades, and measure its height from this point to the floor.

SOURCE: Ipetcompanion.com

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