Slow Motion Flipping Cat Physics | Smarter Every Day 58

Hey it’s me Destin Welcome back to SmarterEveryDay So you’ve probably observed that cats almost always land on their feet Today’s question is why. Like most simple questions there’s a very complex answer For instance let me reword this question How does a cat go from feet up To feet down In a falling reference frame without violating the conservation of angular momentum Now I’ve studied free falling bodies, my own in fact in several different environments and once i get my angular rotation started in one direction, I can’t stop it. Today, we’re going to use a high speed camera- we’re not going to use Alley because this is my daughter’s cat, i don’t want to hurt it- we’re going to use a stunt cat let me introduce you to Gi-Gi the stunt cat (music) I’ll just flip the uh, the video vertical and then motion track the cat it’s just going to take a lot more effort in post We’re going to try to do it in a way that doesn’t make anybody mad That’s pretty hard to do. You gotta drop the cat Ready Gi-Gi? Good kitty Checking out the high speed data there Gi-Gi? Ok the first thing a cat does when it’s falling is try to figure out which way is up. It does this either with the gyro in the ear or with its eyes Ready to talk cat physics? Alright. So check out this footage i captured with the Phantom Miro While Gi-Gi goes to get a drink of water. So here’s what’s interesting about this to me. You’ll notice that at the beginning of the drop the cat is not rotating halfway through the drop the cat is rotating and at the very end Gi-Gi somehow stopped rotating Newton’s law says an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an external force I see no external forces on this cat So what’s happening here? It’s not making sense to me O.K. so in order to really get the right data we’re going to have to drop her 90 degrees out of phase. Atta girl This time watch her tail 3 2 1

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100 thoughts on “Slow Motion Flipping Cat Physics | Smarter Every Day 58

  1. Thanks for this. Er, apart from the fact that for 30 years as a physics teacher I taught my high school kids that it was the, now disproven, idea of the counter rotating tail which allowed the motion! Ah well, good job I’m retired.

  2. If cats always land on their feet, and bread always lands butter-side down, what happens if you strap your bread (butter-side up) to the back of a cat?

  3. So like the saying toast lands butter side up. What if you strapped a piece of buttered up toast to a cat? 🤔

  4. Also kind of cool how they splay their toes out right before impact. Guessing that's to absorb the shock better.

  5. I tried to hold my cat like that..

    It ripped out my nose piercing and burried it's claws into me I ended out with a 17 stitches in my arm.. 😐

  6. I don't recall if I commented before but the reversed slo-mo looks just like a trampoline maneuver called "Seat-half-twist-seat". You can bounce sitting ("L" shaped) then rise into a full vertical position with your arms swinging up over your head. Then, you spin when they are vertical over your head. The momentum of your arms moving in a circle appears to allow a torque on your body which gets reversed to stop the rotation when you spin after the half-twist.

  7. I read once that toast always lands butter side down and cats always land on their feet so what would happen if you strap toast to a cats back?

  8. “We’re not gonna use Ally because this is my daughters cat, and I don’t want to hurt it”

    yeets the cat 0:33

  9. Just wanted to suggest another thing cats can do that is pretty remarkable. We had a cat when we lived at Lake Tahoe. He love to climb trees and scratch with his claws. I decided to see what would happen if I tossed the cat to the tree. Naturally he caught it with ease. But one time I kinda mess up and he ended up in a bit of a spin. But before he got to the tree, only about 4 feet, he was able to get himself turned and latch on. I decided to call this game Stick Cat. It wasn't mean any more than dropping the cat upside down.
    That was pretty cool, but I thought about trying other things, so I did what you were don't over a couch. I did it from shorter and shorter distance until he couldn't make the transition. Less than a foot, back of upside down cat to the couch. Amazing. Like your cat, he didn't seem to mind, more like he enjoyed the attention.

  10. im not that angry because you are doing this for an experiment and you put safety and im like the biggest cat lover ever

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