Every part of the cat body is adapted for instant action and perfectly balanced movement. All cats-even the heaviest, like a lion and the tiger, are extremely agile and can leap with great power, although they cannot run very fast over any distance,Their Agility and strength is essential, because all cats kill their prey by stalking and then pouncing onto the animal’s back and biting its neck. The muscles and bones of the chest and neck are particularly powerful, and the ligaments very flexible. Unlike many other carnivores, the cat has collarbones, which prevents it from it from jarring its shoulders when it leaps from a height The shoulder blades are placed well on the side of the deep chest, which helps the cat to climb, and most of the weight is carried on the forelimbs. Cats that Climb trees, like the leopard, have long tails, which help them to balance. All cats walk on their toes and their feet have thick, soft pads so they can move quietly.
All cats can jump, like other animals, they do this by ﬂexing and relaxing the \ muscles of the limbs and the bad: while at the same time balancing ‘with the tail. The cat differs from other jumping animals in that it is able to pinpoint its landing position with great accuracy. This is a necessity for a hunter of small, fast-moving prey.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
All cubs and kittens have to exercise their limbs and pains seem too big for its body,p practicing running and stalking and will soon be as lithe as its mother.
UP A GUMTREE
All kittens have to learn to climb. At first, just like children, they are frightened of falling and are not good judges of their own capabilities Kittens often venture too far up a tree or onto a roof and are then terrified of going on or back. After a few misadventures and false starts, however, all but the timidest take the plunge earthward and land on their feet.
This cat shows how it can walk along the top of a high, narrow fence without concern. It places its paws one in front of the other and is never in danger of falling.
LU NGIN G LEO
A big cat is so powerful that it can kill with one lunge of a paw. This lion knows its strength and would usually never hurt another member of its pride.
When a cat runs, it pushes off with both back legs a! the same time to achieve maximum forward movement, but places the front paws down separately, although in quick succession This famous sequence by Eadweard Muybridge was taken in 1887, and clearly shows how a cat moves its limbs when running.
All cats can probably swim if they have to, but few seem to enjoy it. The tiger is an exception. A good swimmer, it spends a fair amount of time in or near water. Tigers living in the tropical
rainforests of Asia use water as a way of keeping cool.
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