What causes cats to land on their sides? I've a tabby who recently fell from sizeable height (approx 6 meters) on his side. I'm seeking potential causes to this.

Codicil: I should add he's just above a year old, and mostly an indoor cat.

  • Is the cat elderly? A lot of things can affect the self-righting reflex: arthritis, injury, balance problems, sight problems, other neurological problems, perhaps even obesity. If you can, get the cat to a vet, especially if the problem persists.
    – Mick
    Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 16:03
  • the added information in your question do limit the possibilities i mention in my answer a lot,if your cat looks and behave normaly now it is probably nothing to be worried about. Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 11:13
  • He's been a bit timorous to jumping any height since then but besides that he's been normal. Thanks for responding! Commented Dec 25, 2017 at 11:37
  • 1
    What on earth did your cat fall off -- 6 meters is a 2 story house!? Commented Dec 29, 2017 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


It can be hard to find the reason for a cat to land on its side and if your cat continues to land wrong or have problems with walking and jumping or have problems with the coordination, these are some possibilities.

  • It can be neurological.

  • The cat might have eaten something toxic, like a plant; lots of flowers and common houseplants are poisonous to cats.

  • If your cat is an outdoor cat it might have been drinking antifreeze from a car's cooling system; this is a common cause for poisoning in cats (antifreeze can drip from a parked car and cats or other animals might drink it).

  • Some people use poisoned bait to get rid of pests, so if a cat eats this it might be poisoned.

  • If a cat is hunting prey and this prey is poisoned, your cat might be poisoned.

  • Your cat might have kidney problems and this might cause problems with the cat's balance if toxins builds up in your cat.

  • The cat might have had a stroke or a blood clot in the brain.

  • A cat might have a tumor in the brain and this might cause it.

So you have to take the cat to a vet for bloodtesting and possible x-rays.

So as you see this might be serious, but I hope it is not; a cat's balance is what they are famous for.

I know this sounds very negative, but this is not my intention with this answer; but if a cat lands on its side after falling 5-6 meters it is obviously something wrong. In a short fall a cat might not have time to right itself, but I do not think this is the case here.

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