08/11/2014 09:55 am ET

Weightlessness Throws These Cats For A Loop

When they fall, cats are almost always able to land on their feet--a remarkable phenomenon scientists call the aerial righting reflex.

But what happens when felines are tossed into the air in a weightless environment? Their reflexes are -- quite literally -- thrown for a loop. Just check out the vintage video above, which YouTube user John Roash posted online on Aug. 8, 2014.

The video comes from the U.S. Air Force film Bioastronautics Research and has been linked to "subgravity" research conducted in the late 1950s.

Considering that the video features cats and the strange world of weightlessness, YouTube user Will Atkinson commented, "This video was scientifically engineered for the Internet."

Before humans ventured into space, NASA and the U.S. Air Force tested the effects of weightlessness on animals like cats, and even birds, reported in 2011. In fact, a similar video has been unearthed showing weightless pigeons.

Some viewers of the YouTube video have decried the experiments: "I think scientific study into space exploration should be one of the prime focuses of humanity," YouTube user Chester Mcginty commented on the video. "But to subject some harmless cats to such a brutal experiment is unconscionable."

You decide.



Animals In Space