I have long held a theory about cats: for all their potential for grace, power, stealth, and general elegance, they sometimes genuinely do not have any control over their own bodies. Case in point:
It’s possible that this cat was playing G.I. Joe and wanted to do a combat roll off the couch, but that’s not the only instance of something like this happening. The much funnier version is when cats, seemingly for no reason, kick themselves in the face repeatedly and, from the looks of it, pretty damn hard.
Turns out that it’s a reflex. In the same way that some people can tickle themselves and some can’t, some cats are able to trigger this in themselves when they bend forward like that. Uncontrollable kicking occurs, and the cat often has to bite itself (as you can see) to override the nerve signals. You know how sometimes your muscles twitch uncontrollably? Pinching yourself in the same place will snap you out of it. Same thing.
But why do they do that? Well as it turns out, no one’s really studied it in detail. The leading theory seems to be that it’s a defense mechanism and hunting mechanism in one. If the cat were to track down and catch a larger piece of prey that it couldn’t subdue with its teeth alone, the idea is that it would hold the prey to its chest with its front feet and bicycle kick at it with its back feet, clawing at and possibly disemboweling the prey.
In a defensive situation, the cat could be overpowered by a larger animal, in which case the kicking mechanism might serve to free itself and get some distance from the attacker.
You can see in that gif that due to the kick and its CATLIKE REFLEXES (har har), the gray cat — who was definitely at the shitty end of that wrestling match beforehand — is damn near on its feet and ready to fight by the time the black cat hits the ground. Seems useful.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any source material for this. It’s basically just conjecture that makes sense and has thus become the consensus. Maybe the real answer is that cats are controlled by aliens that have crawled into their brains, and they kick themselves in the face in a desperate attempt to dislodge their alien overlords and regain autonomy.
In any case, it’s hilarious.