If you think that your beloved cat is lazy, you are completely wrong. It is true that cats sleep about 20 hours a day – this is a normal day regimen for all cats including the wild predators. Still, the cats are strong and active when they are not asleep, being able to jump high and run fast. They are able to chase down their prey for a long time. Are you surprised and interested in the subject? We hope so. How fast can a house cat run? We are going to answer this question in the article.
How fast can a cat run?
Let’s reveal the cards from the very beginning. The domestic cat is able to run up to 30 mph. Are cats faster than dogs? This is an average performance and if you know this rate in dogs, you surely get surprised even more, because many of them run much slower. Of course, we should consider a long range of factors influencing the result like breed, health status, and even gender. The cat may have various reasons to run and motivation does matter being able to increase a running speed.
As far as domestic cat breeds are bred for particular purposes, the athletic ability may differ a lot. We should mention athletic ones known as the Egyptian Mau and Bengal which are real sprinters. They have flexible spines and steady paws with strong claws providing the needed stability when they run. They run in brief bursts covering about 70 m in one go. Usually this distance is enough to catch prey like a mouse. The Egyptian Mau is considered the fastest house cat. Also, we’d regard the Abyssinian, Siamese, Savannah, Oriental, and some others as the cats, which are full of energy, have strong muscular bodies and stunning running abilities. On the contrary, the breeds like the Maine Coon and Persians are not quick at all for different reasons.
It is clear that pets at various ages differ from each other with physiological abilities, including running skills. Being very young, a cat is still developing, its body is growing. Thus it will hardly be very fast. But a cat in its early adulthood is able to show its best abilities. The cats of about 2 years old can be considered as a developed animal with a strong enduring body. Here we may speak about the pick performance which will last up to 4 years of age as minimum.
The studies prove that not only cats but humans also have speed differences between male and females. The reason is in athletic capabilities including muscular strength. Of course the significant difference of the bodies of a man and a woman may impact running skills. Usually the men are stronger. But when we speak about cats there are the opposite results. For example, a lion is slower compared with a lioness.
But probably the most important issue is health, which affects running speed very much. If a cat is sick, it will be weak and will not be able to reach even an average running speed. It can be a sign because cats hide their illnesses and behave as usual in everyday life, but if a cat is not able to run, it can indicate its poor health. Just track its behavior and if you find other symptoms, which you cannot explain, you’d better go to the veterinarian.
And at last let’s find out what can motivate a cat to run. For wild cats the best motivation is the food. They have to survive and chase prey. Another reason to run quickly is running away from their enemies. House cats may behave in the same manner, running from someone even when playing or trying to catch a bird or mice in the yard following their instincts. Are cats faster than humans? No, they are not if we compare the average performances, but if we take the fastest cat breed, it will run more quickly compared with a man.
What makes cats great runners?
Cats have everything to be fast. They can boast of a splendid aerodynamic shape of their body, reducing air resistance and improving the result. They have strong back legs pushing the body forward when they are running. The tail helps them to maintain balance and be precise in any manipulations while running. Another efficient feature is walking on toes providing cats with sudden response and readiness to spring into action in a second.
There are some more reasons:
1. Flexible Spines. Flexibility gives cats a great advantage. It can squeeze into the smallest room, extremely arch their backs and twist 180° in the air. They need to make fewer steps to reach the target.
2. Sharp Claws. The cats’ running speed is higher when they run along an earthy track than over a smooth surface like the floor made of wood. The difference is huge because cats create traction digging their claws into the soil. This ability allows them to push off and run even faster.
3. Running Gait. When a cat runs, it applies the special techniques known as “double suspension gallop” when it almost flies in the air for some short period of time improving running efficiency. Though, when it walks, it uses each foot individually.
4. Weight. The cats can boast of a slim frame and can spend less energy running. If a cat is massive, its aerodynamic features are not good and it will not be able to cover a lot of miles at a high speed.
In other words, being slim, healthy, and in danger, a cat is able to surpass a record high. If you want it to reach its running potential, you should add protein to the daily menu and regular exercise.
Why do cats run around like crazy?
There is another form of cats running. Even if they are not covering long distances to chase their prey and live in the city flat, still there are moments when they suddenly run around the rooms exceeding the possible house cat speed. This looks amazing but strange. The professionals explain this behavior by the natural instincts of the cats. They are ambush predators. They sleep a lot to accumulate the energy needed to hunt. Of course house cats do not do hunting but still they get this enormous amount of stored energy. There is the only way to spend it – they play with toys imitating chasing.
This entertainment can happen at night as far as a cat is a nocturnal animal. That is not convenient for people living in the house. You can adjust the behavior and play with a cat more during the day providing conditions to burn off its energy. This is not the only reason when suddenly a cat starts running like crazy. They behave like that when they sense other animals outside the house, or they notice a bug or even a mouse inside the house and start hunting. Cats can run between windows trying to view a bird, for instance and so on.
If a cat gets nervous and at the same time it runs around the house trying to scratch and lick its fur, it may suffer from a flea infestation. Also there is a medical condition – Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome which is not studied but it comes with short bursts of activity in a cat including crazy running around the house. Sometimes, they can shout loudly. The syndrome is not considered as a disease and is not a threat to its life or people around. Take it as a funny game.
Remember that cats are created as agile predators that is why they can imitate running down prey. These instincts are still strong in house cats which usually do not require hunting to make sure they will have the food every day, but still they are able to run reaching speeds of up to 30 mph. But do not expect your pet to run this fast when it is playing every day. As we have mentioned, this metric depends on breed, age, health status, and more. Leaving out possible medical conditions, you can enjoy those games and the excellent physical form of your pet. If you want to get an answer to a question: How fast can a cat run?”, you should find something worth running after (probably, a mouse?).