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How Fast Can A Domestic Cat Run?

How Fast Can A Domestic Cat Run?

I don’t know about you, but when I come home, I usually find my can lounging on the sofa or enjoying a nice view from the windowsill.

Sure, it’s a great jumper and will go nuts if it sees a mouse or any other tempting prey. Otherwise, it may be odd to think about our feline friends as great and skillful runners.

Wild cats like cheetahs, cougars, and tigers are exceptional runners and athletes, but, what about our house cats?

How fast can a domestic cat run?

Let’s find out this answer and see what you can expect from your kitty.

How Fast Domestic Cats Can Run?

white cat running

While some house cats love to spend time napping and just relaxing on their cat tree, they’re actually very good runners.

On average, a domestic cat can reach speeds of 20 to 25 miles per hour, with 30 miles per hour being the upper limit for some.

While it’s true that our cats nowadays sleep and nap a lot, they still have many of their natural instincts. Running fast is one of them. 

PetMD explains how most adult cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours per day. Chasing after prey is actually the reason why your cat needs to sleep this much. They conserve their energy to be able to run fast after their prey.

Of course, not every cat has the same running abilities. There are important factors that can influence this, like a cat’s age, breed, health, and level of physical exercise.

What Makes Cats Run Fast?

An athletic body and the ability to rotate their spines make cats very flexible.

This flexibility is further enhanced by their capacity to elongate their spines, effectively narrowing their bodies.

Since they’re so flexible, this also helps them greatly in running. Their elastic discs allow cats to stretch their spines so well that it can increase their speed.

Another helpful circumstance here are a cat’s claws, which provide traction when a cat pushes off the ground to be able to run.

How Long Can Domestic Cats Run Fast?

While domestic cats are fast, they can’t run for too long. Usually, they can go about 50 to 100 meters and this is when they need a break.

So, you should know that it’s entirely normal for your cat to look ready to run really fast, but, expect to not see it sprinting for too long.

What Are The Fastest Cat Breeds?

Egyptian Mau

A cat’s age and its lifestyle circumstances can affect its ability to run fast.

For instance, a cat that’s allowed to go outside and that often chases after prey such as rodents or spiders, is likely to be in a better shape than a strictly indoor cat that doesn’t have so many opportunities to hunt.

Still, some breeds are, in general, considered to be faster than others.

The Egyptian Mau holds the distinction of being the fastest domestic cat breed, effortlessly reaching speeds of around 30 miles per hour. This cat is very agile and athletic. Besides running fast, it’s also capable of jumping six feet in the air from a standing position. 

The Savannah cat is another fast runner. This is no wonder considering it was developed by crossing the African serval with a domesticated cat. 

The Savannah is another athletic breed that’s just crazy about hunting and chasing. This cat requires plenty of activities to be able to spend its enormous energy.

If you would like your future cat to run really fast, then the Abyssinians is also a good choice. This cat looks like it just came out of the woods and has a striking wild-cat appearance. Its long, muscular, and lean build makes the Abysninans a magnificent runner.

The orange cat breed named Somali is also a breed known to run fast. Thanks to its athletic body, this cat can stay active much longer than an average house cat.

Together with adoring to jump high, the Oriental Shorthair is another great runner. This breed is a natural athlete that will keep you active, too with its exercise requirements.

Is It Normal For A Cat Not To Be Able To Run Fast?

cat running in grass

Most cats should run fast – they just need a nice opportunity to show you this ability.

However, there are some exceptions here.

Lazy cat breeds like the American Shorthair or Birman may just not want to bother to run. They find napping on a sofa next to you like a far more pleasant activity than running around!

However, there are some physical conditions that prevent cats from running fast. For instance, breeds such as the Persian and Himalayan, known for their brachycephalic (flat-faced) characteristics, often struggle in this regard. 

According to Great Pet Care, due to their unique facial structure, these cats are prone to respiratory infections and breathing difficulties. Therefore, they’re pretty limited when it comes to running activities.

There are also other health issues that can prevent a cat from running fast, such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, or patellar luxation.

If your cat used to run fast and now seems to be avoiding it, it would be best to schedule a vet appointment. Since they’re so good at hiding pain, sometimes we need to observe our cats’ behavior carefully to find out what’s bothering them.


A house cat’s average running speed is about 20 to 25 miles per hour. The fastest domestic breeds like the Egyptian Mau, Savannah, and Abyssinians can run up to 30 miles per hour.

Our feline friends are able to run fast thanks to their athletic build. Still, some cats are prevented from running fast due to breathing issues or joint pain.

Age and lifestyle are also important factors that determine whether a cat can run fast.

In the end, we can conclude that, most likely, even your cat seems to be a couch potato occasionally – if it has a chance to run fast after prey, it definitely will!