How Fast Can a Cat Run?

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While wild cats such as the famously fleet-footed cheetah can reach incredible speeds of 70 miles per hour, domestic cats can hold their own with speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.

House cats are also built to run fast. At top speeds, a cat’s back legs work as a single unit, as do their front legs. When running, cats’ backs arch so much that their back legs reach beyond their front legs. This motion causes a cat to become airborne in between each stride. However, they cannot do this for longer than a minute, as their body overheats.

As a point of comparison, the fastest known human, the Jamaican Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt, tops out at 30 miles per hour. Mr. Bolt set a world record with a 100-meter sprint during which he reached an average speed of 30 miles per hour. This means that domestic cats are on par with the world’s fastest human and other animals such as the white-tailed deer, the warthog and the grizzly bear.