How High Can Domestic Cats Jump?

Let’s jump straight in. If you’ve ever owned a cat you will know about their amazing ability to leap onto, off of and across objects. It seems nothing is off limits for cats, they find their way onto shelves, cupboards and fridges with relative ease but how high can they jump?

According to National Geographic’s Science of Stupid cats can jump up to six times their own height. When they jump they begin in a crouching position and this allows their powerful back legs to propel them up into the air, gaining great height.

Why Are Cats So Good at Jumping?

There’s no doubt that a cat is far better suited to jumping than dogs or humans. They are nimble, graceful and can jump with great accuracy… Although, that doesn’t mean they always land on their feet.

A research article in the Journal of Experimental Biology reported that it is the muscles of a cats back legs and the length of their limbs that makes them so good at jumping.

Although the average healthy cat is able to jump up to six times their height in one jump – this is around 8 foot or 2.4 metres!

Small, old or unwell cats of course will not be able to jump that high but for average sized healthy cats 2.4 metres is achievable.

Just like anything, practice makes perfect so kittens will often jump around strengthening their muscles and fine tuning their skills. Not all cats enjoy jumping and some are far happier with all four paws securely on the ground.

What’s the World Highest Jump by a Cat?

Although there is no official highest jump for cats, the Guinness World Records does include the longest jump by a cat which was 213.36 cm (7ft).

The world record for the highest standing jump by a human was 1.628 metres which is only slightly higher than a house cat can jump which is impressive considering the average cat is only 20 – 25cm tall.

Why Are Cats So Much Better at Jumping Than Dogs?

Cats and dogs have different body shapes and abilities. Even if your dog could jump as high as your cat, dogs are more likely to land awkwardly as cats are able to twist in the air to better ensure they land properly. Your dog will probably not only land awkwardly but also knock over any nearby furniture when trying to jump high.

Dogs and cats have evolved from completely different backgrounds and because of this they have different survival requirements. Cats are slender, quiet and nimble while dogs are affectionate, strong and powerful. As an example, it’s likely you wouldn’t take your cat running around the block but you would take your dog.

These differences contribute to their jumping abilities too. Cats have powerful back legs that handle the cats weight and allows them to launch themselves far higher than a dog is able to.

Not only this, cats are natural climbers; their claws allow them to climb up trees and they can effortlessly leap back down to the ground. You don’t often see dogs scaling trees or jumping from worktop to worktop.

What Can Cats Jump Over?

If you are trying to keep your cat out of certain rooms or contained in a particular area, it is good to know what they are capable of jumping over.

Your cat will be able to jump over a stair gate or baby gate with ease, in fact, they may even be able to jump over garden fences. Although they will often choose to climb wooden structures rather than jump over them, they can clear smaller fences in one leap if they need to.

Living with a Cat That Loves to Leap

If you live with a cat that loves to jump, be up high and leap around the house, keep these tips in mind:

Keep valuables out of the way e.g. vases and fragile objects that can be knocked off of shelves

Keep the counters clear of temptation (particularly tasty food)

Invest in a cat tree so your cat can sit up high without climbing up furniture

What if a Human Could Jump as High as a Cat?

If humans had the same abilities as cats when it comes to jumping a 6-foot man would be able to jump an incredible 36 feet (6 times their height)!

When you think of it like that, cats are pretty astonishing aren’t they?

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