No Olympian Could Ever Match The Athleticism Of Your Cat

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on August 5, 2016

The individuals chosen to compete in the Olympic Games are among the strongest, most talented athletes our species has to offer. Lucky for them they only allow humans to enter the events. Your cat’s natural ability to run, jump and maneuver would send even the most skilled Olympians running from the stadium with their tails between their legs.


Sure, some house cats aren’t exactly the picture of athletic prowess with their saggy bellies and propensity for napping; but inside each feline lies the potential for speed any track star would envy. Most exceptional athletes clock in around 22 mph – and that’s after a lifetime of rigorous conditioning. An average fit, healthy feline can easily top out at 30 mph with little more motivation than a fleeing rodent.


You may think that having four legs gives cats the advantage they need to smoke us in a foot race, but there’s more to it than that. After all, the two legs we humans do have are exceptionally long compared to a kitty’s. So why can’t we keep up? It comes down to muscle force and flexibility.


The limbs of a feline are extremely muscular and exert incredible force on the ground as they run. Their spines are capable of a wide range of arching and straightening allowing for a powerful, flexible gait. Just take a look at this clip of Julinka the Cat sprinting across a field. The feline body is quite literally built for speed.

How about jumping? Human high jumpers and acrobats seem to have the ability to fly, but they are often aided by poles, ropes or swings. The current world record for the high jump is 8.04 feet. The athlete who accomplished this feat stands 6’5″ tall, meaning he leapt just over 19 inches beyond his own height.


Your cat makes this record seem pitiful by comparison. The average house cat can leap more than 5 feet into the air unaided and from a complete standstill. For an animal that stands less than 2 feet tall, that is pretty impressive! More powerful felines may be capable of reaching up to 7 times their own height in a single leap. I’d like to see an Olympian achieve that in Rio!

When it comes to agility, any human who could duck, weave and maneuver as well as a cat could basically write their own contract to the NFL. If only cats had big enough paws to grasp a football! Athletes competing in sports like basketball and soccer also show some pretty impressive moves, but they could never match the grace and maneuverability of a feline.


The musculature of their limbs combined with their long, elegant shape and powerful tails make a scampering cat the very portrait of agility. Tiny muscle groups running along their flexible spines add to their grace. This astonishing video from BeyondSlowMotion showcases some average kitties performing jaw dropping maneuvers just for the fun of it.

So when you snuggle up on the couch with your cat to watch the world’s most impressive human athletes compete for the gold this summer, remember, that purring ball of fur by your side could easily top them all!

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