You might have seen cats jumping, taking those massive leaps now and then. But have you ever wondered how high is too high for cat jumping, or can a cat jump a 6-foot fence?
Cats are pretty athletic creatures. They can conveniently jump around and land safely, regardless of height.
In 2018, a cat named Waffle, “The Warrior Cat,” made a world record for a 7-foot horizontal jump. Now, that’s pretty amazing. But in this guide, we’ll talk about vertical jumps and how impressive a feline creature can be in this area.
So how high can cats jump? Read on to find out everything about it.
How High Can the Average Cat Jump?
An average-sized adult cat can jump 5 to 6 times its overall height. This height is measured from the ground to its shoulders. Kittens jump much smaller than that, but they still can jump.
A healthy adult cat is 12 inches or 30 cm high from the ground to the shoulders. It means that healthy domestic cats jump from 59 inches or 150 cm (4.9 feet) to 70.8 inches or 180 cm (5.9 feet).
To put it in much simpler words, it is equivalent to the jump of a 5 foot 6 inch or 167 cm individual making a jump that is around 3 stories (918 cm) high.
How can they jump so high?
Cats are pretty agile creatures, and they are made for leaping. For them, their ability to jump roots from their hind leg bones and muscles. They have long back legs and short front legs.
These longer legs give them the ability to push off with strength. This results in higher, faster, and longer jumps.
There are a couple of epochs in a cat’s jump. The first is the preparatory phase, where the animal coils its muscles like a spring. And the second one is the launching phase, where it leaps as it releases its muscles.
They can fully activate their muscle fibers when they are jumping. Humans can only start up to 40 to 50 percent of muscle fibers when we jump.
What influences a cat’s jumping ability?
Various factors are at play here. A cat’s age is the prime factor because younger cats can jump higher naturally compared to older cats. A one-year-old cat jumps in its prime.
Its height is another important factor because taller cats can jump higher than shorter cats. A cat’s height is measured from the ground to its shoulders.
The length of their behind limbs is another factor that can directly influence their ability to determine how high they can jump. Moreover, the amount of muscle mass they have is another factor that you should consider.
Certain cat breeds have a better ability to jump higher because they have more leg length and natural athleticism. For example, Munchkins can’t jump as high as Siamese or Bengal. Plus, their underlying medical conditions can influence their jumping abilities.
What is the Highest Cat Jump?
There is no official record for the highest-ever jump recorded for felines. But according to a study that evaluated muscle activity in maximum height humps, cats could get in touch with a cotton ball hanging over them at the height of 1.6 meters.
There is a video clip of that available on youtube as well. In that video clip, you can see an extraordinary jump of 6 feet 7 inches or 201 cm (79 inches). It's about 7.9 times higher than a jump made by an average cat.
Out there in the wild, mountain lions, which are also known as cougars or puma, are the best feline jumpers. Their height is 2 to 3 feet or 61 to 89 cm from the ground to the shoulders. So, they can easily jump 18 feet off the ground.
Don’t they get any ground shock?
They experience ground shock, but landing on some carpet or other softer surface can lessen that impact absorbed by their joints. Cats falling from a smaller height are more prone to experience ground shock than a cat falling from a higher point.
A cat falling from a higher point has more time to reflex and adjust to land on its feet. But there is not much time when they fall from a lower point.
How far can it fall without an injury?
The surface where your cat lands will determine how your cat gets injured. Most cats land on their feet if they fall from a few feet.
For height points, a cat not only uses its righting reflex but also applies its limbs like a flying squirrel to reduce the velocity as much as possible. They can survive a high fall, but that doesn't mean they get out of it without getting injured.
Why Do Cats Jump & Climb?
Cats prefer to position themselves in an elevation where they can assess their environment. They do so to stay out of potential dangers.
It highlights the importance of providing cats with cat trees and perches. They use them to jump and get a bigger picture of the environment from a vantage point. Therefore, they like to climb and watch their surroundings from a height.
Cats with access to the outdoors can climb and jump when hunting or chasing birds. Wildcats in Africa, who are the genetic predecessors of the domestic cats that we have, tend to sleep in a higher place that is safe.
They prefer these elevated areas because they can see what's going around at the ground level. Domestic cats seek to go to higher places in the rooms where they feel safe and can survey for predators or prey.
If you provide these outlets, you will see that they express this behavior. And if they have easy access to these outlets, they won’t climb into any other areas you don’t want them to go.
New cats in your home might also try to jump at a higher place to see any hiding spots. And in general, they feel much safer at a vantage point. So, you must provide them with these higher spots and hiding nooks.
Cats also have climbing abilities
Besides being better jumpers, cats also have climbing abilities that dogs don’t. In addition, felines are more limber as compared to canines. Moreover, they have retractable claws along with flexible spines. Plus, their tails give them an edge over the dogs.
Dogs can't retract their nails and are not as flexible. You can say that a cat is a mountain climber who can conveniently travel vertically. But a dog is a hiker who can easily do some scrambling but is a much better performer in horizontal distances.
But why don't cats get down from things?
Now, cats getting stuck in trees is pretty common, no? And this is where things get a bit contradicting. Why can’t cats come down from different items if they are great jumpers?
Cats might be good at jumping greater heights, but their bodies are designed only to venture forward, not backward. Their back legs are far more powerful as compared to their front legs. Therefore, when they come down from a tree, the weaker pair of legs have to do all the work, which can be risky.
Their claws are another factor in this entire matter. They can extend their claws whenever they want. They can use these claws to dig into various surfaces and objects and gain better traction.
But these claws tend to protrude forward and curl back. This shape can only be handy when pulling their body up a tree. But they are of no use when a cat needs to climb down.
Your cat can go down from a height where it jumped up to. At that point, they know how high they are. Nevertheless, if they have climbed up to a perch, they can climb to a point much higher than they can easily jump down.
Therefore, a cat that has climbed to a height into a tree where it realizes its predicament will continue to wait for help. Kittens tend to call for help instead of trying to climb or jump their way down.
They always land on their feet
Cats can always land on their feet, no matter what. Most people think that their tails help them land on their feet. But it's a general misconception.
Their tails play a major role in helping them maintain their balance. But this is not the key factor in their upright landing ability. A cat can land on its feet due to its spine and whiskers.
A cat’s spine can twist in multiple directions at a time. And their whiskers are present along their cheeks, forearms, forehead, and ears. These whiskers allow them to be aware of and sense the slightest change in the airflow.
As a result, they always have more time to balance themselves out. But cats that don’t have much time while falling from lower places won’t be able to get their right side up. If they fall from higher places, they have more time to balance their bodies and land on their feet.
So, how can you stop it from jumping on different things?
Whether you don’t want your house cat to jump on something in your house or it is injured, you can do something to deter it from happening to your cat.
Can Cats Jump Higher than Dogs?
Most dogs are pretty awesome leapers. The highest jump ever recorded for a dog was made by a greyhound, and it measured to be 1.9 meters or 6.3 feet.
Now an average domestic cat can jump around 5 feet. And the stronger ones can jump higher than that. So, it’s safe to say that cats are higher jumpers than dogs.
This is due to their stronger back legs that allow them to catapult their lightweight bodies to greater distances and heights. So, yes, cats can jump higher than dogs.
Do cats hurt themselves when they jump down?
Generally, cats don’t jump down from any height that can be harmful to them. And this is especially the case when they get older.
A landing can become rougher on their joints than the initial jump. You can restrict your cat from jumping as it gets older. Lower their cat tower and build stairs to their perches.
Cats can jump to extraordinary heights because they have very strong hind legs. They have flexible bodies, so they can use all the muscle fibers to make their leap very powerful.
But even cats have their limitations when it comes to jumping, and several factors influence this. Still, cats are pretty extraordinary creatures highly known for their athletics. Feeding your cat is one of the most vital ways to keep your feline happy, healthy and active. You can find food high in minerals, amino acids, proteins and enzymes for your feline in our huge selection of cat wet food and cat dry food collections.