It’s impossible to imagine your fluffy, well-pampered cat is a super athlete that can run faster, jump higher, and out-maneuver any of us if necessary as she lays down for her third nap of the day.
Consider Your Feline Athlete
It’s impossible to imagine your fluffy, well-pampered cat is a super athlete that can run faster, jump higher, and out-maneuver any of us if necessary as she lays down for her third nap of the day. Sure, you’ve seen her run about the house, leap from one piece of furniture to another, spring up onto a countertop, or leap off a bookshelf – but none of it compares to what your cat could do if she had to.
In terms of running ability, humans outperform cats.
It’s depressing to consider that your purring little fluff ball could outrun the world’s fastest human runner without even warming up. The fastest a human can run is roughly 27 mph, and only a few gifted, well-trained athletes in peak condition have done so. The average athlete can reach speeds of up to 22 mph, and most of us would struggle to outrun an elephant, which can reach speeds of 10 to 15 mph.
Your average healthy housecat, on the other hand, can sprint at an astonishing 30 mph with no training, conditioning, stretching, or carb loading. All the cat would need to execute such an athletic feat is a little motivation, such as escaping prey in front of her or a large dog following her.
You could argue that this isn’t a fair comparison because cats have four legs and humans only have two. True, but our legs are far longer! We appear to be capable of keeping up!
According to Peter Weyand, an assistant professor at Rice University, in the Forbes article, What’s the Human Speed Limit?, four-legged species employ the same resources as humans to run. The difference in speed appears to be dictated by how much muscle force our legs can exert on the ground, rather than how many legs we have or how quickly we can move them. The legs of cats are highly muscular. Their spines are also incredibly flexible, arching and straightening when they run, resulting in a tremendous stride.
Humans compete against cats in the High Jump.
What about vertical jumps? The world record for the human high jump is 8.04 feet. According to the Guinness Book of Records, a Chinese acrobat allegedly did an 8.07-foot vertical jump through a hoop. Okay, a cat can’t compete with that, but let’s face it: a cat can be under two feet tall! In contrast, the average housecat can do a vertical jump to a height of five feet or more (without running), which can be up to seven times her own height. We don’t know how tall the aforementioned high jumpers are, but if they’re four feet tall, they’d only be jumping to double their height!
Humans battle against cats in agility.
With her capacity to make split-second starts and pauses, alter directions, and leap over opponents, the ordinary housecat could easily outmaneuver humans in football or basketball. It wouldn’t be a game, though, because cats are lousy at catching a ball!
Cats are also incredibly flexible and nimble, capable of stunning aerial maneuvers, and may participate in gymnastics. Gymnastic techniques and equipment, on the other hand, were intended for human shapes, not feline shapes, therefore there is no fair comparison.
Knowing how athletic your pussycat is can help you solve one of the feline mysteries: why do cats have such a superiority complex? Your cat is aware, to be sure. She’s the one who, between the two of you, could get her picture on a cereal box or a major sports drink endorsement. She just doesn’t want to.
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