How High Can a House Cat Jump?

Have you seen the commercial with the cat jumping up several feet to grab a yummy treat out of the air? Cats are known for being jumpers both vertically and horizontally. They can also fall long distances and land on their feet. Keep reading to find out just how far a cat can jump.

Cats are known for being cunning and playful. They also have the ability to jump up high. But just how high can a house cat jump? A typical house cat can jump 5 to 6 times the length of its body. For most cats, this is 9 feet or more.

Cats use their tail as a counterbalance to balance out the weight of their body when jumping so that they can go farther distances. This is why cats always land on their feet after jumping from really tall places like trees or buildings – it’s because they use their tail as a balancing tool!

Cat Attitudes is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How Far Can a Cat Jump Horizontally?

We have all seen the cat food commercials with cats jumping many feet across the room (or outdoors) to show just how strong the food makes them. It is no secret that cats are very agile creatures and possess the ability to jump many feet.

Cats cannot only jump high vertically, but they can jump a long distance horizontally as well. According to the Guinness World Book of Records, the record for the longest horizontal jump by a cat 213.36 cm or 7 feet which is held by Waffle the Warrior Cat.

I have witnessed several of my cats jumping 5 or more feet through the air to get from the window sill to the end table.

How High Can a Kitten Jump?

Kittens may take 3 weeks before they even begin realizing that they can use their legs. Three weeks is when they first begin exploring their surroundings. It will be about 6 months before kittens begin to jump and several more months before they are capable of jumping 5 to 6 times their body length.

How High Can Cats Climb?

Cats are great climbers and can climb long distances without issues. The problem with that is they are not as good at descending as they were at climbing all that distance. There is no shortage of rescues of cats that have climbed to high places and cannot get themselves back down. When it comes to climbing, cats don’t seem to have an upper limit.

How Far Can a Cat Fall and Survive?

When a cat falls, it reflexively twists its body in mid-air so that its feet face downwards. There are documented cases of cats falling from the 32nd floor of New York skyscrapers and surviving. But this is not the norm for a falling cat.

If a cat survives a long fall and lives, there is a good chance it will require the care of a vet to recover. As a responsible pet parent, it is wise to put the necessary safety measures in place to avoid falling.

How Fast Can a Cat Run?

While we are talking about a cat’s athleticism we cannot forget about their speed. The average house cat can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour. Watching a cat run is almost breathtaking. I had a cat that weighed 20 pounds that could move faster than I would have expected.

Despite his extra weight at the time, he still managed to make it across the backyard in record time when he heard his food bowl being filled. It was entertaining to watch him because he had such as saggy belly and that fat swung back and forth as he ran and did not seem to slow him down.

Maxwell’s Story

I have been a pet parent to a long line of cats all with their own unique mixed breeds and personalities. No two were alike. Our very first cat was Maxwell. I guess you can say Maxwell found us. We were not “cat” people when he came to us. My husband found Maxwell in downtown Columbus, OH when he was 6 weeks old.

He was getting ready to cross a busy street. My husband was carrying a file folder (back when files were paper). He lowered the folder to the street and Maxwell walked onto it. Knowing that Maxwell stood little chance of surviving in his current environment (he already had a neck wound), Mike brought him home.

We did not know what to do with him, so my husband took him to OSU vet hospital and they really were not interested in this injured kitten. They said they could use him as a blood donor. Since we had not gone to the trouble to rescue a blood donor, we nixed that idea, grabbed our cat and left. But the one thing the animal hospital did do was tell us how we could help Maxwell heal.

We followed their instructions and soon we had a healthy, active, growing cat. Since we could not find anyone who wanted to become his owner, we took on that role. As Maxwell grew, it became evident that he had a lot of Siamese cat in his breed mix. He was tall and sleek and also lean and muscular.

One talent that Maxwell had was his ability to jump. We were playing with him one day and realized he could catch objects thrown into the air. His favorite was empty cigarette packs. Maxwell would recognize the sound of an empty cigarette pack being crumbled into a ball and would come running. We could throw the crumpled paper ball into the air and Maxwell would jump and snag it out of the air.

I never realized just how high Maxwell could jump until one day we were reviewing photos and we managed to snap one of Maxwell mid-air and he was level with the top of a living room window. I had also seen Maxwell jump from the floor and land on top of a full-sized refrigerator. He was a jumper and enjoyed many hours jumping in the air and grabbing his favorite toy…the cigarette pack ball.

Final Thoughts

It is amazing to see how high and how far a cat can jump. Their bodies are built to be athletic and agile. There is nothing more graceful than watching a cat jump 6 feet as he plays with his toys or flies through the air to get to his favorite resting spot.

Cats are athletic, yet elegant with tremendous grace. Watching them jump, play and run is always a real treat for a cat lover.