If you’ve ever seen a cat in action, you know how quick they can be. Pouncing on prey with lightning speed, dashing across the floor in a blur, and “appearing” out of nowhere are all common place when it comes to domestic cats.
However, it’s true that some house cat breeds are faster than others. Depending on genetics and several other factors, each house cat breed has different traits — from climbing to leaping, friendliness to adaptability, and of course, speed.
If you’re a cat lover and are interested to know which house cats are the fastest of them all, you’re not alone — I was intrigued, too! So, I’ve compiled a top 5 list of the fastest domestic cats from around the world, and even I was surprised at some of my findings. Which breed do you think will win this race? The only way to find out is to keep reading!
1. Egyptian Mau
At the very top of this list, the Egyptian Mau is known as the Greyhound of cats. With one of the fastest documented speeds of a house cat, it’s easy to see why! If you’re wondering, the Egyptian Mau can run at speeds up to 30 mph. They even hold the Guiness World Record for fastest domestic cat breed, though there are others on this list that say otherwise!
If you’ve never seen one of these gorgeous creatures before, trust me — you’re in for a treat. Their smokey-grey coloring (which can also be bronze or brown) and intricate markings give them a super distinguished look, and their bright green, soulful eyes will see right into your deepest thoughts.
These guys originated in Egypt (hence the name) and are thought by some to be descendants of the African Wild Cat way back in their family tree. Their personalities are super social — Egyptian Maus love their people. They’re also great climbers and will easily get up on high surfaces — and their leaping skills are nothing to scoff at, either.
Mau owners know the joys of living with such a clever cat breed, and often find that their cabinets, drawers, and doors are no match for the advanced skills of their fur babies. The Egyptian Mau was bred for speed, agility, and athleticism, which apparently extends to their intellect as well!
Known for their beautiful red/gold/brown coloring and striking green eyes, the Abyssinian is yet another of the fastest house cats around. One of the most popular cat breeds in the US (top 5 to be exact), the Abyssinian is sure to bring laughs to their owners with their trademark silly behavior and non-stop playfulness.
Abyssinians are also super curious and extra athletic, so finding them awkward situations is not uncommon. These kitties absolutely love to climb as well, so it’s not unusual to find them in high places around the house! Origins of the Abyssinian breed aren’t super clear, but most cat experts believe they come from either Egypt or Ethiopia, which was once called Abyssinia.
Their top speed is said to match that of the Egyptian Mau at around 30 mph, but sources are conflicted on this statistic. It would make sense, seeing as the two breeds originated in a similar region of the world at around the same time, but it’s unclear. Either way, they make the list of fastest domestic cats based on their sheer athletic ability, constant energy, and fantastic climbing skills!
Many Abyssinian owners joke that they’re more like dogs than cats — they tend to be more involved with their human families than many breeds and love to be in the center of the action, which as we all know is not a typical cat trait. Whether cat, dog or a weird combination of both, the Abyssinian is a gorgeous animal that anyone would be proud to have!
One of my personal favorites, the Bengal is no joke when it comes to athleticism. They’re full of energy pretty much all day long and, like the Abyssinian, behave more like a dog than a typical cat. Many Bengal owners go far out of their way to make sure these guys get plenty of daily exercise, and they’re not wrong: Bengals can become destructive when they’re bored, and with a cat this big, that is no small nuisance!
The Bengal breed was created by crossing small Asian Leopard cats with domestic breeds, so that people could own an exotic cat without wild instincts taking over. Though all cats have wild instincts in their DNA, breeding wild cats with domestic ones helps to dampen them just enough to make good family pets. The Bengal’s beauty and size are something to behold, that’s for sure — as long as you can handle their constant energy!
According to experts, Bengals can run as fast as 35 mph in some cases, but they’re more like sprinters than marathon runners. Bengal owners can likely vouch for this, as they’re often found zooming around the house! Those powerful hind legs of theirs make this possible, and their wild roots are also involved: chasing prey requires power and speed, both of which the Bengal has in abundance.
It’s not uncommon to find Bengals out on walks with their owners, running on their exercise wheels, or climbing to the highest point of the house — no matter where that might be. One thing’s for sure: their full-on personalities and gorgeously exotic appearance make for one unforgettable breed of cat!
Another hybrid cat breed with super speed is the Savannah cat. These beautiful cross breeds are part Serval — or wild African cat — and part Siamese. They kept their gorgeous wild features, like the big ears and long legs of their Serval relatives, while inheriting the friendliness and people loving ways of their Siamese ancestors. This makes for a wild looking cat that adores their humans. Sounds like a perfect combination if you ask me!
These kitties are smart, curious, playful, and they adore water — the total opposite of most of their cat relatives. They’re also easily trained, which is a great way to make use of their superior intellect. However, Savannahs can be quite territorial as well as stand offish with strangers if you don’t socialize them from a young age, which you might want to do — these guys are BIG for cats and can be quite intimidating!
Thanks to their wild roots, Savannahs mimic the speed of their Serval ancestors — though they’re not quite as fast. A Serval can hit speeds of 45 mph on the African plains, while a Savannah tops out at around 30. Their top speed also depends on how far removed they are from their wildcat roots. For example, a F1 Savannah is only one generation down the family line from a Serval, meaning they have the highest concentration of wild cat blood. The higher the number goes, the lower the wild genes in the cat’s DNA.
While Savannah cats are beautiful, loyal, and great fun to be around, they’re not the best choice of pet for everyone. Pet owners with busy schedules, limited patience, or no desire to train or socialize these beauties will only find themselves frustrated with a Savannah. However, if you’re ready to make the commitment to playing, training, and socializing your wild companion, they’ll be a great choice for your newest family member!
The Ocicat is another gorgeous example of an exotic cat breed. With a name like theirs you would expect them to be descended from Ocelots, but they’re actually not. In fact, the Ocicat has no wildcat DNA whatsoever! The breed was designed to have the appearance of a wild cat with the personality of a domestic one, and the experiment was a success.
Descendants of the Siamese and the Abyssinian (two especially friendly domestic breeds), Ocicats are known for their awesome temperament, adaptability, and strong bonds with their human families. They love being with their people and are known to be super gentle with children, which makes them great family pets. Despite resembling a wild Ocelot, they’re actually very easy going and low maintenance!
While their actual speed capabilities are not very well documented, Ocicats are known by many pet professionals to be one of the fastest domestic cats around. Their superior athletic skills and quick reaction speed make them a joy to play with, which is important to do regularly to keep them happy. Ocicats are also known to be chatty, love water, and even enjoy riding in the car — something most cats hate with a passion!
If you’re considering an Ocicat for your next pet, just remember to keep them occupied as much as possible. Smart, curious cats like these need mental stimulation, and will often make their own fun (or trouble) if they don’t get enough! If you love the wild cat look with the house cat personality and can keep up with a super athlete for a pet, an Ocicat might be a great choice for you.