All cats are born with the ability to jump. In fact, have you ever come across a cat that doesn’t jump? Even if you have never owned a cat before, I would wager that one of your basic expectations of any cat, is that they can jump! Some cat breeds are more clever though, and the Maine Coon is one of these amazing creatures. Find out why they are instinctively better at scaling high walls, than other breeds of cat.
Yes, Maine Coons can jump. They descend from semi-wild cats, known for having impressive jumping skills. Maine Coons are very muscular and strong, but will only jump if they have too. This is because Maine Coons are an intelligent cat breed who will find easier routes to the top, rather than exerting their energy jumping straight up!
There are many factors to take into consideration when considering a cats ability to jump. This article shall focus on the following:
- Can All Cats Jump?
- Can Certain Cat Breeds Jump Higher?
- Characteristics Of High Jumping Cats
- Best Jumping Cat Breeds
- How Far Can A Maine Coon Cat Jump?
- How High Can A Maine Coon Cat Jump?
- Reasons Why Your Maine Coon Can’t Jump
- Medical Issues Affecting Cats Ability To Jump
Can All Cats Jump?
Cats are amazing creatures, whatever breed you own. They are born with a flexible spine, and have the ability to jump high thanks to their strong back legs, and back muscles. These biological features allow them to release powerful bursts of energy, in one go, thus enabling them to jump far higher than their own height.
Many cat specialists claim that the average domestic cat can jump six times their own height (source), or over eight feet in one explosive jumping movement!
Imagine if us humans could do that too?!!
Can Certain Cat Breeds Jump Higher?
Some cats, such as the Egyptian Mau, or the Siamese cat are naturally more suited to jumping higher than other cat breeds due to their body shape, flexibility, limitless energy, and high curiosity levels.
Characteristics Of High Jumping Cats
If we look more closely at cat breeds known for their immense jumping abilities, we quickly see that they all have the following characteristics in common:
1. Long Back Legs
Cats born with long back legs have an added advantage to jumping higher, than their short legged feline friends. This is because they are taller, therefore their jump capabilities will always be more than shorter legged cat breeds, should you calculate their jump potential by take their height x 6.
2. Athletic Prowess
Some cat breeds are far more agile, loving speed, climbing and jumping.
Certain cats have been bred, using a combination of two very athletic, agile cat breeds, to produce another awesomely agile cat breed.
3. High Energy
Whilst some cats love to laze in the sun for hours, other cat breeds naturally prefer speed and continual motion. They are not interested in being lapcats!
A number of cat breeds are biologically built for speed and agility.
More intelligent cat breeds tend to seek regular mental stimuli. The saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’ probably derives from these cat curious breeds!
All cats are flexible, with their spines capable of rotating further than other animals. This is a direct result of having 52-53 vertebrae, and cushioning in between each individual bone, which allows them to twist their spines 180 degrees.
7. Shoulder Blades
All cats have shoulder blades that help them to be more agile.
Cats shoulder blades are attached to muscle, rather than the cats skeleton. This allows them to flex their bodies, and either twist and jump at crazy angles, whilst also being capable of fitting through gaps you never thought would be possible!
Best Jumping Cat Breeds
The table below shows which cat breeds have a more athletic prowess, and are likely to jump higher than other cat breeds (source).
|Egyptian Mau||Athletic and agile. Fastest domestic cat in the world, running up to 30mph! Very powerful legs, that enable them to jump onto your shoulder without any issues|
|Somali||Intelligent cat breed who is the long haired version of the abyssinian cat. Their muscular body, strong slim legs, and lithe body make them ideal jumpers|
|Savannah||Long body and long legs, helps them jump higher. Naturally inquisitive breed that enjoys climbing and jumping. Extremely athletic|
|Manx||Built for speed, despite often not having a tail, or only a tiny one! Great jumpers. Fast. Athletic.|
|Siamese||Extremely active and intelligent cat breed.|
|Occicat||Large, solid muscular frame. Very agile. Quick mover. Known for speed|
|Oriental||Require high levels of play with their owners. Curious breed that will climb and jump to entertain themselves!|
|Abyssinian||Athletic, active cat breed. Extremely agile and always on the move|
|Bengal||Likes to get owners attention by jumping up onto countertops, or bookcases. They are great climbers, known for climbing or jumping to the highest places in your home.|
How Far Can A Maine Coon Cat Jump?
Cats have always been great jumpers. They enjoy using their jumping skills to hunt prey. A standard moggy is capable of jumping 7-8 feet, in a vertical motion.
The furthest cat jump on record (from a non Maine Coon cat breed) is from a cat named Waffle the Warrior Cat. Records show he jumped an amazing 213.36 cm (84 inches) (source). Watch this short video clip, of Waffle jumping.
There is no physical reason supporting the idea that Maine Coons cannot jump as far as a ‘normal’ cat breeds. The reason you see them jump less however, is that they tend to only jump when necessary.
How High Can A Maine Coon Cat Jump?
Maine Coons are the largest domesticated cat breed in existence (apart from the Norwegian Forest cat). They come from Maine, United States, and are loved so much that they were even named the state cat of Maine!
The Maine Coon is very muscular and strong. Average male Maine Coons weigh between 6.8 – 11.3 kg (15-25 lbs), are 25-40 cm (10-16 inches) high, and have a length of 48-101 cm (19-40 inches). For more information on their average sizings, check out my article ‘How Big Will My Maine Coon Grow?‘
As you can see, it’s not likely that your Maine Coon will be small in size. Their large frame often leads people to assume they will not be able to jump though, when they actually can! Maybe this is partly due to their intelligent, yet lazy nature, whereby it is more common to see a Maine Coon choose the easy option to scale a wall, rather than jumping straight up to the top.
Reasons Why Your Maine Coon Can’t Jump
If your once active Maine Coon no longer seems willing to jump around, they may have an underlying medical health condition. It is important to speak to your preferred veterinary professional, to decipher what might be the issue.
Maine Coon common health issues that may impact their jumping abilities include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Medical Issues Affecting A Cats Ability To Jump
The table below details medical issues that may prevent your cat from jumping. The first three health issues are more common to the Maine Coon cat breed. The other health concerns are more generalised and less likely to impact your Maine Coon, however, still worth being aware of.
|Hip Dysplasia||Their large physical frame makes them prone to hip dysplasia. This disease causes arthritis, though is not considered huge issue. Monitor condition, as in rare cases, it may causes paralysis|
|Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy||Thickening of the muscle walls of the heart, leading to heart failure, and other issues. 30% of Maine Coons thought to have genetic mutation that causes this disease to develop (source)|
|Spinal Muscular Atrophy||Hereditary genetic disease. Loss of motor neurons in lower spinal cord, and atrophy in the hind limbs leads to progressive deterioration in stability levels, with unsteady gait and posture abnormalities. Symptoms appear whilst kitten is 3-4 months old|
|Arthritis / Joint Problems||Feline arthritis will be painful for your cat companion because an osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, will cause your cat’s joint to stop working correctly, due to inflammation|
|Ligament and Tendons||Cats may stop jumping if they damage their ligaments and/or tendons, since these enable a cat to move freely.|
|Cracked Paw Pads||Outdoor cats are more prone to developing cracked paw pads, if they walk over rough surfaces. It is also thought that harsh textured litter can also damage the cats paw pads|
|Diabetic neuropathy||A cat may experience numbness and pain in their legs. Cats with diabetes require special care, failure to provide this care increases the chances of them developing diabetic neuropathy|
|Bone and Joint Cancer||Cats with this cancer will experience pain, lameness and swelling in their bones and joints|
|Ingrown Toenails||Should be sorted asap, to prevent nail growing into pad. Infections are likely if not treated quickly, causing inflammation of the foot.|
|Pododermatitis||Skin inflammation of paws and feet.|
|Neuromuscular Disorders||Significantly limits a cats jumping abilities because their nerves and muscles are not working correctly. Muscles commonly twitch, making simple movements more difficult for the cat to perform.|
|Infectious Diseases||If cats central nervous system is affected, their ability to jump and walk will be limited.|
Whilst the Maine Coon might not be known as one of the fastest, most agile cat breeds on the planet, they are still very good at jumping and climbing.
Can Maine Coons jump? Of course they can, but this intelligent breed often prefers to use its intelligence to calculate the easier way upwards. For instance, a Maine Coon will happily climb using the steps, rather than opting for an energetic jump upwards, in one single movement.