Are Cats Faster Than Raccoons?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Are you curious about which animal is faster, a cat or a raccoon? Read on to find out the answer to this burning question!

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Cats and raccoons are both remarkable athletes. They are both fast, agile, and have amazing climbing abilities. So which one is faster?

The answer may surprise you. Cats are generally faster than raccoons over short distances. But over long distances, raccoons are actually the faster animal.

Here’s a closer look at the speed of these two animals and what may account for their different running styles.

Cats vs. Raccoons: The Speed Factor
There is no single factor that determines how fast an animal can run. Size, leg length, and muscle type all play a role in an animal’s speed potential.

That said, cats are generally considered to be better sprinters than raccoons. They have long legs relative to their body size and powerful hindquarters that help them accelerate quickly. A house cat can running at speeds of up to 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour[1], and the cheetah—the fastest land animal—can reach speeds of up to 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour.[2] In comparison, raccoons typically max out at around 15 miles (24 kilometers) per hour.[3]

So if cats are faster than raccoons over short distances, why are raccoons the faster animal overall? It has to do with endurance.

What Makes a Good Runner?

There are many factors that contribute to how fast an animal can run. Cats and raccoons are both speedy creatures, but there are a few things that set them apart. Let’s take a look at some of the things that make a good runner.


There are a few key things that make a good runner. First, let’s look at the physiology of running. When you run, your muscles work in pairs to produce force. The bigger the force, the faster you can run. However, there’s a limit to how much force your muscles can produce. This is why bigger runners are often slower than smaller runners. Second, running is extremely efficient. When you run, you use less energy than when you walk because your body weight is supported by the ground. Third, running is a low-impact activity, meaning it doesn’t put much strain on your joints and muscles. This makes it easy to maintain a high level of fitness without putting your body at risk of injury. Finally, running is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health.


Good runners share some common physical characteristics. Most have long, slender legs relative to their body size. This helps them cover ground quickly and efficiently. Good runners also tend to have fairly long strides, which helps them maintain their speed over long distances. And they usually have a good “Running Economy,” which refers to the amount of energy they expend per mile.

There are a few other factors that can make someone a good runner, too. For example, some people are just naturally fast because of the genes they inherit from their parents. And people who start running at an early age often have an advantage over those who start later in life.

The World’s Fastest Animals

There are many animals in the world that can run incredibly fast, but which ones are the fastest? In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the world’s fastest animals and see how they stack up against each other.


Of all the animals in the world, cheetahs are by far the fastest over short distances. They can reach speeds of up to 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour in just three seconds, which is faster than most cars can accelerate!

But cheetahs aren’t just fast in a straight line. They’re also incredibly agile, able to make sudden turns and jumps with ease. This makes them excellent hunters in the wild, as they can quickly chase down their prey.

There are only around 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild today, so they’re considered an endangered species. Thankfully, there are many organizations working to protect these beautiful creatures and help them thrive.

Pronghorn Antelopes

Pronghorn antelopes are the fastest land animals in North America, capable of running at speeds of up to 55 mph. The animals are native to the western United States and can be found in states like Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado.

Pronghorns are built for speed—they have long legs and specially adapted hooves that help them cover ground quickly. The animals are also very aerodynamic, with narrow bodies and long necks that help them streamline their movement.

While pronghorns may not be the absolute fastest animals on earth (that distinction goes to cheetahs, which can run up to 70 mph), they are certainly the quickest creatures in North America. So next time you’re on a road trip through the western United States, keep your eyes peeled for these speedy little antelopes!

Quarter Horses

Quarter horses are the world’s fastest animals over a quarter-mile. They can reach speeds of up to 55 mph (88 km/h). The Quarter horse got its name from being used in quarter-mile races. Quarter horses are used in many rodeo events, such as barrel racing and roping.

Why Are Cats So Fast?

Cats are able to reach high speeds due to their long legs and flexible bodies. Their claws also help them to grip the ground and accelerate quickly. Another reason why cats are so fast is that they are lightweight and have a high power-to-weight ratio.

Their Legs

Cats are able to run so fast because of their long, powerful legs. Their back legs are especially muscular, which gives them the ability to leap great distances. When a cat is running at full speed, its legs move so fast that they become a blur!

Their Muscles

Cats are able to run at high speeds due to their long hind legs, which they use to power their stride. Their strong muscles allow them to accelerate quickly and make sudden changes in direction.

Cats also have a flexible spine, which helps them to arch their back and spring forward when they are running. Their bones are also very light, which makes it easier for them to move quickly.

All of these physical features combine to make cats one of the fastest animals on earth. They can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour when they are running at full speed!

Their Spines

Cats are able to run so fast because of their spines. Their spines are able to store and release energy like a spring, propelling them forward at high speeds. Additionally, cats have very powerful hind legs that they use to push off of the ground and gain extra speed. Their long tails also help them to keep balance while they are running.

How Fast Can a Raccoon Run?

Raccoons are sprinters and can run up to 30 miles per hour in short bursts, according to the University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web (ADW). That’s much faster than the top speed of your average house cat, which is only about 15 miles per hour.


In conclusion, cats are not necessarily faster than raccoons. While cats may have the advantage in short sprints, raccoons are better long-distance runners and are more adept at climbing. So, if you ever find yourself in a footrace against a raccoon, make sure to pick your terrain carefully!

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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