# Why is it that cats can jump so high for their size, compared with humans?

My cat is about 1' high at the shoulder, and I am a little over 6', but my cat can easily jump onto something as high as I am. That is 6x it's height. If a cat can do this, then Why can't I jump up onto my barn roof? That is a little less than 36' up. I have a hard time jumping onto even a 4' platform. Now if my cat had trouble jumping onto an 8" platform, I would think that pathetic. Do cats have muscles 20x stronger than humans, for their mass? Is it just their skeleton providing leverage?

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Why are Cheetahs so fast? –  Zoredache Feb 21 '12 at 7:25
Cheetahs are strong. –  J. Musser Feb 21 '12 at 14:20

There is not a linear relationship between the size of a muscle and its power. The cat weighs significantly less, but the decline in muscle power is not identical. If he weighs 20x less than you, but his muscle generate 1/5 as much force, he will still be able to jump way higher than you.

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Part of this difference comes from strength being proportional to the cross-sectional area of the muscle (increasing as the square of linear dimension/height) while mass is proportional to volume (cubic with linear dimension/height). The rest (probably a majority) might be leverage and perhaps proportion of fast-twitch muscle. –  Paul A. Clayton Feb 22 '13 at 14:23
Here is another answer talking about this non-linear relationship between size and muscle strength. –  Remi.b May 31 at 14:13

Both the mass of an animal and the amount of energy their muscle can release rapidly are proportional to their volume. The height to which they can jump is proportional to the ratio of the two, so most animals can jump as high as any other to within a small factor. The remaining difference between those who can who can jump about 6' such as your cat or Javier Sotomayor, and yourself, is practice.

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Cats have different body structure than human beings. Its body-kinetics are quite different from us. Yes, muscles are quite strong, but this not the only reason. To know in-depth about the reasons behind the cats’ extreme jumping abilities, you can just refer this online article - "The Glory of the Cat – adidarwinian" at http://adidarwinian.com/the-glory-of-the-cat Along with the flexible spine, strong muscles, flexible joints, they have a peculiar trait known as righting reflex. The same article has information on this peculiar trait. Due to the righting reflex instinct, cats can even survive falls from the high rise buildings.

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