The Fastest and Most Athletic Cat Breeds on the Planet

Dogs might get all the recognition for their athletic prowess (and we get it: Some of them are really good at agility and catching Frisbees), but we shouldn’t overlook our feline friends. Cats deserve way more credit than they generally get for their impressive speed, dexterity and agility, so we found nine of the fastest and most athletic cat breeds on the planet.

From the speedy Egyptian Mau to the tireless Bengal, these breeds seem to have a need for speed and activity. And for those of you looking for lap cats to cuddle with all day, these may not be the breeds for you — these kitties like to be in motion constantly.

Breeds With a Need for Speed

Two Egyptian Mau Cats

Johnny Kruger, Animal Photography

Egyptian Mau

The athletic and agile Egyptian Mau’s ability to run up to 30 mph makes him the fastest domestic cat breed on the planet. If that’s not impressive enough, his powerful legs can usually catapult him to high places like your shoulder or the kitchen counter with ease.

Abyssinian Running

Helmi Flick, Animal Photography


You’ll be hard-pressed to find an Abyssinian who will willingly sit still. This athletic breed typically prefers to be in motion. Channel her energy, intelligence and athleticism by providing food puzzles, teaching her tricks and (once you get the go-ahead from your vet) training her to do cat agility.

Somali kittens

Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography


As the long-haired variety of the Abyssinian, the Somali also possesses an impressive athletic ability. Her lithe, muscular body and strong, slim legs combined with her keen intelligence and playful personality make her a great breed for trick training, agility (health permitting) and walking on a leash.

Bengal Cat Laying Down

Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography


If your idea of a perfect day is binge watching Netflix with your kitty by your side, then the Bengal may not be the ideal breed for you. Typical Bengals are always on the go and can usually be found playing fetch, climbing to high places and doing whatever he can to get your attention. Bengals generally don’t like to be ignored and will demand interaction, even if that means jumping on off-limits countertops or stealing your valuables.

Savannah, a cat breed you've probably never heard of

Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography


Originally bred from a serval and a domestic cat, the Savannah is a wild-looking breed known for her athleticism, intelligence and endless curiosity. One of her favorite activities is climbing to high places — and her long body and long legs help her get up higher than you probably thought a cat could go. If you share your home with a Savannah, make sure any spot she might be tempted to climb to is secured and safe.

Black and White Manx

Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography


He may not have a tail, but that doesn't slow down the Manx. He can jump and accelerate through the house like there’s no tomorrow. Watch for his sharp turns and quick stops — you’ll think he’s a mini sports car in the shape of a cat.

Two Seal Point Siamese Cats

Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography


When she’s not trying to “talk” to you, you’ll probably find the active and endlessly curious Siamese turning on faucets, opening cabinets or finding new hiding spots. Help keep her out of trouble by giving her food puzzles, teaching her tricks and (health permitting) training her to do agility. Just be ready: Your Siamese will probably try to train you.

Ocicat Prowling

Helmi Flick, Animal Photography


The Ocicat was built for speed and agility: His frame is large, solid and muscular, and he was bred from Abyssinians, Siamese and American Shorthairs — all athletic breeds. Ocicats tend to be sociable, so keep him busy by involving him in your life whenever possible.

Oriental Shorthair Looking at Camera

Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography


Long, lithe and svelte, the athletic Oriental becomes very attached to her favorite humans — and demands that they entertain her. If you’re not around for parts of the day, she’s likely capable of entertaining herself, but don’t be surprised to find her on top of the refrigerator or opening drawers.

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