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View Full Version : How fast can a cat swipe at someone/thing?


Leo Bloom
02-28-2010, 01:02 AM
Both my dog's nose and I have been at the receiving end (not at the same time) of a cat scratch delivered so fast we literally could not see it coming.

How fast do cats swing their arm/paw/whatever when they mean it for attack?

Shamozzle
02-28-2010, 05:08 AM
Whenever I used to play with my cat, he would usually beat me when it came to avoiding his swipes, until I noticed that his pupils would dilate slightly a split-second before he committed to the swipe.

I only get that split-second warning, but now I can beat him most of the time. Try it, it works.

notfrommensa
02-28-2010, 11:03 AM
Whenever I used to play with my cat, he would usually beat me when it came to avoiding his swipes, until I noticed that his pupils would dilate slightly a split-second before he committed to the swipe.

I only get that split-second warning, but now I can beat him most of the time. Try it, it works.

Does your cat play poker? I now have a "tell" on him.

Back to the OP, when I have watched cats and dogs "play", the cats paw seems to be quicker than the dogs eye.

Candyman74
02-28-2010, 12:39 PM
Conversely, (a 2yr old border collie) is faster than my cat, both in terms of locomotion and reaction speed. The only advantage the cat has is that she can climb - because he can outrun and outjump her, and is easily as agile. Plus, of course, bigger, stronger, and louder. She's had to learn to perch in places he can't get to due to his completely inability to climb, because if she's under 6 feet from ground level she's in trouble.

I feel bad for her sometimes, but she bullied him mercilessly when he was an 8-week old puppy barely able to climb the front door step and significantly smaller than her. So it's karmic payback - one day he realised he was bigger, stronger, faster and more fercious than she could ever be, and it all changed round. The sad thing is that when he was little he tried so hard to be friends with her and she simply attacked him; and now it's too later for her to change that.

I'm often bemused by those who claim their cats can take on a dog. Yes - right up until the point where the dog gets mildly irritated. Then the cat needs to get the hell out of dodge fast.

Dahnlor
02-28-2010, 01:00 PM
I'm often bemused by those who claim their cats can take on a dog. Yes - right up until the point where the dog gets mildly irritated. Then the cat needs to get the hell out of dodge fast.Unless this (http://jencaputo.typepad.com/jen_caputo/WindowsLiveWriter/_web-2007-09-04-Vegas%20405%20copy_thumb_1.jpg) is your cat.

astro
02-28-2010, 01:45 PM
Unless this (http://jencaputo.typepad.com/jen_caputo/WindowsLiveWriter/_web-2007-09-04-Vegas%20405%20copy_thumb_1.jpg) is your cat.
Unfortunately, due to severe inbreeding, the vast majority of white tigers are mentally retarded (as tigers go) to one degree or another, so the dog might still have the upper hand.

wedgehed
02-28-2010, 02:26 PM
I'm often bemused by those who claim their cats can take on a dog. Yes - right up until the point where the dog gets mildly irritated. Then the cat needs to get the hell out of dodge fast.

My grandmother had a yard cat that would take on any dog that wandered by. This cat once hopped on the back of my uncle's bird-dog, sank its claws in, & rode that dog like a jockey.

HotSmoke
02-28-2010, 02:37 PM
Mine can slash you to ribbons in seconds. I learned how to read the signs....tail swishing,ears laid flat and eyes dilated...don't bug her.

Candyman74
02-28-2010, 02:40 PM
My grandmother had a yard cat that would take on any dog that wandered by. This cat once hopped on the back of my uncle's bird-dog, sank its claws in, & rode that dog like a jockey.

Everyone says they know a cat that could take on dogs. They can't.

I always challenge people to lock their imaginarily supremely ninja-tough dog-beating cat in a room with my dog and take bets (and he's not even a big dog - just a 2yr old border collie). For some reason they always turn me down! :D

(Not that I would, of course - that would be cruel and despicable. But a cat would last under 10 seconds if it couldn't escape somehow.)

wedgehed
02-28-2010, 02:47 PM
I always challenge people to lock their imaginarily supremely ninja-tough dog-beating cat in a room with my dog and take bets (and he's not even a big dog - just a 2yr old border collie). For some reason they always turn me down! :D



I would counter by inviting you to bring your dog to my grandmother's yard, but my grandmother, her yard, & the cat are long gone.

:)

Candyman74
02-28-2010, 02:51 PM
I would counter by inviting you to bring your dog to my grandmother's yard, but my grandmother, her yard, & the cat are long gone.

:)

I don't wish ill on cats, so I'd have to turn you down.

Seriously, it's bizarre how people view their cats. They can't fight dogs. There's a reason for that old chestnut about dogs chasing cats.

HotSmoke
02-28-2010, 02:54 PM
My cat would probably be stupid enough to take on a dog(she is an indoor cat so unless she makes a jail break this isn't going to happen)but I have no illusions that she would win. Dogs are one of the reasons she is an indoor cat.

Cat Whisperer
02-28-2010, 03:29 PM
Your dog might win the fight, but I'd put money on the dog coming away seriously injured (my money would be on losing at least an eye). This is assuming a much larger dog than a cat; at equal weight, I'd put my money on the cat every time. Five areas of pointy, slashing contact combined with blinding speed and agility, as well as their bad-ass attitude would put the cat in the winner's seat in that contest. If my cat's claws haven't been trimmed lately, those bastards are sharp!

Candyman74
02-28-2010, 03:34 PM
Your dog might win the fight, but I'd put money on the dog coming away seriously injured (my money would be on losing at least an eye). This is assuming a much larger dog than a cat; at equal weight, I'd put my money on the cat every time. Five areas of pointy, slashing contact combined with blinding speed and agility, as well as their bad-ass attitude would put the cat in the winner's seat in that contest. If my cat's claws haven't been trimmed lately, those bastards are sharp!

The dog might get a scratch or two, but that's it.

Speed and agility - I promise my dog can match it. I've seen it. He's insanely fast.

HotSmoke
02-28-2010, 03:43 PM
Your dog might win the fight, but I'd put money on the dog coming away seriously injured (my money would be on losing at least an eye). This is assuming a much larger dog than a cat; at equal weight, I'd put my money on the cat every time. Five areas of pointy, slashing contact combined with blinding speed and agility, as well as their bad-ass attitude would put the cat in the winner's seat in that contest. If my cat's claws haven't been trimmed lately, those bastards are sharp!

I like that "five areas of pointy,slashing contact" those claws are sharp........mine can slash you to ribbons without a thought. I have the scars to prove it. Despite all that,I love the little witch.
A cat would definately put a hurt on a dog,that is for sure,but as one poster mentioned,size is relative. I am pretty sure Simba could kick a Chihuahua's ass,but a Germand Shepherd would probably kill her.

Chronos
02-28-2010, 03:54 PM
While most cats would not be able to outright beat most dogs, many cats would be able to put up a good enough fight to make it not worth the dog's while. There's also the matter that the dog might think the cat is just playing right up until it's too late: Sometimes the only warning a cat gives is an involuntary facectomy.

KlondikeGeoff
02-28-2010, 05:13 PM
While most cats would not be able to outright beat most dogs, many cats would be able to put up a good enough fight to make it not worth the dog's while. There's also the matter that the dog might think the cat is just playing right up until it's too late: Sometimes the only warning a cat gives is an involuntary facectomy.
I agree. Over the years, I have seen several times a cat (frequently s battle scarred alley-cat) stop a dog dead in its tracks with a vicious nose slash.

I think that dogs, being of the wolf persuasion, have the predators' instinct to protect itself from injury. Many times bears or other large animals will back down in the face of a fierce attack by a smaller animal.

All depends upon the dog and the cat, in the end. (Which end I don't know.)

Candyman74
02-28-2010, 05:38 PM
I agree with those who say "pound for pound" the cat would win. Hey, "pound for pound", a cat will win against a Tyrannosaurus Rex. For their size, they can be vicious. But we're not talking about giant cats vs. miniature dogs.

I also agree that a dog can persuade a dog not to kill it by making it not worth its while, being naturally more aggressive than many dogs (but not exclusively so). But the dog who has decided that cat's a gonner... once you reach the point where the dog has decided how it's gonna be, then the cat has ony escape as an option.

I agree that a cat stands a chance against a very small dog. Against the average dog which outweighs is 5-1 at minimum, often 10-1, it lasts as long as the dog doesn't close. Once the dog's grabbed it, it's dead.

As I said, up till the point where the cat really pisses the dog off. There's just no physical match.

obfusciatrist
02-28-2010, 06:12 PM
If there's an ability to escape that generally all the cat is going to want and should generally have the speed and agility to do so, and may impart enough damage to slow the dog down enough to ensure it.

If cat vs. dog was really at all in question I'd think that it would be seen in the same seedy circles where dog fighting happens. Is there any indication such fights are staged as serious competitions (I have absolutely no idea what's on the undercard at dog fights)?

Candyman74
02-28-2010, 06:24 PM
Is there any indication such fights are staged as serious competitions (I have absolutely no idea what's on the undercard at dog fights)?

Well, no. Who's gonna bet on the cat?

aruvqan
02-28-2010, 06:35 PM
I agree. Over the years, I have seen several times a cat (frequently s battle scarred alley-cat) stop a dog dead in its tracks with a vicious nose slash.

I think that dogs, being of the wolf persuasion, have the predators' instinct to protect itself from injury. Many times bears or other large animals will back down in the face of a fierce attack by a smaller animal.

All depends upon the dog and the cat, in the end. (Which end I don't know.)

My cat Puff [hey, I named her when I was 5 ... deal with it.] stood off a feral mix dog protecting her kittens [we were at the simmer cottage, she had them in the small shed we stored sails in because she escaped the cottage.] She didnt get hurt, that dog got as was interestingly put above a facectomy [well, it lost an eye, and major snout damage according to my uncle - he caught it and took it to the vet to have it put down]

her only advantage was she was backed up in the doorway and the dog couldn't get behind her. And the kittens.

She was also fast enough that she hunted snakes and lizards as snacks. She was always dragging something back to 'share' with us.

I really miss her, she died at 20 =(

astro
02-28-2010, 07:41 PM
Rats have no chance either (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4Ae5yunSCA).

or woodchucks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cornrQa7lc&feature=fvw)

Dog vs cat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S64Kiobul5I)(graphic)

Candyman74
02-28-2010, 07:51 PM
I think the basic disparity is this: folks have seen their cats dissaude dogs from bothering; and a certain percentage of those folks translate that into their cat being able to beat a dog in a fight.

What's happened is that the dog hasn't been motivated. If anyone's seen an actually vicious dog, one which is seriously attacking, you know just how scary that is. The disparity here is that 90% of dogs are not actually vicious.

Basically, the cat faces 10% of the dog.

One can recite anectodes about how cats dissauded dogs until one is blue in the face; all that means is that it didn't matter enough to the dog. I'm sure a small dog could dissuade you from attacking it; but if you really wanted to kill it, it wouldn't stand a chance.

Heck, there are anecdotes of humans dissuading sharks and bears from killing them. I don't think anybody would argue that a human stands a chance against a shark which really wants to eat them.

There muct be some wish-fullfillment going on on the part of cat owners. I own both, and I love them both equally. I am under no illusion whatsoever that my dog could end my cat's existence very rapidy if it decided to. The cat knows this too - she stays upstairs. She's not stupid; she is fully aware that that fury of teeth and muscle ends her at the moment it makes contact.

Don't get me wrong - my dog's not a big dog. And he's friendly. I shudder to think that these allegedly ninja velociraptor-defeating sumpremo cats of fantasy would do when confronted with an actually big dog in a bad mood.

Cat Whisperer
03-01-2010, 03:30 PM
I don't think I'm engaging in wish fulfillment - when a cat gets serious about killing something, they get unbelievably scary (like you're saying about the dogs). Kitty playing and romping for fun is not kitty in full kill mode - kitty in full kill mode makes you want to drop a load in your pants. I'll agree that if a dog gets a chomp on a cat, it's over, but the thing about cats is how very hard it would be to do that (with all five pointy areas flashing and slicing).

Candyman74
03-01-2010, 03:44 PM
I don't think I'm engaging in wish fulfillment - when a cat gets serious about killing something, they get unbelievably scary (like you're saying about the dogs). Kitty playing and romping for fun is not kitty in full kill mode - kitty in full kill mode makes you want to drop a load in your pants. I'll agree that if a dog gets a chomp on a cat, it's over, but the thing about cats is how very hard it would be to do that (with all five pointy areas flashing and slicing).

Well, sure. But when's the last time you heard a story about a domestic cat killing a human? It can't - not even close.

You hear 'em about dogs all the time.

blondebear
03-01-2010, 03:56 PM
Cats don't stand much of a chance against coyotes, I know that much. The apartment complex I used to live in was on the edge of a canyon where coyotes lived. Whenever someone with cats moved in, they were warned to keep their pets inside. Inevitably, they'd ignore the warning, and I'd see "Have you seen my cat?" flyers up soon after. One guy bragged that he had a real badass cat that could handle any dog...it was "missing" within a couple of weeks.

Rhythmdvl
03-01-2010, 04:00 PM
My grandmother had a yard cat that would take on any dog that wandered by. This cat once hopped on the back of my uncle's bird-dog, sank its claws in, & rode that dog like a jockey.

Yeah, but how many five-year-olds could the kitty take on?

YogSothoth
03-01-2010, 04:45 PM
Whenever I used to play with my cat, he would usually beat me when it came to avoiding his swipes, until I noticed that his pupils would dilate slightly a split-second before he committed to the swipe.

I only get that split-second warning, but now I can beat him most of the time. Try it, it works.

Your cat is Mike Tyson! :eek:

Whack-a-Mole
03-01-2010, 04:59 PM
What's happened is that the dog hasn't been motivated. If anyone's seen an actually vicious dog, one which is seriously attacking, you know just how scary that is.

Likewise a cat, one that is seriously pissed off and motivated is scary as hell.

It might not be able to kill me but I have seen it and the thing is a whirling dervish of razor blades.

I likewise have seen a dog in full on attack mode and they too are scary. It's a whole other mode that most pet owners rarely see. It is the pure, wild animal come out and is in 100% "kill you" mode. Very frightening to behold.

I agree a cat, simply by virtue of size most times, cannot take out a dog (and I have a dog and cats...seen them tussle plenty of times). But it sure as shit a cat can dissuade most dogs most of the time because most times the dog is not fully intent on killing the cat. My dog outweighs my cat 10:1 and most times the cat convinces the dog to move along. I am sure the dog could kill the cat, she just doesn't want to and anything else is not worth the trouble.

In the video linked above the cat was in run mode, tweaked the dogs prey instinct and it got caught. Had it faced that Dalmatian I think there is a good chance it could have persuaded the Dalmatian to go do something else.

Mr. Excellent
03-01-2010, 05:10 PM
I think it's not dissimilar to the strength/speed/dangerousness relationship between cats and people. (Especially since there are plenty of dogs that mass as much as at least a small human). Could a housecat kill me? Not unless it got very, very lucky. Could I kill a housecat? Yes, certainly - once I've a good grip, the fight is over. But the cat is going to make it painful, difficult, and time-consuming to get that good grip. And I've got options that a dog doesn't - I can move furniture, close doors, and so on to shape the fighting environment to my advantage.

Whack-a-Mole
03-01-2010, 05:43 PM
I would have to say a cat is, overall, faster than a dog (which is not to say dogs are exactly slow...they can react very quickly when they want to).

The reason being is cats are mostly made up of fast-twitch muscles. Dogs not so much. The fast twitch are, as the name implies, faster than the slow twitch which is what dogs have more of (all animals have both to varying degrees).

The upside of fast twitch muscles are incredible bursts of speed and jumping ability and so on. The downside is they tire very quickly. Dogs are built more for endurance. Cats for bursts of activity.

Roadfood
03-01-2010, 05:53 PM
I don't suppose anyone is interested in trying to answer the OP? Anyone know of tests done on how fast a cat can move its front paw?

Swallowed My Cellphone
03-01-2010, 05:56 PM
While most cats would not be able to outright beat most dogs, many cats would be able to put up a good enough fight to make it not worth the dog's while. There's also the matter that the dog might think the cat is just playing right up until it's too late: Sometimes the only warning a cat gives is an involuntary facectomy.A friend of mine's neighbor had to have their lab put down due to injuries received from a very aggressive cat. The orange tabby terrorized the neighborhood until it was seized by animal control after slashing a mail carrier severely enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. The f*cker came after my friend once when I was walking her home. I got my book bag between the cat and my friend, then old man who lived in the apartment above hers saved us by hitting the cat with a half-filled sack of concrete powder (he was patching the walkway).

Get a mean enough sumbitch of a cat, and even a quick big dog will have its paws full.

Cat Whisperer
03-01-2010, 06:15 PM
<snip>

I agree a cat, simply by virtue of size most times, cannot take out a dog (and I have a dog and cats...seen them tussle plenty of times). But it sure as shit a cat can dissuade most dogs most of the time because most times the dog is not fully intent on killing the cat. My dog outweighs my cat 10:1 and most times the cat convinces the dog to move along. I am sure the dog could kill the cat, she just doesn't want to and anything else is not worth the trouble.<snip>
This is a very germane point - unless the dog is pretty much committed to killing the cat, the cat is going to do everything in its power to freak the dog out (and when they get to howling, it's awful damned freaky). This is part of a housecat's "powers" - the power to act so crazy that it doesn't *have* to fight.

Chronos
03-01-2010, 08:08 PM
I now have a mental image of Ender Wiggins as an enraged housecat.

The Second Stone
03-01-2010, 08:23 PM
My dog got in a severe fight with a cat once. I never saw the cat, as I only saw my dog come home with one eye hanging out. He was thereafter a one-eyed dog. Now I suppose that the cat might have got the worst of it, but I doubt it, he was a small but mean dog.

Der Trihs
03-01-2010, 08:39 PM
I think that dogs, being of the wolf persuasion, have the predators' instinct to protect itself from injury. Many times bears or other large animals will back down in the face of a fierce attack by a smaller animal.
Cat trees bear. (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/06/060613-cat-bear.html)

figure9
03-01-2010, 09:08 PM
Cats are fast and can scratch. Dogs have big K-9 teeth and strong jaws. Cat-scratches hurt. Dog-bites kill.

Leo Bloom
03-01-2010, 10:31 PM
This is a very germane point - unless the dog is pretty much committed to killing the cat, the cat is going to do everything in its power to freak the dog out (and when they get to howling, it's awful damned freaky). This is part of a housecat's "powers" - the power to act so crazy that it doesn't *have* to fight.

So this is the real source of Nixon's "mad cat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madman_theory)" theory?

mil0
03-02-2010, 06:22 AM
I've been attacked by both.

When I was young I tried to play with my neighbor's Pitbull, even though he growling heavily I was convinced that I had some sort of Midas touch when it came to animals. Well, he attacked me and sent me to the hospital where I had to get 30 stitches in my hand and arm. I'd rate the pain from being attacked by a Pitbull around a 7/10. As it happens, I got this nifty scar in the shape of a smiley face from the attack on my palm which makes a nice conversation piece.

A few months ago, I was playing with my baby kitten Asimov ( http://i48.tinypic.com/2co643c.jpg ). He playfully swiped at my hand, and nicked me right in the knuckle. There wasn't any blood, so in my wisdom I decided to forgo washing it and kept playing with him.

Well, a few days later I could barely move my hand. By the time the week was through my arm was completely paralyzed, and my hand ballooned out a good half an inch. Originally I thought it was just another staph infection and decided I'd stick it out, but by the time day 7 hit I took myself to the ER. 5 shots and a couple hours later I was released. The pain from this was immeasurable.

I'd rather be attacked by 2 Pitbulls than deal with that again.

Cat Whisperer
03-02-2010, 02:55 PM
So this is the real source of Nixon's "mad cat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madman_theory)" theory?
Probably.

Yeah, cat bites (and scratches) are complete bitches for infection. Cats have bacteria in their mouth that don't bother them, but aren't great for us (I understand).

figure9
03-02-2010, 06:20 PM
Back to the OP. Maybe someone gifted at math could give a guess on this. Figure a 10 lb cat can jump 6 ft. Figure out the force required to do that. Then figure about 1/2 that because front legs are not as strong as rears... Too much math for me brain is locking up..

Other thought, maybe someone with a high speed movie camera could slow this down, so it could be measured.

gonzomax
03-02-2010, 06:29 PM
I had a caiman when I was a kid. He was much faster and squished the kitty's paw once. The vet had to put him in a splint. Try holding a gator in one hand and tease it with the other. You will lose. A cat would lose.

BwanaBob
03-03-2010, 06:46 AM
CandyMan74 - what do you consider an "average" sized dog? This is key here.
We've always owned both dogs and cats, but we tend to own dogs on the smaller end of size, like cocker spaniels and corgis. Cats, when so inspired, will take them on with no hesitation. We too had a "jockey" cat who would lie in wait for our dog and jump on her back. Our dogs tended to only be aggressive towards the cats if they got too near the dog's food dish.

Candyman74
03-03-2010, 09:06 AM
CandyMan74 - what do you consider an "average" sized dog? This is key here.

I'd say a border collie is a medium sized dog. A german shepherd is a large dog. a cocker spaniel is a small dog. There are also tiny and enormous dogs, but I wasn't really thinking about the extremes of the possible scale.