Domestic cat reaction times are scarily fast compared to ours and most other animals (comparison table)

Domestic cat reaction times are scarily fast compared to ours and most other animals
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The domestic cat as a top predator has a range of attributes to make killing and defense more efficient, one of which is their reaction times. They are so fast that they can catch a cat owner off guard sometimes. Many people have been scratched by a playful cat who rapidly reaches out with their foreleg with their claws extended. It all happens so fast. How does the reaction time of the domestic cat compare with ours and two other really fast performers; the snake and the fly.

Here is a comparison chart:

Animal or human-animalReaction time in milliseconds (averaged)Reaction time in seconds (averaged)
Domestic cat440.044
Reaction times of human, domestic dog, domestic cat, snake and fly. The source for the information is the internet generally. This information is widely discussed.

We are 6 times slower

The fly is said to have the fastest reaction times. The human is almost 6 times (600%) slower than their domestic cat. We are really slow compared to our cats which means our cats look like they are lighting quick which they are.


The way to avoid inadvertent scratches due to instinctive and rapid movements from our cat is to predict their actions through taking mental notes when we interact with them. I am sure that you have found out like me that there are certain circumstances when your cat might be provoked into thrusting their paws out at your hand with claws out. You predict those moments and avoid them.

Cats are better protected

For the cat having their claws out in play is no big deal as they play with other cats who are protected to a good extent by their fur. The relatively vulnerable human has bare skin which is very easily broken by those super-sharp claws.

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