Cats are powerful hunters that use agility, speed, and claws or jaws to hold prey. So, what cat has the strongest bite?
If we’re looking at all cats, including wild cats closely related to domestic felines, the strongest bite force relative to size comes from the jaguar. The strongest bite force of the domestic cat hasn’t been measured, but research suggests that bite force increases significantly with size and body weight.1 Knowing that, we can expect that the highest bite force would come from a large domestic breed like a Maine Coon.
If you want to know more about the bite force of some cats, read on!
Measuring Bite Force in Cats
We can measure bite forces in a variety of ways, including strain gauges, sensors, and pressure films. Measuring bite forces in animals can be challenging because of how their jaws move and the difficulty in applying full bite force to the instruments.
Because of the testing process, bite forces can vary widely among species. Typically, bite force is determined using a combination of direct measurements, mathematical calculations, and estimated bite forces from carnivore skulls of different sizes. As a result, the bite force is more of an average than an exact number.
Jaguar Bite Force
A relative of the domestic cat, the jaguar has an estimated bite force of around 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi). However, research from the University of South Carolina indicates that the jaguar’s bite is only three-quarters as strong as a tiger’s bite force.
So, how does the jaguar have the strongest bite? This is because of relative bite force, meaning the bite force relative to the animal’s size. Jaguars are much smaller than tigers, so if a jaguar is roughly half the mass of a tiger with three-quarters the bite force, it has the stronger bite compared to its size—pound for pound.
The strength of the bite force has a lot to do with the way the jaw muscles are arranged, giving the jaguar more strength in its jaw. Its jaw is also shorter than other cats’ jaws, which means more leverage to apply a lot of bite force.
Highest Bite Forces in the Animal Kingdom
Cats aren’t the only animals with a powerful bite. As mentioned, collecting solid data can be challenging, but here are the highest bite forces in the animal kingdom:
The bite forces of common domestic cat breeds haven’t been measured, but research suggests that bite force is strongly correlated to size and weight. Because of this, we may assume that larger cat breeds have the strongest bite forces among domestic cats. As far as wild cats, the jaguar has the strongest bite force, pound for pound, at 1,500 psi.