What Cat Has The Strongest Bite? & How Strong Is It

cat biting electrical chord
Image Credit: MVolodymyr, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Codee Chessher

Big cats are some of the most majestic and lithe members of the animal kingdom, and their big, scary teeth are a pretty good reason to be feared. However, it’s the strength beneath their jaws you must worry about.

Perhaps contrary to many people’s expectations, it’s not the lion or the tiger with the strongest bite among cats. In fact, the jaguar has the strongest bite of all cats relative to its size. So, while technically the tiger has a stronger bite force, the jaguar’s bite force is stronger compared to the animal’s size and weight.

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The Jaguar: The Cat With The Strongest Bite In The World

jaguar standing on the ground
Image Credit: Pixabay

The bite force of a jaguar is 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi), which makes them, pound for pound, the cat with the highest bite strength. Their jaws are slightly shorter, which grants them more leverage than other big cats, and their jaw muscles are a bit different in shape.

These adaptations are totally worth it for the jaguar, who can bite right through the skull of their prey. Jaguars have also been observed piercing the thick, armor-like exterior of cayman crocodiles, which is quite the feat!

Jaguars are a common ancestor of most domestic cats, although their bite force is only a fraction of the jaguar’s, at a mere 70 psi on average. As you’ve likely experienced yourself, though, even house cats have a pretty nasty bite! Now imagine your cat biting through your skull, and you have an idea just how strong jaguars really are.


How Is Bite Force Measured?

The truth is that bite force is more of an approximation than an exact figure. There are strain gauges, pressure-sensitive films, and special electrical sensors that help measure an animal’s jaw strength. The bite force testing process measures how much pressure an animal can exert with its jaws and teeth, but it’s difficult to be precise.

The best estimates we have available for jaguar bite force, as well as other animals’ bite forces, are derived from a combo of these tests and skulls found in nature. The density of a prey animal’s skull can be used to help narrow down the range of bite forces, but the testing process really dials it in.

Many examples of bite force aren’t necessarily indicative of the average bite force for the species tested. For instance, the highest bite force demonstrated by a saltwater crocodile is 3,700 psi, but the average is closer to 3,000. Getting exact figures for the entire species is, naturally, very difficult, so we have to work with what data is out there.

tongue of a cat
Image Credit: Ukki Studio, Shutterstock

Cat Bite Force By Breed

Jaguar 1,500 psi
Tiger 1,050 psi
Lion 650 psi
Cheetah 500 psi
Leopard 300 psi
Domestic cat 70 psi

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Bite Strength: How Do Cats Fare Against Other Animals?

Big cats might be some of the most beautiful animals, but they’re not even close to the strongest when it comes to bite force. Although the jaguar has a commendable 1,500 psi bite, many other animals exceed this figure.

Other Animals By Bite Force Strength:

Great white shark 4,000 psi
Saltwater crocodile 3,700 psi
Polar bear 2,100 psi (strongest bear)
Alligator 2,100 psi
Hippo 1,820 psi (strongest land animal)
Gorilla 1,300 psi
great white shark
Image Credit: ayaprasanna T.L, Shutterstock

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The jaguar and other wild cats have some pretty fearsome jaws that can inflict a lot of damage. But even the average domestic cat has a bite force that can’t be ignored! We hope you enjoyed this look at cats with the strongest bite force. Your comments and feedback are always welcome.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: MVolodymyr, Shutterstock

About the Author

Codee Chessher
Codee Chessher
Codee Chessher is a freelance writer with extensive knowledge on a variety of subjects that include travel, DIY, pets, and more. He has a colorful past but the written word was always his first love. He believes there's nothing a well-worded sentence can't accomplish! When not writing, Codee enjoys reading fantasy novels, tackling DIY projects around the house, and memorizing useless pop culture trivia. He has lived in many places around the US, and most recently resides in northern Mexico.

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