Big cats are some of the most physically imposing animals on the planet, with intimidating speed, bite power, and strength. Some of them are so strong that they’re capable of pulling killed prey into the trees.
The question remains: which is the strongest big cat? In today’s article, we’ll be listing down the ten strongest big cats.
- Eurasian Lynx
- Clouded Leopards
- Sunda Clouded Leopards
- Snow Leopards
Note: The cats are ranked in descending order, from weakest to strongest.
Table of Contents
10. Eurasian Lynx
Scientific name: Lynx lynx
The lynx doesn’t belong to the big cat group taxonomically, but they deserve a spot on the list because of their impressive strength despite their size.
Although they’re small in comparison to the largest cats in the world, Eurasian lynx are still very strong for their size. They usually don’t weigh more than 70 pounds, but that doesn’t prevent them from taking down small prey.
In Estonia, for example, an adult lynx will often feed on roe deer – while some of those deer can weigh up to 130 pounds.
An extreme example is a lynx killing adult deer that weighed at least 330 pounds – meaning that they’re capable of taking down prey five times their size.
However, since it’s the weakest big cat, the lynx is incapable of dragging heavy prey around. To preserve it, they’ll cover it with dirt and come back to feast on it later.
9. Clouded Leopards
Scientific name: Neofelis nebulosa
Although related to actual leopards, clouded leopards aren’t as nearly as large. Males usually weigh up to 50 pounds, while females are lighter.
Interestingly, they have the largest canines in comparison to their size, making them similar to the extinct sabretooth.
These cats are primarily arboreal – spending the largest part of their lives in the trees.
Although they usually hunt prey within their weight range, the true testament to their strength is the ability to kill and move adult Indian hog deer, which can weigh more than 60 pounds.
Just like most leopards, they’ll carry their prey up into the trees where they can consume it safely.
8. Sunda Clouded Leopards
Scientific name: Neofelis diardi
Usually a bit bulkier than the clouded leopard, the Sunda clouded leopard weighs up to 60 pounds, with its tail growing to be as long as the body.
Knowledge about this species is extremely limited – not only are they rare, but they’re also exclusively nocturnal.
It is presumed that they feed on other medium-sized animals and that they’re stronger than clouded leopards because they’re slightly larger.
Scientific name: Acinonyx jubatus
Cheetahs have evolved to be agile, slim animals, investing all their energy into achieving incredible speeds. Because of this, they’re the weakest of the official ‘big cat’ group, but they’re also the fastest big cat.
Although they can weigh up to 160 pounds, they’re much weaker than jaguars and leopards of similar weight. Unlike lions and tigers, which are much stronger, cheetahs are rarely strong enough to pull large prey back and keep it still.
Because of this inability, they mostly focus on medium-sized prey. If they do hunt larger animals, they have to kill them instantly by biting into the neck – otherwise, they could escape.
However, given that they’re the quickest terrestrial animal – cheetahs usually don’t have trouble catching up with medium-sized prey and killing it instantly.
6. Snow Leopards
Scientific name: Panthera uncia
While obviously larger and heavier than the previous two leopard species mentioned, snow leopards are still drastically lighter and weaker than leopards (Panthera pardus).
They usually weigh up to 120 pounds, with the most extreme specimens reaching 160 pounds.
In the wild, it’s capable of killing large wild boars, deer, and other large ungulates. After killing its prey, they usually drag it to a safe and secluded location to eat it in peace.
Since wild boars in Asia reach massive sizes (the most extreme examples are boars weighing 600 pounds), dragging such a massive animal requires incredible strength.
Scientific name: Puma concolor
Although cougars are usually heavier than leopards (and some jaguars), their bodies aren’t as packed with muscles, making the noticeably weaker cats.
Despite that, they can take down one of the largest and most dangerous herbivorous mammals – the moose.
Just like all other cats – it will drag its prey into a safe spot to eat it. However, it’s unable to drag such large prey into the trees – something that jaguars and leopards are known for.
Scientific name: Panthera pardus
Adult leopards can weigh up to 200 pounds, while the largest leopard ever caught weighed just over 210 pounds. Although they’re massive, quick, and powerful, they prefer feeding on prey lighter than 90 pounds.
This doesn’t mean that they can’t take down large prey, though, as the largest documented leopard kill was an eland weighing 2000 pounds!
The most impressive thing about leopards, though, is that they can carry prey much heavier than themselves into the trees.
One leopard was documented carrying a small giraffe (lighter than 300 pounds) up a tree to feast on it.
Scientific name: Panthera onca
Capable of weighing more than 300 pounds, it’s possible that the jaguar is the strongest pound-for-pound cat in the world.
If not, they’re certainly the deadliest big cat, as they’re quicker than tigers and lions, while they also have the strongest bite, relative to their size, out of all cats.
Because of their strength, speed, and bite force – there essentially isn’t an animal they can’t kill. They regularly kill prey weighing up to 200 pounds, while they’ll also kill much heavier prey, given the opportunity.
For example, jaguars regularly kill tapirs, which usually weigh between 300 and 700 pounds. Just like leopards, jaguars will drag their prey into the trees to eat them peacefully.
Scientific name: Panthera leo
Male lions can weigh almost 500 pounds, while females can weigh just over 300 pounds. Unlike jaguars and leopards, they don’t drag carcasses into the trees as they live in packs and protect their
Because of their strength and the teamwork they employ, lions are capable of killing adolescent African bush elephants.
When hunting buffalos, two or three lionesses will hold the buffalo down while the fourth female delivers the killing blow to the neck.
Scientific name: Panthera tigris
Tigers are the largest, heaviest, and strongest big cats, while they also have the most powerful bite (although relative to their size, the bite of the jaguar is more powerful). Because of this, they’re undoubtedly the strongest big cat.
Since they’re solitary animals and they don’t hunt in packs like lions, tigers have to kill alone. After killing prey (which can weigh tons), they’re known to move it to a safe place.
An example of this is the killing of an adult gaur (the largest bovid in the world, ranging in weight from 950 to 3,000 pounds).
After killing the gaur, the tiger dragged the carcass over 40 feet. However, when 13 men tried to move the carcass later, they were unable to move it by an inch.
Although it doesn’t happen often, tigers are also known to kill fully grown Asian elephants and Indian Rhinos.
The strongest big cat is definitely the tiger – they’re the largest out of all the cats and they have the strongest bite. However, taking size into account – the jaguar is actually the strongest cat with the strongest bite.
Despite these differences, big cats are known to take down prey several times their size, drag it over 100 feet to a safe location, or even carry it up into the trees to eat it safely, proving just how strong they are.