Raccoons VS Cats (A Comparison Of Two Animals)

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Published on July 8, 2022
Last Updated on October 12, 2023

Raccoons are known as scavengers, and you will most likely see them scavenging trashcans across Europe and America – especially around the latter since they are native there. With this, they often cross paths with cats who are also searching for scraps. 

Even though raccoons do not see cats as prey and vice-versa, they still end up fighting almost every time they come into contact. 

Now, are you curious to find out who will win in a raccoon vs. cat fight? Read this article as we take a closer look at their relationship and other characteristic comparisons!

How Do Cats And Raccoons Get Along?

Since both raccoons and cats are scavengers, they often encounter each other while looking for scraps. There are also instances where house cats who are being fed outside by their owners come in contact with raccoons. When this happens, cats and raccoons are usually hostile to each other. 

Given that both of them are known to be territorial, they will defend their territories and fight suspected intruders.  

On the other hand, there are also situations where they simply steer away from each other. 

A raccoon standing alert with its back curved and its tail stretched out behind its body.

Do Cats And Raccoons Fight Each Other?

Most of the time, cats and raccoons fight each other. Their cause of confrontation may vary from self-defense, defending territory, and disputes over food. Mother cats will also attack raccoons who try to harm their kittens and a mother raccoon will probably do the same. 

Who Would Win In A Fight Between A Cat And A Raccoon?

Moving forward to one of the most frequently asked questions, let us find out who would win in a raccoon vs. cat fight. 

To be fair, it might vary from fight to fight – there are cases where the cat wins, and there are also cases where the raccoon will come out on top. In most cases, however, the raccoon will have the upper hand and end up as the winner of the fight.

Furthermore, despite raccoons and cats fighting quite frequently, their fights are unlikely to result in major or serious injuries. Their fights occasionally end with both animals steering away from each other. 

Below are the primary factors that give raccoons the upper hand (or paw) in most fights: 

Physical Strength 

Raccoons are usually larger compared to cats. Raccoons can weigh between 14 to 23 pounds or more and can grow up to 24 to 28 inches. Meanwhile, cats have an average size of around 10 pounds and a height of 25 inches. 

Despite the sharp claws and fast reflexes of a cat, it will be very hard to win against a bigger opponent. 


According to this research article by Herculano-Houzel, et al. (2017), raccoons show higher intelligence levels compared to both cats and dogs. Neuroscientists stated that the results of their study match the skills and ability of raccoons in problem-solving and finding food. 

In addition, what makes this more interesting is: that cats and raccoons have the same brain sizes. It would seem, however,  that raccoons have a larger number of neurons. 

Survival Instincts 

Another factor that puts a raccoon at an advantage is that house cats do not have a high sense of survival and hunting instincts. Since they do not have to hunt for their food and defend their territories at all times, house cats are relatively weaker compared to wild raccoons who need to hunt all the time. 

Moreover, some cats are extremely domesticated and used to indoor life to the point that they cannot defend themselves against other animals. 

Do Raccoons Hunt Cats Or Eat Kittens?

As mentioned, raccoons do not perceive cats as their prey. Even though raccoons eat almost anything available, hunting an adult cat is a lot of work. However, when food is scarce, raccoons do tend to prey on kittens and other small animals like puppies – if they can get to them. 

In addition, despite other available food sources, raccoons might hunt kittens if they are left unattended or if the mother cat is nowhere near. 

What Should You Do If A Raccoon Bites Your Cat?

The first thing you should do when a raccoon has bitten your cat is to go to provide basic first aid. Then, go to a veterinary clinic or hospital as soon as possible. 

Having your cat checked, even though the scratches are minimal, is important because of rabies and diseases that some raccoons carry. Raccoon rabies is highly dangerous, and should not be taken lightly. 

Here are some of the common symptoms of rabies in cats you should be aware of:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Excessive drooling
  • Involuntary muscle movements
  • Aggression 

Are Cats And Raccoons Related?

There are several arguments about whether raccoons are closer to cats or dogs. But, studies found that raccoons are more closely related to bears. The only relationship between cats and raccoons is they have the same kingdom (animal), phylum (Chordata), class (Mammalia), and order (Carnivora). 

Aside from the things mentioned, cats and raccoons are completely unrelated. 

Can Cats And Raccoons Mate And Have Babies?

According to Pettitt (2021), raccoons are physically able to mate with cats. However, it’s a different case when it comes to having a hybrid offspring. Remember, mating does not equate to successful breeding. 

Scientists believe that cats and raccoons are genetically incapable of having babies. Their DNA and other genetic traits are extremely different, which means that breeding is off the table. 

There are still existing myths implying that there’s a certain cat breed that originated from a cat and raccoon hybrid – which is the Maine Coon. But then again, experts already debunked this myth.

According to scientists, a cat and a raccoon cannot reproduce or give birth since they are two distinct species from separate taxonomic groups. 

How Do Cats And Raccoons Compare?

When it comes to physical features like speed, size, and health. How do cats and raccoons actually compare?

Are Cats Or Raccoons Faster?

Cats are faster than raccoons. Cats have an average speed of 30 mph, while raccoons only have a speed of around 15 mph. A cat’s speed is related to its extremely strong and muscular legs. Additionally, they have spines that are extremely flexible and may arch and straighten while running, giving them a long stride.

Can Cats And Raccoons Look Alike?

On average, most cats and raccoons do not look alike. Thus, most people will recognize which is which. Raccoons have a distinct black fur mask around their eyes. 

But, as mentioned previously, there is a certain cat species called Maine Coon that is believed to have similar features to a raccoon

Here’s a picture of a Maine Coon cat. Also, older generations of this cat breed are said to look like raccoons more – hence, the reason behind the myth about their ancestors being cat-raccoon hybrids.

A cat sitting on a carpet in a living room.

How Big Are Cats VS Raccoons?

As stated earlier, raccoons are bigger in size compared to cats. An average raccoon can weigh up to 24 pounds, and grow around 24 to 28 inches. On another hand, cats usually weigh 10 pounds and have an average height of 25 inches. 

Meanwhile, some cat breeds, like the Maine Coon, are bigger than a raccoon. These larger cat breeds are more likely to win against a raccoon. 

Who Live The Longest: Raccoons Or Cats?

In terms of life span, cats live longer compared to wild raccoons. Cats have an average life span of 12 to 19 years while raccoons only have 2 to 3 years. The short lifespan of raccoons is associated with the threats and predators they encounter in the wild every day. 

Without their predators, raccoons can live up to 14 years. This record is based on the lifespans of captive raccoons. 

Author: Kaye

Hi, I’m Kaye! Since an early age, I’ve been fascinated with animals. While growing up, I was constantly watching animal programs and reading magazines. I started writing about animals in 2021 when I volunteered to be a publicity officer in a nonprofit organization that advocates for giving stray animals a better life.

Author: Mitzie C

Mitzie is a writer and animal welfare advocate. Her writing is inspired by her love for her rescue cats, Eddy and Dylan, and her rescue dogs, Cypher, Daegu and Holly. Follow her journey as she discovers her unique voice here in Floofmania and shares her insights on the importance of the animal kingdom.


  • Kaye

    Hi, I’m Kaye! Since an early age, I’ve been fascinated with animals. While growing up, I was constantly watching animal programs and reading magazines. I started writing about animals in 2021 when I volunteered to be a publicity officer in a nonprofit organization that advocates for giving stray animals a better life.

    View all posts

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