Faster than the trot but not as fast as a full speed run, the canter is a three beat gait where at least one paw is always in contact with the ground and where, at some phases of the stride, three paws are in contact with the ground. When the forelegs or hind legs are about to make contact with the ground at the foremost point of the stride, the last paw to touch down will be placed in advance of its pair. The paw that is advanced forward the furthest is said to be the “lead leg” so a cat can canter on either a right or a left lead. During the canter there is no crossing of back and forelegs, known as overreaching and there is no suspension phase, in other words at all phases of the gait at least one paw is in contact with the ground (Beaver, 1992).
The following video illustrates three strides of canter before the cat breaks into a trot and then a walk. The video is played in slow motion to better illustrate the strides of canter which are also numbered to aid identification