If you have ever sat and observed your cat’s behavior inside your house or around your garden, you may have noticed that your cat seems to like getting as high as possible. In the garden, they climb trees, scramble over the fence, and sit perched on top of garages. When they are indoors, they will find any elevated position, such as window ledges, countertops, doorways, banisters, and the back of furniture. The higher they can get, the better as far as a cat is concerned. So why do cats like to climb and get as high as possible?
Natural Feline Instinct
Climbing is a natural feline instinct that goes back to the origins of wild cats as these were tree-climbing mammals, says Pet Assure. Cats are natural hunters and climbing gives them an elevated position in which they can view across a larger distance than from on the ground to see prey and plan their attack.
Similarly, cats in the wild climb so that they can feel safe. Not all animals can climb, so any predators that could potentially attack cats cannot chase them up a tree. A cat will flee to a higher point to increase their safety if they feel under threat. Another reason why they feel safer up the tree as it gives them a visual advantage as they can see potential threats from their elevated position. Domestic cats also feel safer when they are high up because they are out of harms way from any perceived threat on the ground.
Height and Status Are Linked
According to Pet MD, height and statues are connected. In the wild, cats that sit in the highest position in the tree have a better status in the area than cats that are sat on the lower branches. For various reasons, the high cats have earned the respect or fear of the lower cats and are considered to have more power. Domestic cats display the same hierarchal behavior. In homes with multiple cats, you should observe how the cats sit around your home. You may notice that one is always higher than the others. This is because they have the highest status and the most power. Surprisingly, cats are quite flexible about the hierarchy between them, so which of them has the most power is not static and can change.
Fun and Good Views
Cats like to climb to high places just for fun and so they can enjoy the views. Climbing is a cat’s way of exploring their surroundings and enjoying their environment. They can see the house from different perspectives or enjoy the views outside. Cats divide their days into periods of sleep and periods of play. When they are in playful mode, climbing is one of their favorite activities.
Just Because They Can
Cats climb simply because they can, and it is natural to them. Humans predominantly explore their environment and get from one place to another by moving through horizontal space, says Catster. Over time, humans have created ways to move vertically, such as ladders and stairs. Without using these inventions, humans would not move vertically as our bodies are not ideally designed for climbing. On the other hand, a cat’s body has many features that are perfect for climbing. They can run faster than humans, and this gives them better momentum to leap up a wall or onto a tree. Their claws allow them to grip surfaces to aid climbing. A cat’s flexibility means that they can stretch their bodies for greater reach and contort to fit within smaller spaces as they climb. They also have better balance and coordination than humans, and these are important skills for climbing.
Are There Any Dangers for Cats Climbing High?
One of the dangers of a cat climbing high is that they get stuck in their elevated position. This is unusual as a cat can generally get down from any position they have reached. However, there are some circumstances when cats cannot safely return to the ground. In these cases, the cats can need a little assistance. The second danger is cats falling from a height. If they fall from a tree, they can usually catch hold of a branch with their claws. On the other hand, the surfaces on buildings, such as wall coatings and window ledges, are harder for a cat to grip and they are likely to fall. It is a mistaken belief that cats can survive a fall from any height. When they land, they splay their legs, and this can cause catastrophic leg or pelvic injuries. Shattering their jaw is also a common injury.
Giving Your Cat Vertical Spaces at Home
Now that you know that climbing and sitting in high spots is perfectly normal cat behavior, you might want to take a look around your home to assess whether you have enough vertical spaces for your cat. If your home does not have lots of surfaces where you cat can sit or climb, then you might want to consider buying a cat tree so that they have somewhere to climb to different levels, sit in an elevated position, and play with their cat toys.
Why Do Cats Like Being High? – The Final Verdict
Cats love to sit in elevated positions, and climbing is a perfectly natural behavior for this species. There are lots of reasons that cats like being high. Instinctively, a cat will find somewhere high for safety and for hunting. They can observe their prey and keep out of the way of their predators. Cats are natural climbers and it is an activity they enjoy. Therefore, they will often climb when they are feeling playful. Finally, cats sit in high positions as a symbol of their power and status. In most cases, cats climbing to high points is not a concern, although it is possible they may get stuck or fall.