Why do cats like to be up high?

Why do cats like to be up high?


Cats tend to be very adventurous animals that like to explore everything within their territory, and it makes no difference to our feline friends whether that territory is ground level or at a lofty height-they will still want to explore it!

As well as the common sight of cats climbing trees, most cats will naturally gravitate to places that are at head height (to humans) or higher, such as by using the top shelf of a cat climbing frame, or even the top of the wardrobe, fridge or kitchen cabinets if there is a way for them to get up there!

If you have noticed this phenomenon in your own cat and have ever wondered if it is just a strange cat anomaly or of there is a specific reason for it, this article will answer all of your questions for you. Read on to learn more about why cats like to be up high.

Safety and protection

Cats tend to feel comfortable and at peace when they are high up, even if it takes them a lot of effort to get up high and their perch might seem rather precarious!

Because areas of the home that are above head height (such as the wardrobe) are not commonly trafficked by other animals or used by people (other than potentially for storage) high-up places often become spaces that your cat can make their own, and your cat may use them as a safe space to chill out in.

Cats also like smaller spaces (such as cardboard boxes) that are enclosed on most of the sides, and smaller spaces such as these mean that the cat will only have to remain vigilant in one direction when it comes to looking out for potential threats.

High-up places too tend to offer protection on at least one wall and usually, above, due to the ceiling-and so this ticks all of the relevant boxes for your cat!

A panoramic view

When we as people are outside and need to get our bearings without maps or sat navs, we tend to go up high to do this-such as up a hill or other natural feature that will allow us to see the lie of the land and get our bearings.

Being able to gain a panoramic view of their surroundings also makes high up places appealing to cats-not so much in terms of needing to orient themselves and get their bearings, but because being up high will allow your cat to view a much wider space as an observer rather than a participant, and cats very much like to see where everyone is and keep an eye on things!

To avoid things

If your cat feels the need to get out of the way or keep themselves hidden-such as because they are being hassled by another cat, you have a dog visiting or there are simply a lot of people around-your cat will likely head for one of their favourite hidey-holes, which out of choice, will generally be high up off the ground.

This allows your cat to combine the benefits of a panoramic view and a sense of comfort and security-by seeing but not necessarily being seen-so that they can keep a look out for when things calm down and they can carry on with their day!

Peace and quiet

If your house is busy, lively or has strange people in it, your cat will once more likely want to keep out of the way whilst still keeping an eye on things, and so getting up onto a high perch can help them to do this.

Watching for prey

Domestic cats are often prolific hunters, retaining almost all of the prey drive that they have possessed since they first evolved from wild cats and had only themselves to rely upon for food. Cats tend to be sit-and-wait predators, who will sit very still in preparation for the approach of prey before pouncing when the time its right, and having a high-up perch to do this from helps to fulfil their natural urge to keep an eye out for prey.

Avoiding predators

Finally, as well as being excellent predators that are more than up to the task of catching their own meals, cats can also be the prey of other animals. Today, domestic cats in the UK are only really at potential threat from dogs and very rarely wildlife, but historically, and of course in a lot of other countries, this was not the case.

Picking a fairly well hidden high-up spot can help to ensure that cats can rest comfortably without having to keep one eye open to look out for the approach of something that might think they’d make a tasty snack-and also, a lot of animals that are natural predators of cats cannot climb!



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