Why They Like High-Up Places

Making sure your cat has opportunities to remain “above” the action.


Why are cats always jumping up onto things — kitchen counters, tables, the top shelf of a linen closet? The answer becomes clear when you consider that today’s house cats are descended from tree-dwelling felines. (Those ancestors are wildcats, known in Latin as Felis silvestris.) Not enough millennia have gone by to breed out the biological urge to climb high up in the branches, even if those “branches” are perches in your house or apartment.

Add to that the lure of you. Being taller, your face is perpetually higher up than your cat’s, so he may jump onto counters and other surfaces to put himself more at eye level. He does want to interact with you, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.

We can understand that you might not want your cat on the counters where you prep your meals, especially since he may have just come from the litter box. That’s why it’s important to create high spots for him to perch that are acceptable to you. It can be as simple as soft bedding or a fluffy pillow on a windowsill, but if you can go the extra mile and create a few narrow catwalks high up on walls, perhaps at a couple of different levels for your pet to choose his vantage point, so much the better. They can even go near the ceiling as a kind of molding as long as you make sure there’s room for the cat to stand and move about comfortably. Leaving some room on the top shelf of a tall, stable bookcase works, too.

Remember to provide good sight lines. Cats like to be able to view the action, even if they don’t always want to be right in the middle of it.


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