Did you know that a healthy adult cat can jump up to six feet high? That’s the equivalent of a human jumping 36 feet high!
Cats love being up above, and if they can jump so high, just imagine how far up they can climb!
Most domestic cats love to scale trees, furniture, and fences — basically anything they can get their four paws on! Have you ever wondered why?
Let’s look at some of the top reasons why kitties are climbers and why a cat wall shelf is a perfect gift to your feline friend.
The Hunting Advantage
Cats first became domesticated thousands of years ago, but anyone who’s seen their cat catch a bug or stalk a bird knows that our feline companions still have a lot of the “wild” in them. It’s only natural for cats, who are obligate carnivores, to engage in stalking behaviors.
One way that cats exhibit these behaviors is to climb. Your cat’s ancestors needed to climb trees and rocks to have a better view of prey — just think of a hawk searching for mice from above. Climbing also helps members of the cat family to catch prey animals, such as birds and lizards, which dwell in trees.
Although your kitty may be very well-fed, her hunting instincts are persistent!
Another reason why your kitty enjoys climbing furniture, counters, cabinets, and, unfortunately, curtains, is that she feels safe from predators when she’s aloft. Being high above her environment like on a wall shelf allows her to watch for potential predators, as well as to stay out of their reach.
If a friend has brought a strange dog over to visit, you’ve almost certainly seen your cat leap on top of a surface immediately.
A cat’s sharp claws and agility give her a strong advantage of would-be predators who can’t climb. Cats’ tails can also act as counterweights to help them balance. It can be pretty amazing to see a cat perched on a perch or walking fearlessly along a narrow ledge or on top of a fence. While this may seem almost impossible to us, they’re just born that way. When it comes to avoiding enemies, cats are certainly on top of it!
Excuse Me, I’m the Boss
Sometimes, cats don’t climb to catch prey or avoid becoming lunch; they climb to show that they’re in charge. Cats living in groups have a complex social hierarchy, although they don’t necessarily see relationships the way that we do. They do, however, have their concepts of status and dominance.
Adult cats mainly communicate with each other via silent body language. The flick of a tail, the slant of an ear, the brush of a whiskered cheek — these actions may not necessarily be clear to us, but they are all ways in which cats speak to each other and their owners.
Cats engage in several actions to show their place in the hierarchy, and literally being up high is one way in which your cat may say that she’s in charge. If you have more than one cat, or if you’ve visited a multiple-cat home, you might notice that one cat tends to spend time higher than her peers. This is her way of expressing that she’s in control. Think of a queen gazing down at the masses from a castle balcony; that’s almost exactly what she’s doing!
All About the Real Estate
Feral cats and your domestic cat’s ancestors are territorial creatures, but what about kitty herself? Yep, she’s territorial too. Climbing helps your cat to increase her vertical territory, especially in a home with limited horizontal space or multiple cats. Taking advantage of high spaces allows your cat to have additional areas in which to rest, roam, and groom.
Just Plain Fun
Your cat gets exercise the same way that a child does — through play and exploration. Climbing on surfaces gives your cat a chance to check out every inch of your home, pardon, her home. Ascending to new heights provides your cat with entertainment and stimuli. Just like people, cats become bored when there’s nothing to learn or do. To your cat, conquering a cabinet is an exciting mental and physical exercise. She’s enjoying testing her skills and doing what she does best, being a cat.
So, How Can I Discourage My Cat From Climbing? Should I?
There are various methods to deter your cat from climbing on surfaces in your home. Some people choose to cover surfaces with sticky tape or to spray their cats with water.
I’ve spent a lot of time around cats, both my own felines, and shelter kitties. If there’s one thing I know about cats, it’s that they don’t understand punishment the same way that we do. Spraying your cat with water or employing similar tactics may (or may not) keep your cat from climbing, but this type of reaction will also breed distrust.
While covering a surface with something sticky or otherwise unpleasant may seem harmless, keeping your cat from climbing robs her of her natural inclinations. I don’t think it’s extreme to say that pet owners owe their animals the freedom to be animals and to live enjoyable lives.
I’m not saying that it’s wrong to protect your furniture, and if your cat is “driving you up the wall” by climbing up the walls, I completely understand the frustration.
Although punishment doesn’t work well to discourage feline behaviors, providing alternatives to those behaviors is an excellent solution. My 8-year-old cat, Snowbelle, definitely has her predatory instincts intact. She’s an indoor-only cat, but she seems determined to capture the birds living my backyard tree.
Historically, Snowbelle’s relentless resolve to annihilate the avian population in my neighborhood has been aggravating. Snowbelle will definitely jump at the chance to be on top of a piece of furniture to get a better view of a robin.
Enter My Cat Wall Shelf
Since I purchased the Deluxe Cat Wall Shelf by HumaneGoods and placed it where my cat gets a great view of the trees, my furniture has seen considerably less abuse. Snowbelle loves her new special, comfy place, and now she can stare at the birds without making me pull my hair out!
Here she’s caught in the act of disturbing the wildlife:
Here she’s having a nice flop atop the shelf:
This particular cat shelf measures 19″ by 10.8″ so any adult cat can feel comfortable on it.
It also comes with 3 replaceable, velcro-attached carpet pads. So, if you’re cat is a scratcher and sheds you can detach the pads, clean them, or if needed replace them so your shelf looks fantastic.
It currently sells on Amazon and you can learn more about the cat wall shelf I recommend here.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why cats love to go up high, so why not help them do just that? Whether it’s the Deluxe Wall Shelf or another cat perch you like, your kitty will be thanking you (and your furniture) for your purchase.
This article was written by Laura Kathryn. She is a professional writer and editor in North Carolina. She loves pets and connecting with others through her work. Hear more about her at https://lkathrynbright.wordpress.com/.