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Why Do Cats Like Heights?

Petmate Academy

September 22, 2022

It's no secret that cats love high, hard to reach places. With their amazing jumping, climbing, and landing abilities, they can get into – and out of  – some interesting spots. But why do cats love high places in the first place? Below are some of the interrelated reasons why cats climb high.

Instint/Prey Drive

The first reason cats climb so high is out of a sense of instinct and fun. From their powerful legs to their retractable claws and flexible musculoskeletal systems, cats are designed to stalk prey. Taking a high position is part of the cat's genetic makeup and factors into their sense of play.

Cats are born predators with a strong prey drive, which climbing also serves. Climbing high is a cat's idea of a good time and serves her natural tendencies to seek higher ground. Cats like to be perched up high to have a better vantage point over prey below.

Sense of Security

Climbing to a higher position also heightens a cat's sense of security. Because cats themselves can be prey to larger wild animals, this positioning lets them avoid being taken by surprise, which increases their own sense of security. A high position not only gives cats a sense of command over prey, but it also makes the cat feel safer from other potential threats. In a higher spot, a cat can survey all potential challenges surrounding them.


Increased surveillance is a key component of the cat's expanded territory. When he moves into a high position, he isn't just staking a strong claim on what lies below. He's also scouting out new territory around him. This might look funny when that territory is your kitchen, but that's what he's doing up there!


When cats move to higher ground, they also open up other avenues for escape. Cats don't like to feel cornered, stuck, or trapped, especially when they are hunting. So, they make sure they have options available to escape if needed. Moving to a higher spot in your home may be your cat's way of escaping the daily chaos.

Factors In The Home

It can seem funny to think of a cat exerting his instincts in the quietude of your home. After all, you would think that all the threats were location outside. But your cats strong instincts do not rest much, and they can kick in at the sight of the smallest provocation. For example, the "threat" presented by a small child, by a dog, or by another cat can be enough to send your cat seeking higher ground.

If you have multiple cats in your household, you are likely aware of the heirarchy between them. And if so, then you might have noticed how the dominant cat takes the highest spot on the cat condo. That's because of his or her status in the heirarchy, which has earned him or her the best lookout.


Cats' instincts don't take a break, so your cat will use your home environment to make himself feel as empowered as possible. So, let your cat explore those higher spots in your home as climbing high is a key factor in making your cat feel balanced in your home.



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