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Home > Cats > Why Do Cats Like High Places? 4 Vet-Approved Reasons

Why Do Cats Like High Places? 4 Vet-Approved Reasons

grey cat climbing tree

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats seem to spend most of their time above ground perching on tables and furniture or walking around on top of walls outside. Cats seem to have no fear of heights, and they can climb and jump up and down from these high places with ease.

Being above the ground seems to be an instinctual need, and they feel more comfortable when they are higher up. Besides, if they do want to get down, they almost always land on their feet!

Let’s get into the four main reasons that cats prefer to be in high places.


The 4 Likely Reasons Why Your Cat Likes High Places

1. It Is Warmer Up There

There’s no doubt that cats love to be warm, and since hot air rises, higher places are naturally warmer. Some higher places may get more direct sunlight, such as the top part of the couch or an area of the dining room table. Your cat will seek out this warmer place, rather than lie on the cold floor.

If you have tiles, you may notice that your cat avoids spending their time on the floor because it is much colder than other surfaces. This is why your cat may prefer to walk on the kitchen counter instead of the floor.

You may also notice that your cat will prefer sleeping on any chairs or bar stools rather than lying on the floor, even if you have placed a cat bed down for them to sleep on.

sleeping cat drool slobber
Image By: kwanza, Shutterstock

2. Easier To Stalk Prey

As natural predators, cats get a better view of prey from above. Most of a cat’s prey is on the ground, such as rodents like rats and mice. This gives cats a better opportunity to spot their prey and catch them without the prey noticing.

This is also beneficial when cats are trying to catch prey like birds because a cat can watch the birds from above, and once the birds land on the ground, they can pounce on their unsuspecting prey. Their view from above definitely seems to benefit cats as natural predators, and they carry this behavior into domesticity as pets.

3. Safety

Even though cats are natural predators, they can still feel uncomfortable and vulnerable on the ground. Cats can fall prey to other predators larger than themselves, so being higher up allows them to be out of view and reach for many predators that roam the ground.

Being on a higher surface is a way for cats to ease any anxiety or stress they may feel from being so low on the ground. Cats may also hide in higher areas than usual when they are feeling nervous, as it allows them to get a better view to watch what is going on in their environment, while also helping them to feel safer.

white and black cat in a cat tree
Image By: Megan Stallings, Unsplash

4. To Avoid Certain People/Animals In the Home

Cats can be fearful or uncertain about certain pets or people in the household and climbing to a higher surface allows them to get a better view of their surroundings and even escape from other pets or guests in the home who are making them feel anxious.

You may notice that your cat will watch what is happening around them when they are above the ground, and it can put them at eye level with other people in the home if guests are visiting.


In Conclusion

So why do cats like to be up high? Cats are truly interesting creatures, and their ability to climb combined with their excellent balance allows them to stay off the ground—where they feel most comfortable. Instead of walking over the floor like a dog, your cat will feel better walking over your countertop and tables instead. Whether it is due to their natural predator versus prey instinct, or the warmth and comfort of higher ground, it is a natural instinct for cats.

Featured Image Credit: bookwurmee, Pixabay

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