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Why Does My Cat Like to Be Up High? 5 Common Reasons

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on January 31, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat in bird house

Why Does My Cat Like to Be Up High? 5 Common Reasons

As a cat owner, you know that when you look for your feline pal, you must look up most of the time. Above the kitchen sink, in the window, on top of the fridge, or even on the top shelf of the closet that you didn’t think the cat could get into are common places where you can find your feline friend.

Have you ever wondered why your cats like to be in high places? There are a few reasons cats prefer to be up high looking down on the world, and we’ll discuss them below.

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Top 5 Reasons Why Your Cat Likes to Be Up High

1. It Helps the Cat Feel Secure

cat trying to climb over the fence
Image by: Kalo Kanev, Shutterstock

Although cats are predators, they’re also prey for larger animals. In the wild, being in a high place helps the cat to keep an eye on any danger below it. If your cat is constantly climbing things to perch on, it’s probably doing it so it will feel secure in its surroundings.

Remember, your cat is a sensitive creature, and it doesn’t take much for them to feel like they are being threatened. Anything from being in a new environment to dealing with children can bother your cat and make it feel anxious.

When stress or fear affects your pet, it may seek out the comfort and security of a high place.

2. It Cements the Cat’s Status

two maine coons in cat tree
Image by: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Believe it or not, just as executives flaunt their status with coworkers by securing the best office in their company, cats cement their position by securing the top of the cat tree or tower. To put it another way, the cat with the highest spot in the house is the most dominant of your cats.

This is especially true if you have multiple cats in your home, so watch to make sure they aren’t fighting over the highest spots to be on the safe side.

3. It’s the Cat’s Instinct

Cat chasing tail on horizontal scratching post
Image by: CarruthersCat, Shutterstock

You may know that domestic cats display many of the instincts of their ancestors. This means that your cat has the instinct to stay up high and hidden to stalk its prey and prevent an attack from a predator.

Staying up high was a reliable technique for cats in the wild to stay safe from coyotes, wolves, foxes, owls, eagles, and more. Domestic cats, even those never allowed outside, have retained that survival DNA and like to be up high to protect themselves from possible harm.

You may find your cat jumping up high when it wants to be alone and even when the family dog won’t leave it alone.

4. To Help the Cat Sleep Better

Gray cat lying down a cat tree with scratching post
Image by: husnerova, Pixabay

You wouldn’t think where a cat sleeps would affect how well it sleeps, but it does. When your cat sleeps on a chair in the living room, it may experience too much noise and commotion. This can be a stressor for your cat, and it may seek a more appealing location.

Curling up somewhere high and away from the rest of your house will help the cat sleep deeply, peacefully, and without worrying about someone waking it up at every turn.

5. It Regulates the Cat’s Body Heat

cat lying on heating pad
Image by: Anelo, Shutterstock

Some cats have a lot of fur, and others are practically bald, but when winter rolls in, felines of all coat types seem to feel the chill. Many pet owners are surprised that their cats can feel the cold just as they do. As you probably know, heat rises, so many cats climb onto something high to reach the heat while they sleep.

This helps them to stay warm in the winter months. By the same token, you might find your cat sleeping on the floor more often in the summer season to take advantage of the cooler air down there.

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How Can I Give My Cat More Vertical Space?

Now that you know why your cat constantly seeks high spots to rest, sit, or sleep in your home, you might want to know a few ways to give the cat more vertical space. Here are a few of our favorite ideas.

  • Clear off the top of your fridge so it can be a safe, warm spot for your feline.
  • Purchase a high-quality cat hammock for your furry friend. There are windowsill and wall-mounted options, so choose the one that works best for your feline. If you’re on a budget or don’t want to go that fancy with a cat hammock, there are quite a few DIY options you can build.
  • One simple solution is to purchase a new set of shelves. Place them with space between them and at different elevations so your cat has different levels. This is also a great way to help your cat get in exercise and playtime.
  • Invest in a high-quality cat tree or cat tower. They are the perfect product for cats that love to be up high. Most cat trees are designed with hidey holes, toys, scratching posts, and beds. There are also DIY options for towers and trees if you feel creative.

If you’re looking for a way for your cat to get above it all, these tips will certainly get you started. Remember, whether it’s routine day-to-day traffic or the family is running in and out for the holidays, cats need the option to get away from it all, and getting to a high spot is often their way of doing it.

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Whether it’s because the cat is stressed or trying to stay warm in the middle of a frigid winter season, you need to have elevated spaces where your cat can get to be healthy, happy, and stress-free. Try out some of our tips for creating vertical areas in your home, and see how well your cat reacts. Do you have other methods that have helped your cat enjoy its elevated viewpoint?

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova, Shutterstock

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