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Why Does My Cat Try to Climb Walls? 4 Vet Reviewed Causes & What To Do

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Gray cat climbing up a wall

Why Does My Cat Try to Climb Walls? 4 Vet Reviewed Causes & What To Do

VET APPROVED

Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)

Veterinarian

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

Learn more »

Cats are mysterious creatures. Their independent and secretive nature makes them quite fascinating. They also have a unique set of behaviors that make them stand out from other domestic animals like dogs and horses. Cats are curious, agile animals with the ability to climb almost any surface.

This trait is not exclusive to all felines but has been a part of their behavior for as long as we know. The reason why cats climb walls continues to be a mystery for many cat owners, but we have you covered with this comprehensive guide on some reasons why cats might climb walls.

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The 4 Reasons Why Cats Try to Climb Walls

1. To Exercise

Cats are natural climbers, and they enjoy the physical exercise that comes with it. Climbing is a good way to keep their muscles and joints in shape, which we all know is important for a healthy and happy cat. It’s particularly important for indoor cats that don’t get as much exercise as their outdoor counterparts.

Kitten standing in front of low wall


2. To Feel Safer

Cats are constantly curious, and they are often attracted to heights. Cats may climb up to a high shelf or ledge to check out what’s going on below, or they may climb up to escape a situation that they feel is unsafe. Cats may also choose to climb to get away from people if they’ve been naughty and are receiving reprimands. In these situations, climbing up a wall gives the cat a safe space to escape from the situation below. It also allows them to survey the area below to see if it’s safe for them to come back down.


3. To Reach New Places

You’ve heard the expression, “Curiosity killed the cat.” You know that they are very curious creatures. Sometimes, they may climb walls just to explore a new place that they haven’t been before. For example, you may have hung a new shelf on the wall. Your cat may be climbing the wall to check out the new shelf and see what it is.

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

4. To Mark Their Territory

Cats are territorial animals, so they like to mark their home with their scent from time to time. They do this to inform other cats that this is their territory, which they shouldn’t enter. As well as leaving scent marks on furniture and beds, cats sometimes climb up a wall to leave behind a scent marker.

They’re particularly attracted to corners and wall junctions. Cats may also use a wall to leave behind a visual mark, known as a signpost, which is thought to be a way of broadcasting their scent to a wider area. This is most commonly seen in feral cat populations, but domestic cats may do it, too.

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How to Stop Your Cat from Climbing Walls

If your cat has gotten into the habit of climbing walls, there are things you can do to discourage this behavior.

1. Create a Space That Your Cat Likes to Be In

Cats want a place where they can feel safe and secure. This can be a cat tree, a special blanket, or simply a corner in your room. Giving them a safe space may stop them from climbing your walls if they’re doing it to get to higher ground.


2. Give Your Cat a Scratching Post

Scratching is another natural behavior for cats and is a way for them to mark their territory. By giving your cat a scratching post, you are giving them an appropriate surface to do so, so that they might be less inclined to continue to climb, scratch, and mark your walls.


3. Create an Interesting Environment

Cats love to explore their surroundings. By creating an interesting environment, you’re not only giving your cat a place to be, but also giving them a place to explore. Give them plenty of toys on the ground that they can explore and play with so they don’t feel the need to try to reach for higher things.

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Final Thoughts

Cats are mysterious creatures, and they exhibit some very specific behaviors, one of them being wall climbing. Cats climb walls for multiple reasons. If your cat has gotten into the bad habit of climbing walls, there are things you can do to discourage this behavior. Consider creating a space with plenty of things for your cat to do on the ground. You can also invest in a cat tree that allows your cat to climb safely.


Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory

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