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  DFS31 Wednesday January 2, 2008

Why Do Cats Like High Places?

Holly Nash, DVM, MS
Veterinary Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.


Q. Why do cats seem to like high places?
A. A cat high up in a cat tree We will probably never know the real reason(s) why cats like high places, but here are some theories:
  • Height can indirectly be a sign of status. If there are multiple cats in a household, the cat who controls the best perches is generally the most dominant. The highest cat is literally the 'top cat.'

  • The height gives the cat a better observation point. From that location, the cat can survey his 'realm' and be more aware of activities of people and other pets. In the wild, a higher place may serve as concealed site from which to hunt.

  • Living in the Northwoods, I think one of the reasons my cats like the top perch on the cat tree is that the tree is located near a heat register, and the top perch is the warmest spot. The tops of refrigerators also tend to be warm.

  • If a cat is anxious or afraid, a high perch may get him farther away from the cause of his anxiety (e.g.; a dog).

Why your particular cat seeks higher places may be a combination of these theories, or something only he will ever know.

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