Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Why Do Cats Like to Sit up High?

Cats can feel safer up high than they do at ground level.

Does your cat like to climb up on top of the refrigerator and watch you prepare dinner? Maybe you're minding your own business and reading a book when suddenly you feel eyes on you from the top of the bookshelf. Why do some cats like to sit up high?

Predators Use Height to Track Prey

Cats are predators at heart, and predators can use height to spy on, track, and ultimately pounce on prey below them. We're not saying your cat sees you as prey, but it is inbred in a cat's brain that getting up high and watching what goes on below can be a great tactic.

Small Cats Can Get Away from Predators by Climbing Trees

In the wild, small cats can be prey to larger carnivores. Climbing a tree to rest, sleep, or eat is safer for these cats than doing so down on the ground.

Indoor cats can find safety benefits to getting up high and watching what goes on below, too. For instance, if there are visitors in the home, other cats making mischief, or rowdy kids, your kitty might feel better up high where she feels safer but where she can still keep an eye on what's going on.

How Can You Use High Spaces to Decrease Your Cat's Stress?

Most cats feel better if they have some high perches that they can retreat to when they feel the need. Especially in multiple cat homes, it's important to have high perches, tall scratching posts, cleared off windowsills, and other areas where the cats can get some height. Some people even like to build catwalks high on their walls that range from simple shelves within stepping distance of each other to elaborate tunnels, perches, and walkways.

If your cat is exhibiting inappropriate behavior like Cat Not Using Litter Box? Inappropriate Urination in Cats or scratching furniture and you have had the veterinarian check for medical causes, stress could be the culprit. Creating vertical space for your cat to use can be part of the solution toward helping your cat feel better. You can learn more here: "Stress in Cats."

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.