Why do cats like to sit in high places?

Cats, it seems, like to pretend they’re big. Put a cat in a room and they’ll inevitably seek out the highest point in it to perch and get a good overview of the situation. They’ve been known to go to ridiculous lengths and get into a great deal of mischief attempting to get to the greatest altitude in any given space.

Many is the shocked pet owner who turned expecting to see naught but an empty shelf only to find themselves face to face with their resident feline, contentedly perched in a seemingly inaccessible area, forced to ask themselves, “How did they get up there.” Cats, it would seem, wish to be Masters Of All They Survey. But why do they want to be up there?

– 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 “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 (Master Of All They Survey). In the wild, a higher place may serve as concealed site from which to hunt.

– Often, the top perch on the cat 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).

In the end, why your particular cat seeks higher places may be a combination of these theories, or something only they will ever know.

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