Why Do Cats Climb?

You have most likely heard some story about a cat stuck in a tree. You may wonder why the cat climbed up the tree in the first place. Why do cats climb? Cats climb primarily due to predatory instincts and defensive tactics. Understanding why cats climb can help you understand your cat and his or her needs better.

A Better View

Why Do Cats ClimbAs predators, cats want to get a firm understanding of the environment around them. Since cats are rather small animals, their scope of vision is small as well. One reason cats climb is to get a better view of their surroundings, helping them to see any potential prey or danger in the vicinity.

Minimizing Risk

Even though cats are fierce predators, they are still at risk from larger animals. Climbing allows them to get into a safe hiding place, where they can rest or nap without worry.


Often times, a cat will climb in order to reach something that has caught their attention, such as a bird in a tree or a fly in a window. It is not uncommon for a cat to become overexcited with the chase, climbing to precarious heights.

Such a situation can prove to be unpleasant for both the cat and the owner who must get the cat down. Therefore, you may want to consider preventative measures to decrease your cat’s chances of climbing to areas that may be unsafe.

Just For Fun

On occasion, a cat will climb just for the fun of it, or perhaps just to practice his or her climbing skills. A kitten will climb anything and everything from bookcases to your leg, just to test out their claws. Climbing practice is a great activity for your cat. It will improve strength and flexibility in addition to teaching an important defensive skill.

Why What Goes Up Can’t Always Come Down

If you have ever had your cat climb up to somewhere and not be able to get down on their own, then you have probably wondered why an animal with such extraordinary climbing skills can only go in one direction. Cat claws curve inward, which makes it possible for them to grip surfaces as they climb up headfirst. Unfortunately, these impeccable climbing tools do not do much to help the cat once it is time to descend.Cat Tower

Most of the time, when a cat finds itself trapped in a high spot, it will eventually jump down or shimmy down slowly, tail first. Unless the cat is injured or disabled, you do not have to worry; cats are highly intelligent animals and they usually figure out a way down somehow.

Living With Climbing Cats

Although climbing is good for your cats, it may not be too good for your furniture.

You may want to consider purchasing a cat tower or cat tree that is carpeted, so they have a safe place to hone their climbing skills and spare your furniture.

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