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Why Do Cats Like to Climb Trees? A Kitty’s Point of View!

Written by FELIWAY, published on 11 May 2022

Miaow! Miaow! Just look at that lovely tree! I wonder how far I can get up before I get stuck?  

Not that I want that to happen! I saw how difficult it was to get to the cat next door when he got stuck up a tree – his owner had to get a ladder out to coax him down. He wasn’t happy, but in the end the cat managed to get down on his own… very slowly!

Normally, cats are very good at climbing. We have retractable claws that help us grip and stay secure when we are going up – it’s getting down that can be difficult. Our bodies are more adept at going up because we use our back legs to push us, but coming down is a different matter!

We are good at jumping down from certain things (we can jump down easily from a fence or a high shelf) but if we climb too far up a tree, it’s too far to jump down and we get scared. Mostly, we can walk from branch to branch and make our way down safely, but sometimes we’re enjoying ourselves so much that we just forget – and get stuck!

But there are other reasons we like to climb trees.

cat sitting outside in tree

Why do cats like to climb trees?

The one above sees all!  

We like elevated places so that we can keep an eye on our territory;  our ancestors would sit quietly in a tree to watch for any prey that dared enter their territory, and cats today do the same.  I spotted a mouse the other day – it couldn’t see me, but it heard me and scuttled away before I could get down from the tree to catch it. It’s a shame… but it was good fun trying!  

Trees make good resting places.

Trees often have great places where we can take a nap. Some branches are quite wide, and because we are good at balancing, we can lay along a nice sturdy branch without being disturbed.  We can also drape ourselves in between branches, too, and still not be visible.  Cool!

Dogs can’t climb trees!

Sometimes I get chased by that pesky dog that lives in my house;  even though my human has tried to help us get along, he sometimes chases me when she’s not looking. But he never catches me, as I can scoot up the tree and hiss at him – all he can do is bark!

cat sitting on broken tree branch

We feel safe

My humans often have people visiting them; as I’m a little bit nervous of strangers, I will usually take myself off and quite often climb up a tree in the garden to stay out of their way.  I might come down after a while just to check them out, especially if they have a treat for me, but I do feel quite comfortable up a tree where I can have some peace and quiet.

Climbing is good for cats

Using our claws to scale a tree trunk not only helps us climb very quickly, it also helps to keep our claws from getting too long.  All that stretching and jumping keeps our bodies strong and flexible, and makes sure our other senses are in tip-top condition too – we use our whiskers to find our way through all the leaves – whiskers are our very best navigational tool.

We like adventure

Not much gets past cats – we have eyes that can see in the dark, and they are much more sensitive to movement than a human’s eyes. We can see birds, animals or little creatures moving and it’s very hard to resist chasing them, so we like to go off on an adventure of stalking, pouncing and catching.

cat climbing tree

My humans do their best to make sure I have everything I need and that I feel happy and serene when I’m climbing indoors – and that’s important too. They use FELIWAY Optimum to help create a calm and comforting environment for me to explore in.

Some of my feline friends are indoor cats, so they need places to climb, like cat towers, furniture, high shelves or a nice cosy windowsill to make sure they have somewhere to retreat to. All that climbing and jumping certainly gives them plenty of exercise.

grey cat sitting on climbing tower

I know I won’t always be as spritely as I am now, so I’m delighted that my humans have already got things in place to keep me active when I get older… but that won’t be for a while yet – don’t forget cats have nine lives!

I’m feeling a little sleepy now, and I’ve just spotted that the sun is shining on that branch – time for a safe catnap.

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