8 reasons why your cat needs climbing opportunities

Cats are all about climbing, leaping, and perching, yet for most of them, the highest location available is a chair, a sofa, or sometimes, when the owner is not watching, the kitchen counter.

In this article, you will find eight reasons why your cat needs cat trees, shelves, perches, wide window panes, and access to your computer desk.

Cat sitting on top of a skyscraper

  1. Climbing expands your cat’s territory. Have you ever heard someone say his or her house is too small to accommodate a cat? Maybe your mother said that about your house yesterday. Well, that’s not true. A cat can easily feel comfortable even in a studio apartment, and there is no problem about keeping a cat in a single room, because it’s not about number of rooms. Cats don’t care how many square feet your house is; cats care about how many levels each room provides. Add one cat tree with three perches: you just bought your cat a three-story apartment. Add another tree in the opposite corner and few shelves so your cat can climb and jump from one to another: your cat now owns a mansion.
  2. Climbing provides exercise for your cat. The act of climbing and jumping from perch to perch is great exercise all by itself, but that’s not all. When you play with your cat (you do play with your cat?), being on a flat surface is boring. If you add a cardboard box, that improves the quality of play significantly. But what if you have window panes, cat trees, shelves, perches, and cat houses available for play? That set-up actually becomes a 2-in-1: a playground and a gym. Find more ways to provide activity for your cat here.
  3. Climbing provides security. Being up means no larger predators; that is, no toddlers, dogs, or vacuum cleaners can get to your cat. Cats naturally look for higher places because they’re safer and any dangers can be spotted earlier. Also, most cat trees include a “house”: an enclosed area with walls and holes. Cats don’t live in caves, but if the house has appropriately sized openings, it may provide extra security for your cat. Besides, such hideouts are great for playing, too.
  4. Climbing builds confidence in shy cats. What is the difference between a cat who spends his days on a cat tree compared to a cat who spends his days behind a sofa? The latter will have a hard time accepting that the outside world provides no threat to him, because he is shutting that information out. A cat who sits on top of the world feels secure and, simultaneously, has a possibility to observe what’s going on in the “dangerous” part of his home. Given this, whether it takes a day, a week, or a month, a shy cat can at least have an opportunity to learn about your world and make the decision that it is not as bad as he thought after all.
  5. Climbing ensures peace in your home. Do you have more than one cat? Then cat trees and perches are a must-have for you. Even cats who, more or less, hate each other can easily share a space if there is enough vertical territory. Cats who get along so-so may never nap a few feet from each other on a sofa, but they can on a cat tree when that distance is measured vertically. What’s said above about security and confidence also applies. If your older cat finds that playing is silly, as opposed to your junior cat, he has an opportunity to climb up. If a shy cat does not feel brave enough to engage in “conversation,” he has an opportunity to avoid it. You will be surprised how much other cats respect the privacy of a cat who wants to be alone on the top of a cat tree.
  6. Climbing provides views. Several purposes are accomplished with the different kinds of views climbing provides. The height lets your cat look over his turf; it lets your cat observe what you are doing (cats actually find it amusing how we prepare meals, read newspapers, and play Twister); and, if placed correctly, it also gives a nice outdoor view (an indoor cat’s equivalent to television).
  7. Climbing improves your communication with your cats. Do you know why dogs love to jump up on people? It’s because they want to be closer to the human’s face. This isn’t exactly true for cats, but your cat sure prefers to greet you from the level equal to or even above your face, rather than running around you, tangling between your steps, and waiting for you to crouch down and pet him. Cats love greeting each other nose to nose, and if your cat is on a cat tree, it becomes a lot easier for you to offer your nose for a short sniff. When you pet or talk to your cat, he will feel a lot better being on the same level as your head is, or higher!
  8. You will feel great, too. People who have managed to cat-ify their homes report that they feel proud of their cats’ increased health and happiness, and love to brag when visitors ask why there are empty shelves on the wall.

So, how do you provide more climbing opportunities for your cat?

The easiest way, of course, is adding a cat tree, or several cat trees. In an ideal world, each room would contain at least one cat tree, and the central family gathering room would house at least a few. In addition, you should expand the opportunities by adding shelves or a series of shelves and creating clear access for your cat to furniture tops and window panes. You can find more information about making your house appealing to your cat here.

Provide as many climbing opportunities for your cat as you can. Make them available in several strategically important parts of your house and your cat will be happy, confident, secure, and feel loved.