Why Do Cats Like High Places

Why Do Cats Like High Places?

As a cat owner there is no doubt you have already noticed that your cat loves to perch high up. Whether it is a shelf, the top of the fridge or even just your chest of a morning, looking down on you wondering why you have let them wither away into nothingness through lack of food.

Have you ever wondered, though, why do they even do that? Why do cats like high places? You may have assumed it is simply so they can look down on their lowly staff (you), but is there more to it than that? Let’s take a closer look: 

So, Why Do Cats Like To Be Up High?

There are multiple natural, normal reasons that cats prefer to be in high places.

Understanding this is not only interesting but useful, so you can provide the very best home for your purrfect pal.

Read on to hear our answers the question; why do cats like high places? 

Predator Instincts

Cat on the tree
Cats are natural predators to prey animals like birds, rabbits, voles or even moles, depending on their location. This is because they are descended from wilder relatives, whether that is a larger African lion, or similarly sized wild Scottish cats. This is why a happy house cat is a cat who is allowed to pursue their natural instincts of hunting prey, and catching it. You can find out more about playing with your cat in this natural way, in this handy video from cat expert Jackson Galaxy

This might explain why a cat likes a vantage point to look for their own prey, even if it is at home. It’s a natural instinct. 

Prey Instincts

What you may not know, is that cats are also prey to predator animals like wolves, coyotes and even birds of prey, like eagles. So they not only want to look out from up high for their own hunting needs, but to keep themselves safe. Being high up enables them to keep a watch out for any prey animals hunting for their dinner.

Natural Habitat

Studies tell us the first domesticated cats were recorded around 3600 BC. Before that point though, they were all wonderfully wild.

We know that the long-ago relatives of our gorgeous kitties actually lived in jungles, forests and woods across the different lands. To protect themselves, rest and hunt, they would go up into the plants and trees naturally. In your home, you, the furniture, the house itself – are those natural vantage points. 

A Place To Rest

Place to rest for cat
If you have a loud or busy household, it may be that your cat gets into a high spot to avoid being disturbed during rest. If they have failed to find solace in cat beds, on or under furniture or other low-lying objects, then the next logical step is to go high and out of the way to get some peace.

Confrontation Avoidance

Some cats may come into confrontation with their housemates, and so a high point could be their way of avoiding that. That is one of the reasons that it is important to provide multiple spots like cat trees and cat shelves, because it ensures that there is less likelihood of conflict between multiple cats. 


As heat rises, your cat may well find a high point because it is warmer than the ground. This is especially true if the high spot is carpeted, and/ or if the floor in your home is wood or tile. 


To play, some cats will stalk your toes, your legs, your hands or other parts from under the sofa or other furniture. It may be that they are in a high-up place to do the same with unsuspecting people and pets in the household. If you walk along and a paw suddenly starts tapping from nowhere, you can bet that the reason your cat likes a high spot is to surprise you with playtime. 

To Catch The Red Dot

Laser pens are incredibly popular with cats, and they may go high up to catch the dot. Their thirst to catch that pesky red dot knows no bounds, including going on top of your shelves, furniture and even curtains, so do take care to keep kitty safe when you play with a laser pen. 

To Get Affection And/ Or Food

If your cat perches on your shoulders or chest as their high spot, it may be that they simply do that to get your attention. They may do it affectionately, which is indicated if they are nuzzling you or head butting you as they perch. If they are meowing and jumping on and off you, it may be ‘cupboard love’ where they give you affection and do other (often annoying) things to get you to feed them.

In all likelihood, your kitty perches up high for multiple reasons above. 

Safety First

It is a great idea to provide lots of places for your kitty to enjoy, at all different heights and in different parts of the house. However, it is important to ensure that they are safe when they use any high up spots. When you ask why do cats like high places? It may be because your cat repeatedly falls off the fridge, shelves or curtain rails. They don’t always know their limits!

The best way to keep them safe whilst offering them high places to go is to provide them safe and secure cat trees and cat shelving to enjoy. You can make your own, as demonstrated in this video, or you can buy really great models at affordable prices. You can also buy, or make your own cat shelving if floor space is at a premium in your place. 

Why Do Cats Like To Be Up High? Because It’s Their Rightful Place!

Despite the many reasons listed above detailing exactly why cats like high places, in reality, all cat owners know it is because the cat is the king of his or her castle. And let’s be honest, we really don’t mind them being there!

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