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Why Your Cat Needs to Climb

Chances are, if you’re looking for your cat somewhere in your house she’s probably in an elevated location. When it comes to napping or just chilling out, cats typically prefer to be above ground level. Being able to safely climb is an important aspect of your cat’s daily life. Climbing to an elevated spot enables a cat to watch over her environment. If your cat goes outdoors then the ability to climb is crucial to her survival in order to escape predators.

The Benefits Cats Receive From Climbing

Although you understandably don’t want your cat scaling your drapes or climbing up unsteady or delicate furniture, it’s beneficial to make sure she does have safe climbing opportunities. If you have a kitten, climbing is one of the ways she will start to learn about her skills and abilities. She’ll learn to perfect her balance and will work on developing her muscles and flexibility. For an adult cat, climbing is first and foremost FUN! It’s also good exercise. Climbing will also enable your cat to safely reach those elevated areas where she feels more secure.

Climbing Increases a Cat’s Territory

The more vertical areas available to your cat, the more it increases her territory. This becomes even more important if you have a multiple cat household. Vertical territory will go a long way in reducing cat-to-cat conflicts and will provide safety and security for more timid cats.

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Safe Climbing for Cats

Since climbing is a normal behavior for a cat, if you don’t want her climbing the drapes then provide a more acceptable option for her. A sturdy, tall, multi-perched cat tree is a great place to climb. If you have some vacant wall space, consider installing a few cat shelves. A client of mine who lives in a NYC loft chose to wrap one of the support beams with sisal. His kitty gets a state-of-the-art scratching post and has a great place to climb. There are so many ways to create climbing opportunities for your cat no matter the size of your home or apartment.

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If you have an elderly cat, keep in mind that she will still want access to elevated areas but may no longer be able to leap up to reach them. Create ways for her to climb up to those napping areas.

The Nature of Your Cat

When it comes to behavior and training, don’t fight what comes naturally to your cat. Instead of shooing her off the furniture or getting angry when she climbs the drapes, provide her with a better option. You’ll both be happier.

Need More Information?

For more specific help with cat training, cat behavior problems or environmental enrichment, refer to any of the books by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

Pam's books are referred to as the cat bibles by behavior experts, veterinarians and cat parents worldwide

We’re sorry but Pam is unable to respond to questions or remarks posted in the comment section. If you have a question about cat behavior, you can find many answers in the articles Pam writes for the website as well as in her best-selling books.

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