Saving a cat stuck in a tree has become a common trope of proving that you’re a hero, but have you ever wondered why do cats climb trees in the first place?
It’s no secret that cats love to climb. That’s why you can buy “cat trees” at the pet store to keep your feline friend entertained and occupied. While it may not seem weird to see your cat climb to the top of your cabinets, watching your cat scale a tree can seem surreal. Why do they want to go up there anyway?
Cats have the ability to climb very high, whether we want them to or not. Their bodies are built for climbing, for example, and their strong backs and hind legs are what enables them to propel themselves up a trunk and to a perch on a sturdy branch.
Wild cats love to perch in trees, so it’s only natural that your kitty loves to climb as well. Another answer to why cats climb trees is that the branches are a good spot to watch for prey. Larger animals can still prey on cats, so blending into the treetops is an excellent defense.
Why Do Cats Climb Trees?
For your cat, figuring out why cats climb trees is a little different. While their ancestors in the wild live within them, and the drive to climb is still prevalent, there might not necessarily be large predators on the prowl for a meal that features your kitty as the main course. For a neighborhood feline, tree branches do provide a good hiding spot from dogs or other people that the cat may be frightened by. Cats also love to climb in order to better survey their surroundings. For a cat that spends a lot of her time outside, climbing a tree might be the best option to be able to see what’s going on around her.
If you have a curious kitten, climbing trees is the perfect way to test out her skills. You might find her working hard to scale a tree trunk if you let her outdoors. No matter how old your cat is, practicing climbing is good for their health. Climbing improves their strength and flexibility, and can also add a key defense skill to their list of abilities.
Not much gets past your cat, and if you have a lot of trees in your yard, the opportunity to chase critters back into their homes can be too much to resist for cats. Birds or animals living in the tree can often draw a cat into the branches. The thought of the chase is too enticing for your cat to stay on the ground, and it can lead to your cat going on an adventure into the treetops.
Unfortunately for you, the chase can often lead to you having to find a way to get your cat down. While cat’s are experienced and easily able to climb up, getting down is a different story. Cat’s claws grow inward, making it almost impossible for them to grip the tree trunk and climb down head first. The way their bodies are built also prevents them from being able to get down easily. If your cat isn’t at a high level, she may find that she can reach the ground with a graceful leap, but if she’s too high she could find herself in a predicament.
Don’t worry too much if you see your cat stuck up high. Unless she’s injured or seriously stuck at the top of a tree, your cat is smart enough to figure out that she can shimmy down backwards. However if she’s taking her time deciding to come down you can always get a ladder to bring her down. Use a board or another branch to give your cat something to climb down on. If coaxing isn’t getting her to move you can use a broom and a towel to force her out of the tree and into your arms. You can even try using a cat carrier to see if your cat will climb inside and then you can lower her down.
If you want to keep your cat out of the trees, it’s best to keep her indoors. In order to satisfy her climbing desires, you can purchase a cat tree to help her get out all her urges. Cat trees come in all sizes, from elaborate castles to a simple tower, you can find something that your cat will definitely enjoy. A cat tree can also keep your cat off of other parts of your home like the back of the couch or the curtains. Worry less about what your cat is getting into with the perfect cat tree and keep her entertained all day long without the dangers of the outdoors.(?) (?)