A black cat in a cat tree

Despite our desire to understand what’s going on inside a cat’s adorable head, we humans occasionally miss the mark. 

But why?

Your cat responds to various instincts and behaviors that were inherited from generations of felines over the millennia. Even though the modern cat is far removed from their earliest ancestors, today’s house cats have retained similarly distinct body language and corresponding preferences. 

As odd as it may seem, one of the driving behavioral factors inherited from their ancestors is whether they like to perch on high surfaces or prefer to be close to the ground. 

Tree or Bush?

There’s a reason why cat trees are all the rage among cats and their people. These sisal or carpet-covered platforms and posts answer nature’s call to perch in the most advantageous location. This allows cats to survey their environment from a protected place, and offers seclusion when they feel sleepy. You might also see this preference play out on tall bookshelves or cabinets.

However, many cat owners have likely noticed, much to their dismay, that some cats could care less about cat trees and “the up-high.” 

The reason? They are bush dwellers, instead.

The bush dwelling cat seeks out spots on or near the ground. They may sleep under the bed or watch the world from a cubby meant for your shoes. Bush dweller cats find refuge and safety from tucked away hideyholes where, they think, no one will notice their covert operations. With this in mind, creating a safe environment for your bush-dwelling cat involves creating spaces where they can survey their kingdom from vantage points close to the ground. 

But just because your cat prefers one, doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy the other. Giving your cat both vertical and horizontal surfaces to choose from can help them feel as safe and secure as possible. Instead of choosing one over the other, most cats would prefer to have spots up high and down low to meet their ever-changing needs. 

A Safe Environment for Your Cat

Whether your cat likes high surfaces or prefers to bunker down low, creating a safe environment for your cat is key to their general well being. Simply observing their behavior will inform you of their predilections. Tailoring the environment for your cat will keep them happy and calm.

We Love Picky Kitties!

The most ideal environment for your cat will be full of options. Cat trees, bookcases, high shelves, cat condos, low-hanging hammocks, beneath non-toxic plants, comfy kitty “caves” and more will give them equal opportunities for adventure and privacy. This nurtures their sense of their own territory and solidifies their attachment to your shared home. 

If you have additional questions about the right type of environment for your feline, let the cat veterinarians at Elmhurst Animal Care Center know!