“You can never have too many cat trees”. Marc said that and he knows. He is correct. It makes me a bit guilty. The vertical dimension is very important to the domestic cat. Cat trees are important because they allow a cat to move vertically. For a cat, moving vertically is part and parcel of life. If a cat is prevented from moving vertically, a part of his desires are curbed and a part of his skills are underutilized. Do cat caretakers, in general, do enough? I confess that I don’t, but because Charlie has three legs, climbing and descending is a problem. The demand for vertical space is lessened.
Domestic cats have evolved from the semi-arboreal African or Near Eastern wild cat. “Semi-arboreal” means a cat that likes to climb trees and be in trees some of the time. Some wild cat species are tree dwellers. The African wildcat is not a tree dweller but is a good climber and spends some time in trees.
..the African wildcat does most of its hunting on the ground, though it can climb well if pursued1 (so being high up is a sanctuary for this wildcat)
When cats are in pens or enclosures at a cattery or shelter they spend less time on the floor than on raised platforms. When you go to a boarding cattery it is quite likely that your cat will be resting on a raised platform. High structures that provide vantage points are used more frequently than low ones by cats.
The main problem for cats living most or all their life indoors is that compared to the outdoors the environment is relatively “impoverished”. It can be dull and under-stimulating. It is too predictable. Predictability can lead to stress via boredom.
Cats should have two types of resting place:
- on the floor and enclosed on three sides (for security)
- an elevated position with a good view (the outside for example).
These resting places are important in preventing problems with behavior in multi-cat homes. Scratching posts (large and solid) can be placed next to the resting areas.
- Wild Cats of the World page 94
- Photo by Erik Burton