You let kitty out to play, and he gleefully raced up the nearest tree. Hours later, your feline friend is still perched high in the branches. While cats can stay up in trees for hours, they may not always be as stuck as we believe.
Cats are instinctive climbers and can jump six times their own height. This behavior helps to keep cats safe and away from potential predators. Your kitty also enjoys finding a high vantage point and literally looking down on the world . It If you let your cat outside, he will invariably make his way up into a tree at some point. Even indoor cats seek out high places, such as on top of your refrigerator or bookcase, to perch.
Easier Up Than Down
Cat claws hook backwards and are designed for climbing up, not down. For a cat to climb back down the way he came, he'll have to turn around and not so gracefully wiggle butt-first. Sometimes this can take kitty a few tries to figure out, especially if he's picked a spot too high for a safe jump. If kitty was frightened when he headed skyward, he was more concerned with getting away from a threat than getting back down later, so he might have climbed higher than was wise. He'll probably find his way back to terra firma, even if it takes him a little while.
He May Not Be Stuck
If kitty's been up a tree for a several hours and isn't crying for help, he may not even be stuck. While it can cause worry for pet parents, it's perfectly natural for cats to stay in trees for long periods of time. He may just be taking in the view and watching the world around him. Give him some time to come down on his own. Eventually kitty will want something to eat or attention from you.
Getting Him Down
If you're worried about your kitty's safety outdoors, there are some ways to entice him to come down sooner. Try setting his favorite food at the base of the tree, like a can of tuna or wet cat food. The pleasant aroma of his favorite treat may prove difficult to resist. Calling his name and letting him know that you want his attention may also help to coax him down. Your last resort should be climbing the tree yourself to get him down. If you must do so, make sure to use a sturdy ladder and heed all necessary safety precautions. Remember, you can't climb as well as your kitty can.
- The Encyclopedia of the Cat; Michael Pollard
- Why Does My Cat Do That? Catherine Davidson
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images