Why Do Cats Climb?

Cats love being in a high vantage point, so they can survey their territory.   And if anything scares them, their reaction is to either find a ‘hidey hole’ or to leap onto something high and out of reach.

Scientists believe that the climbing behaviour of cats is down to instinct. They are descended from an animal called Proailurus, (meaning ‘before the cat’) which lived in Europe and Asia around 25 million years ago.  Proailurus was a small, compact animal, a bit lager than the domestic cat that we know, and it had a long tail, large eyes, sharp teeth and sharp retractable claws (sound familiar?).

Cats are tree-climbing mammals and early cats were hunters.  Many of them lived in rain forests, and their claws enabled them to climb skilfully, escaping into trees for safety or climbing up high to lie in wait for prey. So, climbing had survival value and became hard-wired as a way of life for the moggies we know and love.

Most cats enjoy being in high places.  Whether it’s a window perch, shelf or the top of the refrigerator, your cat may feel more comfortable in the upper half of the room where it can keep an eye on the world around and below him with greater confidence. If there is no furniture around, they are also a bit nippy scaling curtains!

Although cats climb for safety, they also do it for fun.  They can sprint up and down a tree with same skills that their ancestors used in the forest. A cat’s flexible musculoskeletal system gives them exceptional coordination and balance and enables them to jump up high. Strong muscles in the hindquarters and back enable a cat to leap several times his own length, either horizontally or vertically. A cat’s claws are as important to them for anchoring and leverage as grappling irons and crampons are to rock climber.

Climbing cats help us to raise funds

We love this connection with cats and rock climbers because Climbing Works Sheffield have entered a team for the Sheffield FireWalk on 16th November 2018, to raise funds for us.


Photos by Dom Worral








Travis had a great day out at Climbing Works, to meet the team and thank them for their support.

If you’re a budding athlete and into climbing, and would like to know more Climbing Works, visit their website.

Please support the Climbing Works team by sponsoring them through their justgiving page.

FireWalk and GlassWalk

Our supporter and fundraiser Phil Elsey will be joining in with the fun and as well as doing the FireWalk, he is also attempting the GlassWalk this year, so deserves a bravery award.

To sponsor Phil, please visit his justgiving page.

Or why not come along and offer your support on the day?  The event will be held at:

Hillsborough Sports Arena

Middlewood Road


Sheffield S6 4HA



If your home needs a cat that can entertain you with its climbing skills, take a look at these cuties that are looking for a forever home.