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Why do Cats seek higher ground?


The Answer: Cats watch. Cats judge.


In a previous post, we touched on Cats’ love of horizontal surfaces: 7 Reasons Why. The elevated horizontal surface, still fun, serves a more significant purpose.

Cats must survey their domains. It is our sacred duty, as inspirational leaders, to watch over the benevolent caretakers, and any lesser beings (i.e., dogs), who abide in our realms. From high places, we gain new insights and ideas for nurturing the delicate balance in our places called Home.

Employing our extraordinary climbing skills, we scale counters and shelves with ease. Once reaching our posts, we first must clear any clutter. Misunderstood, and not always appreciated by the humans, this chore spares them the stress of anticipating our moves and tidying our spot before we ascend. Cats are thoughtful like that. Plus, by taking the task ourselves, we may reserve, surreptitiously, a single, especially delicate, piece of clutter.

From lofty perches, Cats observe details that might go unnoticed from lower strata. When dogs steal food from counter tops, for example, they may believe they left no trace of the crime. The vigilant Cat, however, with her keen eyesight, knows exactly where to find the buttery remnants of the Wetzel’s bag that once held a half-dozen pretzel bites. She tucks that knowledge away and waits for the opportune moment to notify her humans. By rolling about in the mess and purring loudly, we garner our people’s attention, and they respond as appropriate. While Cats do not mete out justice (save frequent, well-deserved, smacks), we are obliged to shine light on infractions.

Our wild cousins: tigers, leopards, Ishasha lions, choose high tree limbs for important activities like napping and eavesdropping. Those who read Cat-in-a-Box know how Cats appreciate a wide variety of endroits pour domir. In the wild, doubtless, high tree limbs serve as ersatz boxes. While dissimilar to the traditional box, a high branch offers the same comfort, enabling big Cats to conform their bodies to shape. We see our brethren draped comfortably, torso molded to form, with arms and legs dangling from some sturdy, exotic bough. From this height, wild Cats may take note of prey’s laughable schemes to evade them. They may eavesdrop on gossipy birds as they blather about who’s loitering at the waterhole, then make their dinner plans.

Likewise, house Cats learn the banalities of our humans’ lives. Altitude enables us to escape the noise of lumbering dogs that may obscure valuable information. When humans speak into those inscrutable contraptions, extensions of their own hands, we listen for triggers like, “vet,” and “vaccination.” When such words are spoken, we know to seek refuge behind couches, under beds – places too remote for human eyes to see and human arms to reach.

We learn when the people will take leave of the home, and plot our own transgressions, for which the lesser beings inevitably will take blame. We prepare to ingratiate ourselves to the one known as “pet-sitter.” By securing her trust, we receive sympathy scritches and extra tidbits to compensate for our benefactors’ absence.

Privy to sub rosa discussions – Cats hear complaints about canine behavior and decisions to dispatch the unwitting fools to reform schools. Should our humans speak critical words of ourselves, we may drop to the floor suddenly, causing a startle. Ardent apologies ignored, we toss searing glances before striding away to groom and pout. Perhaps most importantly, these high vantage points enable Cats to take proper audience with the humans. Upon noticing, they will call to us sweetly and praise our beauty. With outstretched arms, they plead for our safe return to terra firma. At these times, that delicate piece of reserved clutter comes in handy. Should the crowd turn, frustrated by our selective listening, that object secures our license to stay put. We linger, until such time we choose to resume our duties: dispensing affection to our benefactors and thwarting the telluric chaos that follows lesser beings.

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