Happy cats don’t cause trouble. Well, not a lot of trouble at least! If your cat is causing your some grief (hey, it happens with the best of us), chances are there is something lacking in their life. And it actually isn’t that hard to figure out. All you need to do is look at the trouble they are causing — and create a better alternative.
In this series, I’m going to examine some of the more common misbehaviors and offer some solutions.
Part One: Your Cat Keeps Jumping on Top of Cabinets and Other High Surfaces
Clearly your cat enjoys high places. Lots of cats do! And yours thinks the top of the cabinets are prime real estate. The solution is probably to create alternative high perches for them. But before putting something up, examine what your cat is doing while they’re up there. Are they using it as a vantage point to check out the room? Are they up there because it’s a convenient area for spending time with you? Did they go up there to get a reaction out of you? All of these are clues for finding out why they are choosing that high spot.
Typical reasons cats gravitate to a forbidden high space:
It’s natural for a lot of cats to gravitate to high spots. And there are a lot of good reasons for that. They like being able to get the big picture, and view everything that’s going on around them. It’s also a safe vantage point. And with the ability to leap 6 times their height, cats are built to easily reach high places.
2. It’s the only high space they have
Because being up high is part of a cat’s nature, they are going to want to do it. And if they aren’t given any options, they are going to take what they can get, whether you like it or not.
3. They don’t want you to touch them
This isn’t meant to be insulting, but maybe your cat wants to spend time with you — only without the grabbiness. Some cats don’t like being cuddled, even if they love you. So they will spend time with you, but in a way that keeps you from touching them. Being out of reach makes complete sense to these cats.
4. You aren’t paying enough attention to them
If your cat is jumping somewhere you don’t want them to be, are you making a big deal out of it? Is that the most attention your cat has gotten in a while? Then something is missing from your interactions with your cat. A lot of cat misbehavior comes from lack of attention, or the wrong kind of attention. Solve that, and the problem will resolve.
Once you figure out what is driving your cat to that forbidden high space, you’ll have clues about what to offer them instead.
- If your cat just wants a high perch and is lacking one, check out the benefits they are getting from their current spot. This includes comfort, what they get to see from this spot, and who they are spending time with while they’re up there. You are going to want to replicate that as much as possible. Or if you can, offer an even better alternative —better view, amenities (catnip, treats), etc.
Because cats are naturally athletic, yes, the better alternative should have a bit of a challenge, and be fun to reach. You can encourage this once you’ve installed the new perch, purchased a taller cat tree, or created a superhighway with furniture placement.
Once you’ve given them time to become familiar with the new perch, pull out a favorite fishing pole toy. Play with your cat, allowing them to leap after it enthusiastically. Then gradually move the play session over to the new perch and tease the toy around it, encouraging them to leap on it. If they have lost themselves in the play session, they may just leap up it, even if the perch is totally new to them. Let them figure out this new thing is fun and something to enjoy.
- What if you think maybe your cat is searching for a no touch zone? Then make sure the new perch means they won’t be bothered by human hands. Leave their favorite treats, toys or catnip on the perch, whichever is their preference, and just leave them alone when they are up there. Let it be their private, no contact spot. All cats need a spot where they can have alone time. Even friendly cats. (Humans do too—think about it.)
- And if your cat is jumping up on the cabinets or other forbidden zone because they are feeling neglected—well, pay more attention to them! Make a routine of regular play and treat sessions. Maybe start some simple training sessions. Anything that involves a regular routine and your attention. Cats (and humans, really) do well with regularly scheduled routines. Combine them with something else, like breakfast or dinner time so they’re easy to remember. Trust me, once your cat gets used to them, they will remind you if you forget! So don’t forget.
And I bet you thought keeping your cat from jumping on high surfaces was simple. But keeping your cat out of trouble is not as easy as doing something to discourage them. Replacing unwanted actions with something better and more inviting will make for happy cats — and create a better relationship between you and your fluffy pal.
Other posts you’ll enjoy: