Most cats are not afraid of heights and some of the more intrepid members of the feline population seem to enjoy the vantage point that being high up on top of roofs gives them, as well as the proximity to the birds that they would so like to catch. They may also feel less vulnerable to attack when they are high off the ground. But others are less adventurous and rarely venture on roofs – aware, perhaps, that it can be very difficult to get down again.
Coming down may be more difficult than going up, and cats may get stuck on the way down. Most cats, however, will manage to get down if they are left to their own devices.
The image of the intrepid tomcat on a roof caterwauling plaintively as he calls for a mate is a characteristic one, encapsulating many feline traits. A lot of cats, in fact, seem to be fearless climbers.
As most cats are naturally good climbers they enjoy venturing up trees, onto roofs and other high places. Cats may like to reach a high vantage point in order to survey all around, or perhaps to get closer to the birds that fascinate them. However, whatever motivates cats to climb up to high places, what is clear is that once up there, it is not always as easy for them to come down again. This is primarily because cats are physically designed to be better at climbing up than down.
If your cat climbs to a high place and finds it difficult to come down, try to coax him down gently. Your cat may be frightened, so it is best to reassure him and then leave him to see if he will come down by his own devices. Not all cats are adventurous, though, and some may be reluctant to explore unfamiliar areas or those which seem strangely inaccessible.
- If a cat falls, he can usually correct himself instinctively and very quickly, using an automatic righting reflex response, and he will generally land on his feet.
- The cat’s righting reflex is probably what gave it a reputation for having nine lives.
- Even when a cat succeeds in landing on his feet, he can still be injured. The force of impact after a lengthy fall can result in serious injuries, such as fracture of the lower jaw, fractured limbs and damage to internal organs.
Q. My cat often climbs over a conservatory nearby and I worry about him falling, particularly as he gets older. Do cats become less agile as they age?
Yes, particularly if they get many of the aches and pains associated with old age. However, your cat may also become less adventurous as he ages, so he may not attempt this climb so often.
Cats are very agile so your cat should find it easy to get in and out of your flat. You can fit a cat flap in a window so that you do not have to leave the window open.
This cat’s hind legs are more developed than its front legs, which helps to shift weight to its rear.
Cats do not seem to suffer from vertigo and will climb out of windows, along narrow ledges and up to dizzy heights on the topmost roofs to take a look at the world below.