Aiming High

All cats like to be above the fray. If you watch Jackson Galaxy on Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell” you will see him continually suggest that his clients install a cat tree, climbing shelves or some other apparatus to get their cat off the floor to give him a safe haven or an escape route.


Two grey cats snuggling on the top perch of a cat tree.

Fiona and Giulietta snuggle atop the cat tree.


The first cat I met who enjoyed living above the humans was my sister-in-law’s cat, Maxine the Slut. She spent most of her time on top of the china cabinet in the dining room. Not having adopted the Cat Lady mantle as yet, it gave me an uneasy feeling to have her hovering above my head while I ate. Fortunately she never jumped. Eventually Maxine moved to the roof and tree over the patio. She even ate there. This was in Southern California, so the weather was rarely inclement.

Rising Above the Rabble

Steamer was our second cat and first to display the desire to rise above the rabble. Cat #1, Skooter, may have wanted to do this once the puss population began to expand, but his girth probably prevented it. Steamer was particularly adept at balancing atop open doors.

Brown tabby cat lying on top of a door.

Steamer atop our bedroom door.

Brown tabby cat sitting on closet shelf.

One of Daphne’s favorite high places…a closet upper shelf is occupied by Steamer.

She attained a height that none of our other cats have even tried, and to this day we are not sure how she accomplished it. One day when Dad Tom was working at home prior to his retirement, he looked out the third-floor window next to his desk. Staring back at him was Steamer. He was shocked. She was nonplussed. He invited her in through the window anyway.

Roof Dwellers

We often see cats on roofs when riding our tandem. Usually an upper-story window is open and no trees that could offer a means of escape are in the vicinity. Most of our kitties probably have been on our porch roof at one time or another, but Misty May takes the prize for spending the most time there. Access is obtained by climbing a nearby dogwood tree. (Update: At nearly 18 1/2 years old, Misty May no longer climbs trees…not even cat trees!) You can check out Mauricio high up in that same tree at the “Cats in the Garden” post. All our kitties prefer re-entering the house through a window, but we don’t leave ours open and rarely spend time in the adjacent rooms.

Tuxedo cat on roof of house with a bright blue sky for the background.

Misty May on the roof the day after I originally published this post.

A previous neighbor’s cat, Jim, would get on the roof and become flummoxed when it came time to get down. My trying to get him in through a window led to the establishment of another DON’T. Don’t try to coax your neighbor’s cat off of your roof by inviting him in through the open second-floor window when your cats are looking on from inside.

It is always best to follow the advice of firemen and let the cat find her own way down. As they say, “We’ve never seen a dead cat in a tree.”

Tortoise shell cat lying on a support team attached to a brick wall.

Astrid lounging on the upper-deck support beam.

Other favorite outdoor perches include the support beam above the stairwell to the upper deck and the unenclosed, upper-deck railing, which hovers three-stories above the backyard! (Update: After Sawyer escaped to the roof from the railing on several occasions, screening was added. For a cat that has seizures, going up on the roof is a recipe for disaster.)

Most Creative Cats

Tuxedo cat sitting in open transom window.

Misty May preparing to jump from the transom ledge to the kitchen island.

Misty May also loved to hang out in the transoms above both the interior and exterior doors. Prior to a new screen being installed in the exterior door to the kitchen, both she and Lily Olivia, at different times, of course, would jump to the transom ledge seeking entry into the house. When the window was opened they would jump down to the kitchen island.

Thelma had a penchant for climbing two open shelves above the kitchen sink to get atop the cabinets. She usually left a trail of destruction in her wake. She also had a nifty trick to move between cabinet tops separated by a casement window. If the window was partially open, the frame from the bottom window would be in close proximity to the top of the cabinets. She would walk across it as if on a balance beam. She thought she was being sneaky when the curtain was closed, but we could always see her shadow.

Change Was Not Acceptable

We all know that cats DO NOT like change! Our kitties were dismayed and disgruntled when we remodeled our kitchen in 2009. We live in a 111-year-old house with nine-foot ceilings. The cabinets in our old kitchen did not go to the ceiling leaving lots of space for hiding, eyeing the humans’ dinner, napping, scampering and pushing breakables to the floor to hear and see the inevitable crash! When those cabinets existed they were one of Lily’s main refuges. She would hide from Misty May behind a vase of silk flowers.

We still have two, pantry cupboards that stop about two-feet short of the ceiling. Lily Olivia would jump to those from the kitchen island and weave her way among the numerous breakables or camp in a yellow ware bowl before jumping across the door-width between the two cabinets. Astrid has discovered this area as well after jumping to the top of the exterior kitchen door. To our relief they have not tried to occupy these spaces together. (And Astrid no longer performs this trick.)

As pictured in the post, “Cat in a Box,” Chloe preferred the top of an armoire for her hiding place.

Cat Tree Perches

Long-haired tuxedo cat atop a ladder playing with Christmas decorations.

Daphne “helps” with the Christmas decorations.

When all else fails, the top perch on the cat tree serves as a great place for a nap or a good view and jumping-off place when dinner is served in our dining room. And, in a pinch, when needing a safe haven or just wanting to check out what the homeowner has been up to, an open ladder will do. Our kitties have helped me wallpaper, paint, hang Christmas decorations and change lightbulbs. They’re just helpful that way!

And finally…Steamer was the first cat to allow Dad Tom to throw her up into the air above our bed while he said, “Kaboom!” She would land on her feet, as cats tend to do, on the waterbed and then head back to here dad to do it again.

Today, Lisbeth is the “Kaboom” cat, but she only has a traditional mattress for her landing pad! (Update: As Lisbeth refuses to enter our new bedroom, she hasn’t enjoyed a good kaboom in a couple of years.)