This week, yet another cat photo went viral when the Philadelphia Police Department shared a picture of a bold kitty sitting atop a squad car. This funny feline, whose adorable bravery has gotten over 19,000 shares, was spotted perched on the roof of the SUV, innocently taunting the K9 officer within.

This hilarious kitty begs the question, why do cats love heights? From squad cars to cat trees and everything in between, there’s no denying that our feline friends enjoy being above the rest of us (not to mention the law). Here’s a few reasons why they engage in this strange behavior:

1. It’s instinctual. Descendants of wild cats who hid in trees for survival, domestic kitties are hard-wired to climb high. Cats seek safety in high places that are out of reach of children and other household animals, and enjoy the ability to observe potential threats from safe ground.
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2. It establishes hierarchy. Just like the courageous kitty on the cop car, cats prefer to be at the top of the social ladder – literally. Especially if you have multiple cats, you may notice that your kitty seeks high places in order to establish his role in the household. Like humans, cats seek ways to display their position in the pecking order, and height is one of the primary ways to achieve this.

3. It gives them space. Unlike dogs, cats relish in quality alone time. To avoid disturbance, they seek refuge on top of refrigerators, book cases, and anywhere else that’s accessible. It’s not uncommon for mother cats to seek high places to temporarily escape her kittens during weaning time.

4. It keeps them entertained. Indoor cats can get bored quickly if they’re not provided with enough physical and mental stimulation. Shelves and cat trees provide felines with an outlet for play, allowing them to jump, climb, and see things from a new perspective.

5. It keeps them warm. It’s no secret that cats enjoy cozying up, and seeking high places to sleep is an easy way for them to accomplish this. Cats know instinctively that heat rises and tend to gravitate toward that warmth, especially during the winter months.

Cats are mysterious creatures, but their love of heights certainly isn’t a secret! Gratify your feline friend’s vertical obsession by investing in a cat tree, or clearing off a space on your bookshelf for him to perch! And the next time you can’t find your cat? Don’t forget to check up high!

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