Why Do Cats Climb Curtains and Screens?
Understanding Normal Cat Behavior
Cats, regardless of age, gender, or breed, are naturally inclined to climb. Dr. Carlo Siracusa, a behavior expert, notes that this behavior is inherent in their biology, and it’s not influenced by factors like breed or whether they are spayed/neutered.
Climbing is a Natural Instinct
Dr. Siracusa explains that climbing is a normal feline behavior because cats’ bodies are designed for both vertical and horizontal exploration. Even high-energy breeds, like Abyssinians, and low-energy breeds, like Persians, share this instinct.
The Problem with Curtains and Screens
The issue arises when climbing becomes unwanted or damages household items. Dr. Siracusa emphasizes that most cats will naturally climb curtains if given the opportunity, as it’s both fun for them and part of their nature.
Providing Acceptable Outlets
Dr. Siracusa suggests that instead of trying to suppress this behavior, cat owners should provide acceptable outlets for climbing. Creating spaces within the home where cats can express this instinct in a way that doesn’t damage furniture is important.
The Natural Inquisitiveness of Cats
Insights from Dr. Brian Collins
Dr. Brian Collins from Cornell University highlights that cats are naturally inquisitive. Their inclination to climb is driven by a combination of hunting instincts and the need for a safer vantage point. This behavior is hard-wired, even in indoor cats.
Balancing Predator and Prey Instincts
Cats, being both hunters and potentially the hunted, seek elevated spaces for spotting prey and avoiding potential threats. Dr. Collins stresses that this predator/prey behavior doesn’t disappear just because a cat lives indoors.
Why Cats Climb for Health Reasons
Sometimes, if a cat is feeling stressed, anxious, or unwell, they may climb to find a high perch away from others. Dr. Brian Collins suggests that it’s a way for them to seek some peace and solitude when they want to be left alone.
If you have multiple cats, providing various surfaces at different heights and quiet places is crucial. Dr. Collins emphasizes that cats, like people, need their own space and may want to get away from each other at times.
Health Conditions and Climbing
Dr. Carlo Siracusa notes that certain health conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, or some medications, might make a cat more active overall. However, this increased activity wouldn’t necessarily lead to destructive behavior. It’s essential to be aware of your cat’s health and consider any changes in behavior in conjunction with their overall well-being.
Training Your Kitten: No Punishments, Just Fun Learning!
When your kitten climbs screens and drapes, remember, they’re just being cats! Doctors Brian Collins and Carlo Siracusa agree – no need for punishments. Kittens climb out of boredom, so let’s tackle that. Dr. Collins suggests a lively environment to keep them busy. Since kittens learn through play, Dr. Collins advises against stopping them from climbing altogether. Instead, give them cool alternatives and reward good behavior with treats. Dr. Siracusa warns against stopping natural behavior, which could lead to cat grumpiness later. So, here’s the plan: comfy spots on cat trees, yummy treats, feathered toys, and lots of fun cat toys around the house. Playtime every day works wonders, and if your kitten loves catnip, use it to guide them to their tree, scratching post, or toys.
Training Your Senior Cat: Bye-Bye Curtain Climbing
Guess what? The tricks shared for kittens also rock for older cats, according to Dr. Brian Collins. Age doesn’t put a cap on learning! Keep in mind, though, some older cats might slow down a bit due to agility changes. While some become chill as they age, others stay playful. Dr. Collins suggests keeping their lives interesting with a mix of spots to chill, cool toys, and treats. So, if your golden oldie still loves climbing curtains, hook them up with cozy cat spots, fun toys, and tasty treats.
Crafting a Kitty Paradise: A Climbing Haven
Is your cat eyeing the curtains or screens like they’re planning a grand escape? Dr. Brian Collins has some cool tips to keep your furball entertained indoors. Think beyond the floor—consider the 3D vibes in your home, he says. Toss in some cat-approved goodies like hammocks, shelves, scratching posts, or a cat condo. Keep tempting curtain areas off-limits or tie them back. If you’ve got room, Dr. Collins suggests a special climbing zone with shelves, toys, and sneaky treat spots. No need to break the bank—DIY a cat condo with wood and old carpet or pimp up a step-ladder with carpet scraps. Want a quick fix? Wiggle feathers on a stick or score a grocery store cardboard box with an entry hole. Dr. Collins and Dr. Carlo Siracusa agree: Give your kitty the indoor fun they crave, or they might redecorate with curtains and sofas.
Keeping Kitty Away: Budget-Friendly Solutions
Dealing with a curtain-climbing cat doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some pocket-friendly and effective ideas to keep your feline friend from redecorating:
1. Apply Curtain Tiebacks: Keep it simple and cheap. Tying back your curtains with trusses makes them less inviting for adventurous climbers. An easy fix that won’t cost a fortune.
2. Buy Cat Trees & Towers: Address your cat’s natural play instincts by introducing a cat tower, shelf, or tree near the curtains. Not only does this provide a designated play area, but it’s also a safer option in case of unexpected descents. Ideal for multi-cat households where the fun tends to be contagious.
3. Citrus Spray Magic: Cats aren’t fans of citrus scents. A mist of mandarin spray on the curtains can deter your furry friend from making them a climbing zone. Any orange or lemon-scented spray will do the trick; just be patient as your cat learns to stay away.
4. Make Windows Cat-Friendly: Sometimes, your cat just wants a better view. Make the window accessible by placing a chair or something climbable in front of it. A simple solution to address your cat’s curiosity without compromising your curtains.
These affordable ideas offer a mix of prevention and redirection, ensuring both you and your cat coexist peacefully at home.
Managing a curtain-climbing cat can be both cost-effective and practical with these simple solutions. From tying back curtains to introducing cat-friendly towers and using citrus sprays, these ideas cater to your feline friend’s natural instincts while preserving your home decor. Remember, understanding your cat’s motivations is key; sometimes, they just want a better view. By making windows accessible or providing alternative climbing spots, you create a harmonious living space for both you and your furry companion.