We humans are pretty horizontal in our orientation. Consider our origins. It was East Africa. Flat grassland spread out in most directions toward distant horizons. Whatever it was that caught our interest was Over There, 15 minutes or 40 minutes or a day and a half that way. Start walking!
There were cats we shared that environment with, and there are cheetah and lion still out on the grasslands today. But for the most part, cats are vertical creatures. They like rocky outcrops, bluffs, and trees.
Agile climbers, they like being able to get up above danger – and they like being the danger that pounces from above. It gives cats a sense of security. Little ninjas, they also like having some small, shadowy place to duck into. It’s all about seeing and not being seen.
This is something to keep in mind if you’re a cat owner and prefer a simple, spacious, Zen look to your home. It’s a beautiful look, don’t get us wrong. It nurtures the human spirit by giving a high ceiling and by being free of clutter.
But you’re not a cat. Cats are happiest with a variety of levels: floor to counter-top, counter-top to bookshelf, bookshelf to top of the next bookcase. The top of a just-opened door will do, and in a pinch, so might the top of your head.
Anyone familiar with the Animal Planet show “My Cat From Hell” probably knows host Jackson Galaxy’s principle of “catifying” a home. It’s his name for making your home your cat’s home, too – a kind of feline feng shui, if you will.
The basic idea is that your furry friends should be able to get across and around the space without having to put a single paw on your floor. This takes some clever furniture arrangement, even shelf installment. If you’re looking for an alternative or at least stopgap till you’re ready for that Big Project, at least consider buying a cat tree.
Cat trees will satisfy a cat’s desire to climb, to scratch, and to hide. It’s not a total catification but it will buy your household a little peace. That way you can do your Zen thing in peace.
After all, it’s hard to hear the sound of one hand clapping when the cat’s howling.