It seems like every few nights our youngest cat, Kalista, gets these bursts of energy that cause her to want to scale walls.
It’s as if our youngest has gotten all of the confidence to take a new rock climbing course and now she’s obsessed with shuffling her little body all the way up door frames, just to slide herself back down.
This behaviour first manifested last year, when Kalista tried her paw at climbing up a rolled carpet in our previous apartment.
I still remember the first night that it started happening. You could hear Kalista squealing from the room next door, and at first, I was completely terrified that something bad happened.
Kalista was about 8 or 9-months old and had already gotten into a couple of problems with us. Most of these problems stemmed from Kalista being too high energy and curious, commonly involving Kalista getting her head stuck in things or disappearing for a few hours because she was embarrassed/scared.
The first time Kalista scaled our rolled-up carpet we found Kalista holding on for her very life near the top of the rolled carpet. Her squeals getting louder and louder as time progressed.
For some reason, Kalista hadn’t tried to get herself all the way to the carpet. This would have been the best option as there she would have been able to sit quietly, or even jump up onto my partner’s desk which was close to the carpet at the time.
After a couple of times of Kalista doing this, we decided to unwrap the carpet since it was too much of a temptation for Kalista.
The behaviour seemed to stop until we moved to a bigger apartment. As soon as that happened, Kalista seemed to be back at it again, this time with walls instead of a rolled-up carpet.
Kalista doesn’t seem to care whether she’s climbing a wall, a door frame or other vertical oriented object. I swear, if we had a coat rack she would be all up on it.
While there are no definite answers as to why cats exhibit this behaviour, vets and behaviouralists have some hypothesizes as to why cats get excited to clumb walls and door frames.
YOUR CAT HAS EXTRA ENERGY TO BURN
Indoor cats get a bad rap for being lazy and fat, but this doesn’t mean that all indoor cats are born to be fat and lazy.
Cats all have an innate instinct to hunt and kill. It’s a big reason why cats aren’t always recommended as companions to rodents and other small mammals
Just because a cat is indoor, it doesn’t mean that they completely lose this instinct or the energy that it takes to hunt those animals.
Most commonly this energy appears at night, as cats are nocturnal beings. Being nocturnal beings who primarily hunt at night, it would make sense for indoor cats to continue to get a burst of energy at night, even when there is no prey nearby.
This energy is often mistaken as schizophrenia, but in most cases is just pent up energy that was gained from your cat sleeping all day.
If you notice that your cat is commonly a big burst of energy that you can’t manage, it is recommended that you either get them a playmate, play with them more frequently (especially around the times where they are most active) or take advantage of passive and automatic toys.
If you’re in need of some suggestions I suggest checking out Kalista’s favourite kitten toys.
YOUR CAT IS HYPER, EXCITED OR STIMULATED
Although this may seem like all I’m doing is writing the same thing over again, your cat being hyper, excited or stimulated doesn’t always mean that they have extra energy.
Kalista has plenty of bursts of hyperactivity, especially when she hasn’t seen us for a half-hour or so.
When we pass by her while she’s sitting on a chair or by a wall, she will commonly jump up the wall or climb up the chair. This is her way of saying, “I’m so excited to see you!”
Similarly, cats may do this when they hear people they like, birds outside, the sound of kibble being placed in a food bowl, etc.
YOUR CAT IS BORED AND NEEDS STIMULATION
I know, I know, I just said that a reason cats climb walls is that they are stimulated and now I’m saying the opposite, but that’s the strange thing about cats. Cats exhibit some of the same behaviours for different circumstances or feelings.
Other examples of behaviours cats exhibit in multiple circumstances include headbutting/bunting, kneading, rubbing their bodies against you, or even biting.
If a cat is understimulated they may act out or develop some unwanted behaviours.
Behaviours can include peeing outside of the litter box, peeing on an owner’s bed, and scratching furniture. These can be ways of your cat letting you know that they need to be played with more frequently or need some form of entertainment.
In situations like this, it is recommended that you give your cat interactive toys to play with or even to eat from. Things like slow feeders and puzzle feeders are great additions to the home.
THEY SEE SOMETHING ON THE WALL
It’s important to remember that cats see and hear things that we don’t normally see or here.
Now, that’s not to say that cats see beings or ghosts that we don’t see or hear, it does, however, mean that cats have a much more acute sense of hearing and sight.
While you may not be interested in the little white fluffy that is making its way down the wall, your cat might be completely focused on it and ready to pounce.
Usually, when a cat is chasing something or trying to catch debris that is falling they will shake their bums as a form of pouncing or hunting this object or piece of debris.
For cats like this, it is essential that you get yourself a laser pointer or even an automatic laser pointer.
Chances are you’re going to have many hours of your cat chasing that pointer ahead of you.
YOUR CAT WANTS MORE VERTICAL PLACES TO GO
It’s easy to forget that cats actually really enjoy climbing and being high up.
When we first adopted Kalista, she refused to sleep in our bed. Instead, Kalista would watch us sleep while laying on top of our bookshelf.
Though Kalista in particular loves to be high up, it doesn’t seem like any of our other cats care whether or not they are given vertical space.
While Beau loves his cat tree and the nook we built to support the Meowfia beds, I can’t say that he ever showed interest in being higher than that pre-Kalista.
Cats feel most safe when they are up high because they can view everything and keep track of any changes that take place in the home.
It is believed that some cats will climb walls as a form of releasing their desire to climb or jump. Although, I’m not sure that this has anything to do with why Kalista climbs walls.
We have about 6 main climbing spots for my cats, 4 which are open to my cats at all times. Though these spots are always open, Kalista will still choose to climb a wall every so often.
OTHER IDEAS TO DETER YOUR CAT FROM CLIMBING UP THE WALL
When it comes to getting your cat to stop climbing up walls it’s really going to depend what’s the main reason your cat is doing it in the first place.
There are a few universal “must do’s” that you should really have in every household and some cases which will require a bit more setup.
GET YOUR CAT A LARGE SCRATCHING POST
Do you have one of those scratching posts with the little mice on them? Throw it out!
Okay, don’t really throw it out, but I promise you if your scratching post is smaller than 3 feet your cat is not going to have enough space to fully stretch themselves.
Try grabbing your cat a larger scratching post and place it in the area where they scratch or climb and see whether or not they take the bait.
A very common reason cats scratch on furniture like chairs and couches is because they are not provided with enough surface to properly stretch themselves on.
Cats need to scratch to survive. It’s actually a very important part of their wellbeing, so to deter them from the action altogether would be inhumane.
Instead, let your cat know that certain areas are off-limits or certain behaviours are not acceptable by using a training word or sound.
Do not ever physically hit or yell at your cat as this can traumatize them or cause them to become afraid of you.
You can encourage your cat to use their scratching post by using some catnip on it and whenever they do use the scratching post make sure that you reward them with treats and with lots of petting and cuddles if your cat likes those!
When it comes to deterring your cat from doing anything it is going to take some patience and a whole lot of consistency.
It is important that all of your family is on board with training your cat and using the methods selected to do so.
If members of the family choose not to use agreed methods and instead positively enforce the cat’s behaviour, chances are the cat will not take on the training.
USE DOUBLE SIDED TAPE
I’ll be honest in saying that I’ve never had to use double-sided tape. Truthfully, I’m glad I’ve never had to use double-sided tape because it seems like a hassle to set up.
I will say, I’ve read a few blogs that swear by the double-sided tape method and the majority of the reviews on cat-specific double-sided tape are positive.
Cats dislike the feeling of double-sided tape. Not only that, but double-sided tape often gets stuck to the cat’s paws. So, after some time of jumping against or walking across double-sided tape will get your cat to relate the tape to that area.
Double-sided tape seems to work the best on counters and on door frames. It may prove to be more difficult if you are trying to apply it to your wall.
While your cat climbing up walls can be a bit of a shocking experience, chances are your cat is just a bit playful and wants to get the day going.
It makes sense for indoor cats to exhibit this behaviour, especially if they don’t have enough opportunities to play. In cases like this, it would be extremely beneficial to have some passive toys laying around to give your cat something to do when you are not able to actively engage with them.
If your cat continues to exhibit this behaviour after you’ve provided a sufficient amount of toys, surfaces to scratch, vertical spaces to run and jump and/or have tried using double-sided tape, you may want to consult your vet about next steps.
Though in most cases a vet will recommend playing with your cat more, they may also be able to tell you whether there are any concerns for ailments or medical problems that are at the root of the bursts of energy/wall climbing sessions.
In most cases, wall climbing is absolutely nothing to worry about, and it’s your cat just being your cat, but it’s always best safe than sorry. Especially, if your cat has been jumping up that wall so much that they’ve even scuffed up the wall.
So pet parents, I’m curious, does your cat jump up the wall? When do they do it the most? Do you know the reason? Let me know in the comments below.