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Why Does My Cat Climb Me Like a Tree? (4 Possible Reasons)

Oliver Jones

By Oliver Jones

ginger cat with the owner

Cats are notorious climbers. It’s no surprise when you think of their ancestors, who were well-known for their tree-climbing abilities. So, it’s not so far-fetched that their descendants also enjoy a good climb. Now, while climbing cats may seem like a cool thing in theory, it’s not the greatest feeling in the world when it’s actually happening on us. It hurts! A cat’s claws are very sharp and can easily dig into our skin.

You may be asking yourself, but why does my cat climb me like a tree? We’re going to answer this question so you can understand your kitty better. By reading below, you can get a better understanding of your cat and its need to climb. Hopefully, your legs and pants will survive this phase of their life.

The 4 Reasons a Cat May Climb on You

1. Cats Need Affection

Cats get a bad reputation due to their independent and sassy attitudes. That doesn’t mean they don’t crave your affection. If your cat is feeling neglected, it’s going to come up with ways to make you take notice. One way to do this is by climbing up your leg. While you may be shocked when this behavior happens, it works.

If your cat is using you as a climbing tree, try to spend some extra time with them. Often, by giving them the attention they are craving, they will stop trying to make your legs pay for your lack of affection. If love and adoration aren’t the issues, you’ll need to keep trying to find the source of their upset.

cat rubbing its head against the owner's legs
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

2. They Need a Cat Tree

If most of your time is spent showing your cat just how much you love them, affection may not be the issue. In that case, does your cat have an actual cat tree to climb? Cats need outlets for their energy. If you don’t provide them with that, they’ll use whatever they can find. This could mean you’ll find them climbing your curtains, walls, or even you.

Choose a cat tree that adheres to your cat’s needs. If you have a large breed of cat, they will need a larger tree for their climbing needs. Smaller breeds, won’t need as much space. Also, consider a cat tree with added scratching posts and possibly a bed. This will make the new addition a favorite pastime for your cat, even when climbing isn’t on their mind.

3. Too Much Energy

If your cat isn’t finding ways to exert its built-up energy, you could become the target. If you want to avoid being a scratch victim, find ways to work in additional exercise for your kitty. Buying a leash or harness will allow you to take them on long walks. Interactive toys are also another way to make your cat work off that energy. Whatever method you use, if too much energy is what’s making your cat climb you, keeping their bodies active will give you time to heal.

cat on a leash sitting on a chair
Image Credit: Taylor Deas-Melesh, Unsplash

4. Age

The age of your cat is another big factor when it comes to climbing on you. Kittens are more likely to exhibit this type of behavior. While you may try all the above methods to keep your kitty from tearing your skin to shreds, it may not help. Why you may ask? It’s all about age. Kittens are more active. They are still growing and need to burn off extra energy. If that’s the case, over time, their climbing of you may decrease. If you’ve tried the other methods mentioned above and they did nothing, you may have to wait until your cat outgrows this unwanted behavior.

In Conclusion

While your cat’s random act of climbing you like a tree may hurt, it could be their way of reaching out to you. By implementing the methods we discussed above, you could make your kitty happier in the home. Give your cat the love and attention they need while making sure they have outlets to burn off their energy. If you do this, the two of you will get along much better. You may even be able to show your legs in public again.

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Featured Image Credit: Yuriy Seleznev, Shutterstock

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