How High Can Cats Jump?

Updated: 5/27/2021
When it comes to animals with amazing jumping abilities, cats are high up on the list (pun intended). Our feline friends like to hang out in elevated areas, and if you’re a cat parent, you’re likely already familiar with this behavior. Chances are you’ve found your cat snoozing on top of the refrigerator, sitting between your books on the bookshelf, or relaxing in some other spot that made you wonder how they got there. Cats can jump pretty high, but just how high can cats really jump? 

When it comes to animals with amazing jumping abilities, cats are high up on the list (pun intended). Our feline friends like to hang out in elevated areas, and if you’re a cat parent, you’re likely already familiar with this behavior. Chances are you’ve found your cat snoozing on top of the refrigerator, sitting between your books on the bookshelf, or relaxing in some other spot that made you wonder how they got there. Cats can jump pretty high, but just how high can cats really jump? 

Encouraging your cat's behavior

You’ve probably noticed that your furry child likes to jump onto your kitchen counters, tables, bookshelves, and cabinets. Cats are naturally curious critters who like to explore their surroundings. They also feel safe in elevated locations; as mentioned earlier, cats head to high places to hide from predators in the wild. 

It’s up to you if you want to let your cat hang out in these places, but there are a few reasons why you would want to discourage your cat from jumping onto your counters and other furniture. Your cat could knock something over and break a valuable item. If the object is glass, it can also cause injury. They could contaminate your food, especially if they put their paws in it. Or they might hurt themselves by eating something that is harmful to them or by landing on a hot stove.   

So how do you keep your little jumper off your tables and shelves? Try these methods:

  1. Keep surfaces clean. A counter that doesn’t have any food on it is a lot less tempting than one that is covered with leftovers and crumbs. A shelf that is free of clutter is not as attractive as one that holds a bunch of knickknacks and tchotchkes. If there’s nothing for your cat to check out, then they probably won’t bother jumping up. 
  2. Use deterrents. One simple, inexpensive deterrent that you can use is double-sided tape. Cats hate the sticky feeling on their paws and will probably be discouraged after a couple of attempts. You can also try crinkled aluminum foil—cats aren’t too keen on the sound it makes when they land on it. 
  3. Provide legal alternatives. While it’s OK to stop your cat from jumping on areas that are off-limits, you shouldn’t try to squelch their instinct to jump. Remember, your furry pal is hardwired to head to elevated locations where they can relax and feel safe. Get a cat condo or cat tree so that they have a place to jump and climb. Make it more interesting by positioning it near a window and hiding a treat at the top every now and then.

Other Solutions and Considerations

If you notice that your feline companion is jumping up high more than usual or retreating to hard-to-reach areas like the top of a closet, then they might be hiding an injury or trying to get away from something they’re afraid of. For the former, check your cat for injuries and take them to the vet if necessary. For the latter, find out what’s spooking them and remove it from their environment.  

Cats are without a doubt excellent jumpers. Don’t discourage the behavior altogether; instead, teach your feline friend where it’s OK to leap around the house!  



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