It is not uncommon in a cat household to enter a room, feel like you are being watched and find your cat reclining on the top of your entertainment center watching your every move. So why do cats like to view our activities from such a height? To answer that question one must look back to the cat’s ancestry.
Cats are descended and related to wild feline predators. In addition many cats in the wild also find they are preyed upon too. While they may hunt birds, rats, and lizards they can be hunted by eagles, wolves, or coyotes. To ensure survival cats prefer high places. Height allows viewable access to ground scurrying prey and approaching predators. In the wild higher places are typically in the trees and the foliage and branches can deter attack from aerial predators too as it makes them harder to see and access. So, over time, in the wild, cats you were able to access high places were most likely to survive. This instinct became ingrained in felines and is carried on in the domestic cat.
Some cats may also prefer high places to avoid confrontation. This is especially true in a multi-cat household or a home with young children. By putting themselves in an elevated position they can get out of the hustle and bustle of the busy home and get some rest and relaxation away from the chaos. In addition a cat may choose to place themselves at a high vantage point during certain times of day. When dinner time rolls around my cat can be found perched on my refrigerator watching and waiting for me to fill up his food dish. And early afternoon the sun shines on the top shelf of the bookcase in the living room and becomes a perfect spot for napping.
Cats preference for perching in high places is hard-wired into their brain as a means of survival. It enables them to easily spot predator and prey. On the domestic front a high perch may be a means of finding peace and quiet or a comfy resting spot. Regardless, know that your cat is quite content way up there on his throne surveying his castle and his servants.