Winston Churchill once said: “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

The cat in a tree is a common stereotype, and some cats do enjoy being up high, looking down on you from above (and not because we are snobbish). However, there are many felines who prefer otherwise. 

 Have you heard of the dweller philosophy? This categorizes cats into bush dwellers and tree dwellers. As a species, cats check out rooms front, around, and above – looking for places to sit, hide, and observe. Bush dwellers prefer to have all four feet on the ground and will find places to hide on the ground. Tree dwellers like to be up high and use vertical space. 

hiding cat

Bush cats will assess the space and favor spots on the ground with low ceilings like under a bed or couch. They may seek out places that are hard to reach (like behind furniture), and provide shelter or obscure them from the rest of the room. The common denominator is safety. Bush dwellers tend to be more shy, insecure, or skittish cats. This could be what propels them to hide instead of sitting up high and in the open. Bush dwellers may also have a strong hunting instinct. Even if they’re not actually hunting prey, they will likely respond to a laser pointer or feather toy and come out to play.

Trecat up highe dwellers are cats who want vertical space and can be found in cat trees, on the tops of couches, sitting on bookshelves, on top of the refrigerator, or observing the world from windows upstairs. Tree cats like to have a good view of everything going on around them. From up above, they can see who is coming and going from the room and feel safe from other animals who may be stuck on the ground. Tree cats tend to have more outgoing personalities, but can control when they interact with you (because you can’t reach them).

Regardless of the type of cat you have, you can help them feel at home by giving them places where they can feel safe. For a tree dweller, set up a cat tree or two or build cat shelves on the walls so they can jump up and hang out. A bush dweller will appreciate things like a raised bed or couch that can provide a safe place underneath. You can also turn old cardboard boxes into a cat castle with a small entrance and otherwise sealed off so they can relax.



My name is Lacy. I’m definitely a tree cat, but I have the personality of a bush cat. I have my “spot” on a shelf in the corner of the room. I spend most of my time up here where I can see the other cats and watch the people come and go. However, it also means that no one really notices me or takes the time to know me. A kind person has sponsored my adoption fee! I would love to have a home where I can settle in and become your friend.