High-altitude cat observation

Joey on an air conditioner

Yep, that's a cat on an air conditioner all right.

Joey on an air conditioner

Right up next to the ceiling.

Joey's not just the Amazing Fetching Cat, he's also the Amazing Exploring Cat. A preposition isn't just anything a rabbit can do to a hill; it's anything Joey can do to a cardboard box, curtain rail, wardrobe...

Twice, now, Joey's managed to end up stuck at the bottom of the square vertical well created by two bookcases I've screwed together for stability in a corner. I've stuffed a cushion in the top of the hole now, to reduce the chance that I'll have to shift furniture to rescue a small miaowing thing again.

(It usually seems to take him a few hours to start miaowing. If Joey finds himself stuck somewhere, he usually just goes to sleep for a while.)

[UPDATE: As of September 2009, he's done this three times. He got past the cushion.]

My office air conditioner was a new Joey-perch, though. He'd gotten there from the curtain rail.

Joey at his ease by the ceiling

(I'll say one thing for adventurous cats: They do a great job of removing cobwebs from hard-to-dust places.)

Despite the slipperiness and downward curve of the top of the unit, he seemed quite happy there for a little while. But then he wanted to get back down.

Joey the tightrope walker

So far, so good...

Joey the tightrope walker

"Hang on a minute lads, I've got a great idea!"

Joey on speaker

This little bookshelf speaker is suspended from an ordinary picture-hook.

Joey on speaker

I'm glad I stuck rubber feet on the back of the speaker to stop it wobbling.

Joey leaves speaker

The speaker turned out to be of limited interest.

I'd been helpfully tapping the top of the printer to alert Joey to its usefulness as a landing pad. He looked, he thought about it... and then he decided to just hurl himself onto my shoulder, for a 100% successful claw-arrestor-hook landing.

You might think that'd be painful, but I'm pretty much numb, these days.

21 Responses to “High-altitude cat observation”

  1. Stuart Says:

    Times like this, gravity gun.

  2. Itsacon Says:

    We just recently got two kittens, and they needed less than ten minutes to discover our couch has a hollow back. It took me another 30 minutes to discover that fact... Luckily, I'd read your review, and knew they hadn't magically vanished into the garden...

  3. TwoHedWlf Says:

    I believe on page 23 of the cat owners manual it says they get double points for knocking things off whatever high places they're climbing on.

  4. Luke A Says:

    I recently rescued one of my girlfriend's cats from behind the washing machine. I thought this was an odd place for a cat to want to be, until I was informed that "Oh, he does that sometimes."

    He also wanted to go back down there after I'd rescued him. I told him that if he got stuck again, I'd be in bed and unable (and unwilling) to help him. He seemed happy with this.

  5. Chazzozz Says:

    I believe on page 23 of the cat owners manual...

    Owner's manual?? That implies that cats actually have 'owners'....I always thought the correct designation was 'staff'.

  6. TwoHedWlf Says:

    Common rookie mistake, Chaz. That's the cat's manual for the people they own. :P

  7. Ziggyinc Says:

    Kudos Dan, I've seen my cats do similar things, but I never manage to have a camera ready.

  8. darkith Says:

    My favorite is when I leave one of the upper drawers in my armoire open. Naturally, the combination of "high place" and "clean sweaters with insufficient cat hair" cause an immediate cat gravitational flux.
    After surveying the location and possible remediating the aforementioned cat hair issue, it's common for my cats to crawl over the back of the drawer and into the nether regions of the armoir. No conclusive video has been recovered intact, but investigation of the remaining drawers likely occurs to ensure cat hair issues don't exist there as well.

    And woe be unto any passing human who should happen past and close the drawer without consulting with the (concealed) cat. Miaows of complaint give way to instant scorn once access has been restored.

  9. FuzzyPlushroom Says:

    I think they just like high places. Ours sits atop the china cabinet whenever he can - he originally would leap down onto the dog crate, but occasionally he'd fall off, or one of his feet would go through.

    I think he gets down via the kitchen table, now. I'm not sure, but I know he has a more elegant solution.

  10. tomsk Says:

    It's a dominance thing, I think, where the highest cat in the room is the winner, the boss cat, king of the castle. Ours do it all the time, this is my favourite pic of the phenomenon so far.

  11. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I think that deserves to be added to the page :-).


  12. Itsacon Says:

    Darn. Our young ones even have difficulty getting up on a 50cm high chair without using climbing equipment right now...

    It does lead to interesting `cat supsended from vertical surface' moments though, when they forget halfway which way they were going.

  13. kamikrae-z Says:


    Not a cat, but certainly relevant. Although I can only imagine a cat making a more elegant descent.

  14. Bern Says:

    I believe on page 23 of the cat owners manual it says they get double points for knocking things off whatever high places they’re climbing on.

    Ah, but Annex D lists the points multipliers they get based on factors such as the dollar value, rarity, replaceability, or whether the item was a gift for a special occasion, such as a wedding. I think our cats might have approached a record with the Limited Millennium Edition Waterford Crystal Goblets that a friend gave us for our wedding and that we had foolishly left on top of the kitchen cabinet eight feet off the floor. But they lost half, when it transpired that only one of the pair in the box actually broke... the other miraculously survived unscathed!
    BTW, they climb on the air-conditioner in the study all the time, after the gecko that has taken up residence somewhere inside. But it's only three feet above the top of the filing cabinet, so an easy climb.

  15. DBT Says:

    I had a kitten that climbed a fir (fur?) tree in our yard and (allegedly) became stuck. As the foliage was too dense for a ladder, I ended up shimming up the trunk about 10 feet to rescue him. Upon reaching the kitten, I realised I was at least one hand short of making a controlled descent whilst holding the animal. The cat found the solution and clawed it's way onto my shoulders, where it sat patiently, claws extended for stability, while I climbed down.

    Thenceforth the cat found it's calling ... as a "shoulder cat". Why walk when you can ride your beast of burden?

    PS. It was always a good idea to be wearing jeans when the cat fancied a ride, as shorts didn't seem to discourage the creature from climbing up your leg to get to his perch.

  16. NickL Says:

    That's a rather odd A/C air handler. I don't think I've ever seen something like that. The homes I've been in have either window A/C or central A/C...

  17. Red October Says:

    That's a "mini-split" air con, so called because the evaporator is in the room with a fan, and the condensor is elsewhere, behind the building, on the roof, etc. Multiple evaporators can be served be a common condensor, and they are comparably easier to retrofit than a forced air system. The cycle can be reversed, if desired, so they can provide heat as well. I believe Fujitsu and Mitsubishi make many of them; not sure about traditional air con makers like Fedders and Carrier...

  18. theSeekerr Says:

    Fedders and Carrier? Never heard of them - here, the system shown there is known as a "split system", and are by far the dominant form of air conditioner....the window mounting kind are reasonably popular with people who are doing the installation themselves, though. Here in Australia, or at least, here on the coast of New South Wales, Central A/C in homes is nearly entirely unheard of, although I imagine they might be more popular in some of the hotter and/or more humid regions of the continent.

    Your "traditional" A/C manufacturers probably have their place in commercial buildings, but who goes checking the brands on those?

  19. FuzzyPlushroom Says:

    Carrier's a fairly high-end medium-duty-on-up manufacturer. Dunno about Fedders, but I'm fairly sure they've got the license for Maytag these days.

    That is a pretty nifty setup, but we'll stick with our (removable for winter) window unit... being in the great frozen northeast USA.

  20. Red October Says:

    Now I know where you are FuzzyPlushroom! The same area I am! Mini-splits are quite viable here as they only require a small hole in the wall for the plumbing. Fedders makes some of the best units in the US, at least, and they are still made there, too. Carrier, apparently, has gone from the window unit market but still makes larger units for the entire world.

  21. n17ikh Says:

    Typically here in the boiling Southeastern US the typical A/C unit is a either a big compressor unit on a concrete pad outside the house providing compressed refrigerant to an evap unit for forced-air central cooling or a simple window unit, retrofitting a house with no central system. Ours is the former; a new Trane unit, recently installed after the weedeater threw too many rocks at our old one and filled it full of pinholes. The old one was a good few hundred pounds or so of mixed copper and aluminum, which is nothing to sneer at in today's scrap-metal market. I've never actually seen anything resembling a mini-split system here.

    Incidentally, we run our A/C throughout the winter: various bits of computer equipment running constantly coupled with the fact that the outside temperature drops below freezing about three days a year means we never actually need to heat the house.

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