I recently posed the question to my FB newsfeed of whether the cat-traversing-stairs photo indicated he was traveling up or down, and got quite a varied response. Personally, I am on Team Up.
Before I get to why, however, I want to make a few qualifying observations.
The design of this staircase seems very unusual. What should be considered as evidence one way or the other, is overridden by this actual staircase. That is, we would have to eliminate possibilities that whoever built the stairs did so against more common design, or that the architect who designed them intentionally went against the common understanding of stair construction. We would have to assume, perhaps too broadly, that dozens of possible evidence-disqualifying traits of other stairs should be dismissed without knowing whether they should or shouldn’t be dismissed. The evidence is this staircase, only. This staircase is unique, as is the cat that is traversing it. Why are the bricks on the edges like that but not anywhere else? Why are there no handrails? There are lots of questions that need answers, really.
Team Down: The edge of each stair has a lip, that is present in most stairs. The lip is raised and offers a shadow to indicate that it is extended away from the rest of the step, if the light source is from above. Stairs with a lip on the edge would be a tripping hazard.
Team Up: The edge of each stair is a stair grip, which is raised higher than the rest of each step to offer a different texture for foot traffic to better grasp the step ledge for safer travel. Whether or not is a tripping hazard is irrelevant for this staircase. It could simply be a staircase that is tripped over a lot, or is rarely used because of the tripping hazard, and is too expensive or outside of the skillset for the homeowner to alter. Seems just fine for cats, however.
Team Down: The posture of the cat suggests the cat is going down the stairs, since its tail is up for balance.
Team Up: All you’ve done is assembled a few photos of cats with their tails in positions you’ve indicated. The same can be done in reverse. The question is whether this cat is using its tail for balance when going up, or using it for balance when going down, or if the photographer snapped the pic of the cat moving it from one position to the other, forward or backward. It would make better sense for the cat’s tail to be up than straight back hen ascending to offer counterbalance, than to be up when descending and causing too much of a forward imbalance (pardon the crude illustration).
Team Down: The brick shapes along the wall that meet the stairs who have to be vertical if the cat were ascending, rather than horizontal as bricks are most often laid if the cat were descending.
Team Up: The bricks we can see are too thick to be part of the wall and thus having a sensible reason to be laid obviously horizontal, because of the space between each brick is appx 1.5 bricks apart, not 1 or 2 bricks.
Team Up: The area behind the cat from which it has come appears to be a solid wall, if the cat is going down. Why would a staircase lead immediately into a wall? Because it’s a floor, not a wall, and the cat is going up. The texture of the floor appears consistent with a surface perpendicular to the edge of the stair-wall.
Team Down: It may just be the sky back there, or a wall that is further out of view without seeing the foot of the wall and we can only see the upper portion of the wall.
What side are you on? If you have any additional theories, I’ll append them to the article here and create illustrations.
Cat going down stairs with tail up:
Same cat as above going up same stairs with tail up: