In our previous house, we lived on the second floor. After going through the front door, you had to first climb the stairs. When Freya and Fiona were little, they used to run up and down the stairs chasing each other tirelessly during the night. My downstairs neighbour didn’t mind the stampedes, fortunately.
The top of the stairs was always a beloved spot of the kitties. There was a scratching pole there, and the cat walk, of course. That was Fiona’s domain, while the pole was more Freya’s territory.
My husband started conditioning the cats to come to the top of the stairs whenever he left. He would softly pat on the floor, and they would come running, because there were always nice pets and skritches to be had as a reward. Conveniently, that allowed one of us to always be able to subtly close some doors before leaving without locking in the cats while the other was on petting duty.
Whenever we came home, the cats would be at the top of the stairs, waiting for us. Of course, we had to pass Freya’s sniff test first (no exceptions!), before we were allowed to pet her. Fiona would sit up high on the cat walk, keeping an eye on everybody else.
Freya even started sleeping on the stairs at one point. The third step from the top was her spot: right in the corner, so she could keep an eye on everything downstairs, as well as up in the hallway. In the new house, she loved the stairs to the attic: those were open, so she could look down the hallway all the way down.