Contents of Article
- Why get a cat tree?
- What is the Best Cat Tree?
- Which types of cats need a cat tree?
- Choosing the Best Cat Tree
- The Top 5 Best Cat Trees
- Finding the perfect tree for your cat
Why get a cat tree?
In the outdoors, cats climb high into trees both for fun and to find a safe refuge. From this bird’s eye view, our small, often vulnerable cats can safely overlook the rest of the world. Instinctively, our cats seek out high places – whether it’s the top of a tree or the refrigerator.
While cats will naturally climb wherever they can, a cat tree provides a personal space that’s just for your cat; protected from other animals and people.
Besides being comforting places to hang out above the rest of the home, cat trees usually incorporate textured surfaces for your cat to scratch, which gives them an approved outlet for their natural scratching instincts.
Offering your small or large cat additional vertical territory can help with numerous behavioral issues and anxiety, making them a great investment for your cat’s health and happiness.
In this article, we’ll be going over some of the various types of cats who will be benefitted by the use of a cat tree, outline different types of trees available, and review the top 5 best cat trees available today.
What is the Best Cat Tree?
Which types of cats need a cat tree?
1. Cats who climb where they shouldn’t
This is a huge sign that your cat would benefit from a cat tree. These cats desperately need to embrace their natural climbing instincts, and often the only way to do that is by climbing where they shouldn’t. As we considered earlier, cats love being in high places. They can’t help it, so they’ll climb wherever they can. Unless you provide a designated climbing space, your cat will take advantage of drapes, shelves, refrigerators, and countertops.
2. Cats who scratch where they shouldn’t
Cats instinctively scratch rough surfaces to slough off the outer layers of their claws, mark their territory, and to get a good stretch. When not provided with an appropriate place to perform this natural behavior, they’ll turn to carpets, chairs, and any other available surface. Providing your cat with approved furniture gives them a way to engage in this healthy behavior without damaging any property.
3. Cats who don’t get along
When cats don’t get along with one another, it’s sometimes the result of the two of them not having enough personal space. Especially for “beta” kitties who tend to get bullied by other more aggressive cats, a cat tree provides a comfortable safe space. Additionally, the multiple perches of a cat tree allow your cats to relax on different levels. The most dominant cat can claim the top perch, which can offer tremendous peace of mind for cats who would otherwise be competing on the same horizontal plane.
4. Shy or sensitive cats
For shy and sensitive cats who get nervous easily and tend to hide a lot, the ability to sit on a perch high above everything else is life-changing. The added height can give them a sense of distance from the over-stimulating surroundings. Instead of running away and hiding when guests visit, your shy cat can sit in a spatially dominant location and confidently watch over their home.
5. Stressed-out cats
Behavioral problems, including aggression, reclusiveness, and inappropriate urination, often point to stress and anxiety. Stress has numerous different causes, typically associated with changes in the home environment. After moving to a new house, introducing a new baby or pet into the home, or rearranging the furniture, your cat can become very stressed. Part of keeping your cat stress-free is providing a special place for them to hang out. Cat trees offer comforting height, a safe relaxation spot, and, in many cases, stimulating activity centers and scratchers that encourage your cat to play and exercise – which can help reduce stress.
Choosing the Best Cat Tree
Choose the cat tree that suits both your cat’s and your household’s needs. The perfect cat tree will accommodate your cat’s unique set of needs while also fitting well into your home decor. Additionally, cat trees are available at a variety of different price points, so it’s possible to find one that’s right for almost any budget.
A cat tree is a long-term investment; it’s a piece of furniture that could be in your home for years to come. It’s important to identify the qualities of a good cat tree so that you can choose one that will serve you and your cat effectively for a long time.
Here are some important qualities to look for when shopping for the best cat tree:
Stability and construction
Frisky cats love playing on and around their cat trees, so it’s important to choose one that won’t tip over when your cat leaps onto it. And particularly in the case of multi-cat households, it’s crucial that the tree remains upright under any weight configuration. Heavy trees with large bases tend to be the most stable. Look for well-constructed cat trees that are put together with screws rather than nails or glue.
Besides basic perches, cat trees often incorporate enriching activity areas and other features that make them more fun, entertaining, and useful for your cat. Different cat trees may incorporate a variety of hiding spaces, engaging hanging toys, scratching areas, and varied platforms for cats to investigate.
These various activity areas provide comfort, stimulation, exercise, and fun for your cat. Here are some of the unique benefits of each type of added engagement area on a cat tree:
Condos and cubbies
Enclosed hiding spaces give your cat a cozy private place to hang out or take a nap. Cats love being in small, private spaces and these areas give your cat a comfortable place to be alone.
These dangling toys give your cat something to bat at, making the cat tree a more engaging space for your cat to enjoy. If your cat is a swatter, they’ll love the inclusion of one or more hanging toys to play with.
These provide a healthy outlet for your cat’s natural urge to scratch. Cats are going to scratch something, whether it’s your furnishings or a designated scratching area. To banish unwanted scratching, this cat tree component is essential. Cat trees may use scratching ramps added onto the design of the tree or posts that are integral to its structure – both are effective designs that naturally appeal to cats.
Ramps and ladders
Ramps and ladders are both fun for your cat to climb and a way to make the tree more accessible to cats who have difficulty jumping.
How they’re used depends on the style of the tunnel, but in general, these offer fun opportunities for your cat to explore and navigate. Larger tunnels make a cozy place for your cat to hang out and take naps. Tunnels are typically good sources of entertainment that make your cat’s life a little bit more fun.
It’s important that any cloth or carpet coverings are well-made, comfortable, and easy to clean. Low quality rug or carpet-style coverings can easily fray and deposit fragments throughout the house. They’re typically not removable, so when they get damaged, it can easily ruin the look of the cat tree. Fortunately, most modern cat trees have turned away from the use of carpet-style coverings and towards more durable choices. One good choice is fleece coverings, which don’t shred and ensure that your tree continues to look good over the years. Removable and washable cushions are also a plus, as they can prolong the beauty of your cat tree.
Scratchable Surface Quality
Ideally, the best cat tree has scratchable surfaces that allow your cat to stretch out and freshen up their claws. The scratchable material, usually sisal rope, must be firmly secured to the body of the tree. Some scratchers are made with poor-quality construction and will fall apart as soon as your cat starts using them. By looking at customer reviews and product specifications, any trees with low-quality scratchers are disqualified from our list of the top 5 best cat trees.
Visual appeal and style
A good cat tree adds to the overall beauty of an indoor space rather than detracting from it. While style isn’t the most important quality on this list, we give extra points to those cat tree designers who were able to create an innovative design that integrates beautifully into your home decor.
The Top 5 Best Cat Trees
Ideal for: multiple cat homes, cats who love height
This tall cat tree is a total cat playground featuring multiple activity areas, a swinging toy, two condos, and six perches. With its large size and multiple features, it’s perfect for multiple cat homes.
- Made with sturdy plywood
- Easy to assemble
- Features ten scratching posts, all covered in sturdy sisal rope
- Has six perches, plenty of activity space, and two condos so that multiple cats can hang out at once
- Covered in soft faux fleece, which is easy to clean and won’t shred
- Includes a ramp, which is fun for cats to play on and helps cats who have trouble jumping access the tree
- Has a weight capacity of 80 lbs
- Customer reviews indicate that this cat tree might be a bit on the wobbly side – brace it against a wall corner for added stability
Ideal for: people seeking a combination of elegant style and functionality
Ideal for those looking for a chic, beautiful design that adds decorative appeal to their home. This elegantly-designed cat tree features two platforms for lounging and a cushioned cube cave. For fun and engagement, the tree includes a stylish hanging toy for your cat to bat at. The tree is medium height, standing at about 4 feet tall.
- Ultra-stylish cat tree is a beautiful decorative addition to the home
- Features three washable memory foam cushions
- Cushions are attached with strong Velcro
- Six seagrass rope-wrapped scratching posts
- Strong and stable for active cats
- Quality construction with sturdy wood
- Assembly can be a bit tricky and the instructions aren’t the best
- For some cats, the cubby’s entry hole may be too small and difficult to enter
Ideal for: multiple cat homes, energetic kittens, and cats who love height
For cats who crave high elevations and a variety of entertainment sources, here’s a huge cat playground of a cat tree. With a whopping 25 different levels, this tree creates a fun-filled separate home within the home for your cat.
- Features adjustable top posts to stabilize this ultra-tall tree
- Sturdy and stable construction
- Two ladders help cats with difficulty jumping climb the tree
- 15 different scratching areas
- 3 dangly ropes for swatting and batting
- Features four unique tunnels for your cat to navigate
- With so many different levels, this is a great choice for multiple cat homes
- May be tricky to assemble
- Best for smaller cats, as the perches may not be big enough for large cats
Ideal for: homes with limited space (apartments)
Cat trees can take up a huge amount of space in your house. If you have limited space, are traveling with your cat, temporarily foster cats, or just want a cat tree that you can stow away some of the time, this foldable cat tree is ideal. It has all the features of a great cat tree, with a scratching panel, cozy condo for napping, pom poms for play, and a lounge hammock at the top. Besides its storability and convenience, this isn’t a great choice for cats who need height.
- Ideal for small spaces
- Pom-poms add entertainment value
- Lounge hammock at the top gives your cat a great place to hang out
- The condo contains a removable, washable cushion
- An affordable choice
- At just over 2’ tall, this isn’t the best choice for cats who demand high elevations
Ideal for: cats who love hanging out in baskets, cats with dark fur that will blend in with the colors of the tree
This medium-height cat tree has a fun and colorful design with curved lines. It has two soft relaxation centers, two perches, and scratching posts for an instinct-satisfying kitty hangout.
- Features designer-print fabric on the two hangout perches and bed cushion
- Multiple sisal rope-wrapped scratching post areas encourage healthy scratching
- Cozy hoop hammock is an interesting-looking and comforting bowl shape for your cat to sit in
- Dangling pom-pom toy encourages play
According to customer reviews, the hooded high rise bed design may be difficult for cats to get into and hence not a well-loved place for them to hang out
Finding the perfect tree for your cat
In this article, we’ve gone over the benefits of cat trees, the types of cats who need them, ways to identify a great tree, and then listed five of the best cat trees available today. Each of these trees appeals to a different set of needs while incorporating quality construction, stability, and ease of use.
Choosing the perfect cat tree is all about selecting a tree that fits in with your cat’s needs while performing excellently. Identifying a winning combination of useful features and quality construction is key to choosing the right cat tree for your home. Whether you’re living in a limited space or have room for an expansive kitty resort, there’s a wide range of sizes and styles of cat trees to suit your needs.