Cats are natural climbers and scratchers and what naturally goes with that? Cat climbing trees!
Every cat owner needs to remember two critical things when bringing a new fur baby home. First, they need a place to call their own in their environment. Second, scratching is vital to their well-being, and you need to ensure a safe alternative scratching mechanism, or your furniture will pay the price.
Cat’s claws need sharpening, and your new expensive sofa is their first option unless you have provided them some attractive alternative to consider. Cat climbing trees are a viable cat accessory and furniture’s best friend. These unique accessories provide nooks and crannies to explore and sleep in, attachments to keep them entertained, and feline claws sharpened. Bonus for you, many times, these larger pet accessories can blend right into your decor and look like another decorative piece.
Most cat climbing trees are scratching posts with platforms and boxes on them. They are especially suitable for cats that are exclusively indoors because they provide a good outlet for them to sharpen everything from their claws to their hunting skills. Even if your cat is a combination of indoor and outdoor, it can provide an outlet for them during inclement weather, days you leave them inside while working, and other times. It should be noted these cat climbing trees do tend to take up quite a bit of floor space, so you want one that will go well with your furniture, floor, and space limits of the room you plan to put it in.
Your cat’s safety, however, is the most critical feature. You will need to ensure that the tree doesn’t wobble and isn’t imbalanced in any way. If it is, your cat may not feel secure and stray from using the tree for other toys to play with or go back to the furniture. On the flip side, you will also need to ensure that the cat perches and condos are not too small for your cat as this also can cause issues navigating and making perches in – again driving them elsewhere for their space and engagement times.
My top five picks below are my personal preferences but are not exhaustive by any means. If nothing else, you can use them as your starting point to clarify what will fit your home and what you think your cat might like. Remember, your cat’s the one that’s going to use it, so make sure that it’s not primarily for appearances.
Our Top Five Picks
The 62-inch Go Pet Club is made from durable compressed wood wrapped in faux fur. Cats love to sharpen their claws in wood, and the faux fur will keep your cat warm, especially in the winter. It comes with all of the features that a cat climbing tree could possess, from perches to a string attached for them to batt for hours of entertainment. The ropes aligned in the tree are sisal ropes. It comes with its own instructions and is designed to be easy to assemble. Its overall dimensions are 38x27x62. The top perch is 13.25×13.25×2.75. The condos are 10.5×12.5. The bottom platform is 19×26. As a result, the 62-Inch Go Pet Club does best in a spacious room. It is neutral colored, which means that it’s meant to go with any home décor.
The reviews have given it four and a half out of five stars, with over 9,700 reviews documented. Most of the complaints have to do with a lack of sturdiness and the fact that it’s not designed for large cats. These concerns can also be noted as manufacturer notes on this piece due to construction and size, so please keep this in mind when considering.
AmazonBasics is a simple tree containing one condo, two perches, a ladder, and a ball on a string. The fiber is made from natural jute, which is perfect for claw sharpening. Its neutral tone is perfect to go with any home décor. It is designed with natural sisal and plush, which is meant to make AmazonBasics durable and long-lasting. This is small enough to place near a lone tall window and make a good substitute for a perch with suction cups. It is also small enough to fit into a small room with a lot of furniture floor cover. Its overall dimensions are 54 X 30 X 19.25.
The reviews have given AmazonBasics just over four and a half out of five stars based on over 2,000 reviews. After reading the reviews, this one might be best for small to medium felines and not large cats. Average height and weight and younger and not senior felines appear to be what customers feel best suits this particular tree from all the feedback.
The AmazonBasics Multi-Level is very similar to the AmazonBasics Cat Tree (number two above). The difference is this one comes with three platforms and one condo. The first two platforms take your cat up about three feet from the floor. The condo is its little platform, and then the top platform is located just above the condo. The first ball and string are located just below the second platform so that your cat can play with it from the two-way bottom one or the base platform. The second is located just above the condo on the top platform. However, we question the safety of that one because the space on top of the condo is so small. It is small enough to be placed by a standalone window to substitute for a perch with suction cups. The dimensions are 23.6×19.3×28.5, and it is about 4.5 tall from the ground. It’s best for one or two cats.
The reviews have given it just over four and a half out of five stars out of 1,800 plus reviews so far, with just about 80 percent giving it five stars. Again, the suction cups will be needed for the small perch to affix for safety, which is reinforced in the reviews. Also, the reviews point to the fact that smaller cats to medium-sized should use this and that the strings might become detached, as concerns highlighted with this one.
The Go Pet Black has two ladders, a condo, two platforms, and three perches. It comes with a toy fish that hangs from one of the perches. It is made of pressed wood, faux fur, and sisal rope and measures 22×72, with a height range of 65-110 inches. It has received only three reviews so far. The reviews do tend to show that this one best fits cats that are under 14 pounds. Since it has seven levels total, it’s great for cats that like high heights.
This comes in beige and has two ladders, two condos, and three perches. It can fit between three and six cats of medium to large sizes. It is made out of compressed wood, faux fur, and sisal rope. The overall dimensions are 33x22x72, the base platform is 23.5×21.5, the bigger bottom condo is 18×12.5×11.75, and the smaller condo is 12x12x10. The perches on the top are 12.75×12.75×2.25. It is 72 inches from the ground. It comes with its own assembling instructions.
The reviews have given it four and a half out of five stars, with over 10,000 reviews so far. The price point is by far one of the most reviewed positives, as other units with this many features sell for a much higher price tag. As with everything, do your research on if this device will work for your felines best as there are many consumer reviews to pick through on this unit.
Cat Climbing Tree Recommendations
We recommend the AmazonBasics Cat Tree because it can hold only two cats of average size and weight. Additionally, it is small enough to place next to a window and make a good substitute for a perch with suction cups. The Go Pet Club 72-Inch is one of the few that can hold multiple cats.
Besides, our recommendation for being safe with the hanging toys that they come with is not to let your cats play with them unsupervised. In other words, we would not even recommend hooking the toy unless you’re going to be there to supervise the play. However, if your cats start to chew on or eat the toys or the plastic string, we would not recommend using them at all.
Also, please be cautious about any hooks and hammocks. The first can injure your cat when it bunts up against it or paws at it. There have been a lot of complaints about hammocks falling off with a cat’s movement. So, if you’re not going to use toys or hammocks, we would suggest removing any hooks as well.
We would also caution you about any hanging barrel tunnels or condos. They have both been known to move with the cat and to the most vulnerable to falling off. So, if you do get one with a hanging condo or barrel, please be very cautious and watch for movement if you decide to hang them.
Cat climbing trees are probably some of the unique cat equipment on the market right now. As their name suggests, they are supposed to resemble a tree and encourage a cat’s climbing ability, especially exclusively indoors. However, one disadvantage seems to be that there aren’t that many that are designed to accommodate large or multiple cats. If your cat is a senior cat and you only just got it, it might not be able to adapt to a climbing tree at all.
FAQ’s About Cat Climbing Trees
Why do so many cat climbing trees have sisal rope?
Sisal rope is made out of coarse material with the perfect texture for your cat to sharpen its claws. It’s also very resistant to cat scratching, but can shredded rope can come loose over time and end up on the floor. After being shredded, please do not allow your cat to play with small pieces of rope for their safety.
Are there any alternatives to sisal?
Yes. Polyrope is a great alternative to sisal as it doesn’t shred and tends to have more longevity.
How can I know if my cat will prefer a tunnel, a condo, or a perch?
Please take note of their activities about the house. Do they like to try to bounce up on items to sit gazing out a window? Do they climb under items such as kiddie tunnels, couches, and the like? Observation of their behaviors is by far the best indicator of which device they will probably gravitate toward. However, if you have at least two cats, one might prefer one thing and the other another.
My cat weighs around 20 pounds. Are there any cat climbing trees designed for cats that heavy?
We feel your frustration; they can be rather challenging to find but, yes, there are some on the market. Maine Coons, for example, often love to hang off of beds. As a result, cat climbing tree experts, such as IncredibleCat, recommend that you get one with a large perch or condo that’s about three feet off the floor.
What can you recommend for senior cats?
Good question! Since senior cats often get to a point where they cannot jump as high, you could try something like a simple perch that’s one or two feet off the ground.
Can the fur be removed? If not, what should I do in case my cat gets sick or has an accident in a cat climbing tree?
If the fur or material is glued on, which sometimes prevents cats from shredding it, it will not be removable. If your cat gets sick, the best thing you can do is to remove as much of it as you can with a towel or paper towel and then get the rest with a damp cloth. You can also get something like Anti Icky Poo as it is eco-friendly and uses organic bacteria to eat away at vomit and other hazardous waste.
What if my cat won’t stop scratching the furniture, curtains, etc.?
The first expert solution is to place your tree next to or near the furniture that your cat scratches. Be sure to give them some reward, such as a treat or praise with a pat on the back, the first several times you see them scratch the post. You can also try investing in furniture scratch pads and putting them on the post. Even just giving them little back massages while they scratch might do the trick.
When investing in a climbing tree for your cat, you want to ensure that it’s something that your feline is likely to take to and use often. You also want to ensure that it’s sturdy and doesn’t tip. It is also recommended that you use screws over nails to keep it secure. Many cat climbing trees do come with their hardware and instructions to install as a more permanent wall fixture, but the downside is when removed, you could have to patch a wall.
Spend some time observing your fur baby and behaviors. This will help you select a cat climbing tree that will most likely engage them and spark their need to explore. Additionally, making the cubbies homey and their own space can help them acclimate even quicker. Again, if you have at least two cats and one tends to boss the other around, you want to consider whether getting more than one tree is worth it, if an extra tall one with plenty of space might work or if it’s worth the investment at all.
Your number one priority, of course, is your cat’s safety. Once you do your research and select the right tree for your home and feline combination, know how to use it. Cats will jump, bump and explore this new piece of furniture if you are lucky – so make sure it is stable, enticing to them, and doesn’t make them uneasy in any way you can control. Follow installation instructions, and reward your feline for exploring the new device. With a little luck and a bit of curiosity, your furniture will soon be safe as Fluffy explores its new domain.
Jonathon is an entrepreneur and cat-lover. He is married to Joy and they share their home with their 2 feline-friends, Franklin & Ollie. Jonathon is a self-admitted “Crazy Cat Guy”