All cat owner’s know one truth above all others: your feline friend needs a place to call their own and something to scratch that is not your furniture. Their claws need sharpening and your new expensive sofa is their first option, unless you have provided them some attractive alternative to consider. Cat trees are just such an option. Nooks and crannies to explore and sleep in, attachments to keep them entertained and their claws sharpened are just some of the benefits of these cat accessories. 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 actually scratching posts with platforms and/or boxes on them. They are especially suitable for cats that are exclusively indoors because they are 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 to do the same during inclement weather, etc. However, they tend to take up quite a bit of floor space, so you want one that will go well with your furniture, floor, and with the space limits of the room that 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 probably won’t appreciate it and won’t use it that much, if at all. You will also need to ensure that the perches and condos are not too small for your cat.
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 get more clarity of what will fit your home and what you think that your cat might like. Remember, your cat’s the one that’s going to use it, so make sure that it’s not one that’s 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 possibly could from perches to a string. All of the above should be enough to keep your cat entertained for hours. 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 that doesn’t have a whole lot of furniture. 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. One said that their 12-pound cat fits in it very well. Another pointed out that there is an option to leave the cylinder barrel off. We would recommend this as well if your cat rolls in it because it won’t help to keep it secure. It has received over 9,700 reviews, and only four percent have given it a one-star rating. Most of the complaints have to do with a lack of sturdiness and the fact that it’s not designed for large cats.
AmazonBasics is simple. It contains 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 prepared 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 that doesn’t have 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. One does warn that it does not fit large or senior cats very well. The majority say, and show, that it is best for one or two skinny cats or of average weight. Out of almost 2,000 reviews, 75 percent have given it five out of stars, and just three percent have given it one star. Most of the complaints mostly relate to the fact that it’s not for large cats, and the design is poor.
The AmazonBasics Multi-Level is very similar to the AmazonBasics Cat Tree (number two above). Only it 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 own 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 from 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 top of the condo is so small. It is small enough to be placed by a standalone window as a 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. One said that their 12-pound ragdoll fits in it well and loves it. Another said that their two cats weigh 13 and 16 pounds, that it is very sturdy, and that both of their cats love it. There have been over 1,800 ratings so far, and almost 80 percent have given it five stars. Just three percent have given it one star. At least one confirmed that the top ball and string are not safe. Most comments that aren’t five stars have been about the lack of safety with the ball and that it’s poorly designed construction.
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. Its dimensions are 22×72, and the height range is 65-110 inches.
It has received only three reviews so far, and they have given it barely three out of five stars. Although two out of three have said that they would recommend it. The chief complaint with the one was poorly designed equipment and is falling apart as a result. It tends to fit cats that are under 14 pounds best. Since it has seven levels total, it’s great for cats that like high heights.
This comes in beige only. It has two ladders, two condos, and three perches. It looks like it can fit between three and six cats. It provides medium and large-sized cats. 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, the smaller condo on the top is 12x12x10, and 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 just four and a half out of five stars. Out of the over 10,000 reviews so far, just over 75 percent have given it five stars, and only three percent have given it one star. One confirmed that it fits their multiple cats very well, and another has confirmed that it would cost in the upper $100’s anywhere else. Most of the complaints have related to the toy not being safe, the design is poorly manufactured and falling apart after two months. In one case, theirs came with missing screws.
Top Recommendations and Additional Advice
We’re tied between the AmazonBasics Cat Tree (number two) and the Go Pet Club 72-inch (number five).
We recommend the AmazonBasics Cat Tree because even though it can hold only up to 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, my personal recommendation for being safe with the hanging toys that they come with is to not 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, if you do decide to hang them, please be very cautious and watch for movement.
Cat climbing trees are probably some of the most unique cat equipment on the market right now. Like their name suggests, they are supposed to resemble a tree and encourage a cat’s climbing ability, especially for those that are 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?
The reason is it being made out of coarse material that has the perfect texture for your cat to sharpen its claws on. It’s also very resistant to cat scratching. However, the shredded rope often ends up on the floor eventually and, for your cat’s safety, should be cleaned.
So, are there any alternatives to sisal?
Yes. Polyrope doesn’t shred and tends to have more longevity than sisal.
How can we know if my cat will likely prefer a tunnel, a condo, or a perch?
Just consider how much your cat loves to get into a box, a floor-level kiddie tunnel, and/or a small flat surface, such as a nightstand or a small magazine glass table.so if your cat jumps right out or right off of any of them, that’s an ultimate sign that it might not like either of the three mentioned above. However, if you have at least two cats, one might prefer one thing and the other another. Please note that even if they do like the tunnels or condos, they might not use them in super-hot weather. Unless you place your cat climbing tree in a well air-conditioned room.
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.
Ah, I feel your struggle there as well. Unfortunately, who’s-going-to-be-the-dominant is not just a dog issue, and yes, it can be very unsafe. Particularly in cat climbing. The expert advice there is usually to get separate trees for both or multiple cats. However, this might not always be possible as cats generally like to stay reasonably close to each other, particularly when they’re alone in the house.
If you really think that buying at least two trees might work for you, your cats are within your budget and space, great. If not, you might want to consider an alternative, such as window perches.
What can you recommend for senior cats?
Good question! Since senior cats often get to a point where they’re not able to jump as high, you could try something like a simple perch that’s one or two feet.
Can the fur be removed? If not, what should I do in case my cat gets sick or has an accident in the tree?
If the fur or material is glued on, which it sometimes is to prevent cats from shredding it, then it is not 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. Another option-though it’s gross, and I wouldn’t recommend it if that’s where your cat uses for its priority spot-is to let the vomit dry and then vacuum it up. Soap and water are also one of the best options for both vomit and bathroom accidents. For the latter, 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 kind of reward, such as a treat or praise with a pat on the back, the first several times that 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. However, they might not be encouraged to scratch without you doing so if you do.
If there are so many complaints about them falling apart, how do I choose the right cat tree for me and my cat?
The first thing you need to consider is the design. Even though ones for larger cats are a bit hard to find, they do come in multiple shapes and sizes. Like the five above demonstrate, they usually have at least one condo and/or tunnel, and at least two, if not three, perches. Again, consider what kind of enclosures your cat takes to the most ahead of time.
Your cat’s personality is the second thing that you should consider. If your cat just loves to climb, a tall tree that is large or has multiple levels is ideal. Again, if your cat is old, a simple perch that’s just one or two feet off the floor would be perfect. If your cat loves to crash in enclosed spaces, it will probably like the condo or tunnels. The hanging toys are great for playful cats. Again, however, please be safe and responsible with them. If it chews or eats them, you will probably want to consider ground level toys.
If you’re not sure what kind of scratching surfaces, try ground-level products with sisal, poly rope, carpet or wood first. Some experts recommend trying different tree designs. However, I don’t want you to spend more money than you have to just because you’re not sure of one thing. Every cat is different, and sometimes, their preferences can be a little challenging to figure out at first.
Above all, you want your cat climbing tree to be sturdy. If it tilts or anything moves while your cat is using it, if it’s lucky enough not to get injured, it will probably not want to use that tree again. We’re sorry to say that some trees are made mainly to be a part of the house décor and not actually made for cats. Which, to me, is a big waste of suitable materials and money. Solid oak, for example, is often much sturdier than particleboard. Carpeting tends to last longer than faux fur, however, whatever your cat prefers is where your money is best spent. Screws are always recommended over nails because screws stay embedded into the material more quickly, whereas nails can loosen and fall out. If one does, your cat could get injured in more than one way.
When investing in a climbing tree for your cat, you want to ensure that it’s something that your cat is likely to take to. 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 trees do come with their own screws so that you don’t have to run extra errands or take additional steps to assemble it.
Again, you also want to consider what your cat likes. For example, you don’t want to invest in a tree that has mostly perch spaces when it’s enclosed areas that your cat prefers.
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. Since your cat(s) is/are going to be the one using the tree, you want to ensure that it/they will be comfortable with it. We understand that no two cats are ever exactly alike. In some cases, their preferences can be a little difficult to gauge. Like we said above, there are ways to measure that that doesn’t require you to waste your money on different tree designs that they won’t be using.