Everything You Need to Know about Cat Trees

cat trees

The cat tree comes to mind when you think about cat furnishings. For a good reason, this classic item is a mainstay in most cat families. Cat trees satisfy the innate instincts of cats to climb, scratch, and hide. We’ve progressed beyond the simple cat tree of the past, but with so many styles to pick from, each with its own set of characteristics, how do you know which one is suitable for your cat?

Natural Cat Instincts

Climbing is something they enjoy doing. The term “curiosity killed the cat” is certainly familiar to you. Cats are curious about everything, including areas they shouldn’t be. You may be concerned that your pet will be injured while climbing in cabinets and on shelves. By providing your cat with its own room to explore, a cat tree can help in remedying this problem. According to Catster, cats sharpen their claws by pawing at furniture. You may find it inconvenient or even undesirable, but it is important for your safety. Rather than scolding your cat for his or her natural tendencies, try diverting them to a unique cat tree made particularly for them.

Cat Trees and How They Work

Cat trees come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all function in the same way. Cat trees usually have a wide base and a solid stand with arms outstretched. They may also have holes in which to hide or tunnels through which to climb.

The advantages of having a cat tree

Cat trees are beneficial to both you and your feline companion. Clawing and climbing can be directed to your cat’s unique toys, preventing them from ruining your home. Your cat will also be satisfied with having a safe spot to paw and climb. Remember that your cat can scratch upholstery and climb on other surfaces. Instead of penalizing your pet, try to redirect unpleasant behavior.

Climb those “twigs.”

Outside, cats climb real trees to rise high enough to view their area. They also use climbing to flee predators or stalk their prey. Indoor cats, naturally, need to climb, and cat trees are a simple method to give this. Look for a cat tree with robust platforms and simple access from one level to the next when shopping. Baby steps provide for up-and-down crawling, while wider surfaces provide a spot for cats to lounge as if they were perched on a tree branch. When it’s time for the zoomies, all horizontal surfaces should be covered in some form of non-slip material so that everyone stays safe while they race about. Most cats can climb a new cat tree right away, but if yours is hesitant, lead her to the new furniture with your hand.

Remove the “trunk” from the equation

Consider a huge cat clawing on a tree stump in the woods. According to Fetch by WebMD, cats do so to make a physical mark using their claws and a scent mark with the glands in their paws to secure their area. At the very same moment, they have a decent workout and polish their claws. Cat trees can easily have a built-in clawing surface because they have robust vertical surfaces, which adds to the overall attraction for your cat, especially if your cat prefers to scratch on vertical surfaces. Investing in a cat tree with a built-in scratching surface will help you save your sofa!

Hide in the “leaves” if you don’t want to be seen

When cats seek a bit more privacy in the wild, they hide under the leaves of a tree to avoid being seen. Most cat trees include privacy features such as “hidey holes” or semi-enclosed “cocoons” in their construction. Search for cat trees featuring hammocks, boxes, or platforms with high edges to provide your cat with extra options for some alone time. Relying on your cat’s preference, you can place these strongholds at the tree’s base or higher up in the branches. If your cat prefers to hide beneath blankets, chairs, or tables, a cat tree with some hiding spots would be ideal.

Pursuing “prey”

Many cat trees have dangling toys as part of the design. Toys can tempt your cat to use the tree, which provides additional enjoyment. Young kittens and eager cats will chase the toys around the tree, whereas lazier cats may bat at a toy while relaxing. Because the toys will be damaged, ensure they are easy to replace.


The majority of cat trees are self-contained and may be planted anywhere. Make use of an empty spot, arrange them at the front of a sunny window for the best view, or put them to provide your cat immediate access to the peak of a bookcase or other surface.

How to Pick the Best Cat Tree

You select a cat tree mostly for your cat’s benefit, but you must also live with it. Choose a practical design and complement your décor to make it easier on yourself and your eyes. Please remember the following: Is it simple to keep clean? Is it easy to wipe off or spot clean, and what material is it composed of? Are there any parts that can be replaced? To prolong the length of your cat tree, can you immediately replace any clawing surfaces, non-slip coatings, suspended toys, or individual sections that become worn? Is it simple to move around? Do you like a large cat tree that will stay put or a smaller one that you can move around easily? What kind of look do you want to achieve? Some cat trees can go well with your existing decor, while others will stick out as a discussion starter. Which of these would you like to have in your home? According to Daily Paws, take into account your cat’s age and abilities. Have you got a kitten or an older cat? A simple tree may be more appropriate for your elderly cat that spends more time reclining. A kitten with a higher level of interest may require a more extensive setup, possibly even many trees around the house. Examine your surroundings. Cat trees can be simple or complex. If you have enough space, a larger tree will be beneficial to your pet. Kittens develop habits early in life and grow into bigger cats that seek out more. Consider your cat’s preferences. Did you realize that your kitty is drawn to certain items, such as rope or cardboard? Is your dog or cat more likely to claw or climb? Pick a good cat tree that is tailored to their individual requirements. Carpet, fabric, cardboard, and rope are some of the materials used to make cat trees. A variety of surfaces will pique their interest. Not every cat enjoys the same things. First and foremost, put your safety first. Ensure your cat tree is sturdy and not easily knocked down. When cats are having fun, the intensity of climbing, jumping, and clawing may cause the inappropriate cat tree to shake.

Use a Cat Tree to Teach Your Cat

According to Bechewy, you should motivate your cat to fall in love with the tree. Buy little catnip and sprinkle it on if your cat seems hesitant at first. Cats can’t get enough of catnip, and their urge to be around it will help them relax enough to investigate their new cat tree. To help them feel at ease in their new surroundings, shower them with love and admiration. Redirect their attention away from you. Pick them up and place them near the tree when they begin clawing other furnishings. Do not force them to stay there. Again, lavish praise and affection on the cat tree so that it becomes associated with happy relationships. Your cat will eventually drift towards the cat tree and off your furnishings, though it may take a little time. Change things up a bit. Your cat’s interest in the cat tree will wane with time. Consider relocating the tree to a separate room or relocating it to a different side. You may even get several cat trees to put in different places of your home for your pet.

Where Is the Best Place to Put a Cat Tree?

The placement of your cat tree could mean the difference between a contented cat and one with a behavioral issue. “Cats can see their surroundings from a safe distance while they are up high. They can look for prey while remaining out of sight of predators when they’re up high, “Novak explains. “A high perch allows your cat to go escape from whatever is bothering them. This is especially crucial if your cat interacts with other pets or you have children who do not understand when to give your cat some space. While enjoying some little extra room to herself out of sight and reach from fellow furry friends is one of the main reasons to create a cat tree, users would like to put it in the perfect place such that your cat is attracted to it. And where do cats prefer to hang out? Preferably, your cat tree should be next or near to a window. This allows your cat to watch ‘kitty tv, referring to your cat’s inherent joy of seeing all those birds and hairy prey out through the window.

The Best Cat Tree Designs

Cat trees come in various sizes and shapes, ranging from little apartment trees to space playgrounds. They can be cat trees, which look like genuine trees, or cat shelves, which give cats a spot to climb and rest on the wall. But just how big is too huge? “As big as you can get away with,” Novak says. “Your cat is deserving of the best.” According to Wayfair, when you have more cats, your cat tree should expand to accommodate them. Depending on the number of cats you have, size and design are vital. For each cat in the house, you’ll need observation perches, sleeping spaces, and scratching regions in your cat tree design. Make sure your cat tree is firmly fastened and safe for your cat to climb, regardless of its size or whether it’s standalone or wall-mounted. For stability, standalone cat trees must have a sturdy base and perhaps be attached to the floor. Wall anchoring and stud hammering should be used to install cat shelves. Cat trees firmly attached to the floor and ceiling should be avoided. Invest in reliability if you’re going to go this path.”

The Best Cat Tree Materials

You may make your cat tree out of various materials, including actual tree limbs, dimension wood from the home improvement store, or even cardboard. The most crucial factors to consider are reliability and the use of non-harmful materials for your cat. For instance, if you want to decorate or paint dimensional wood, make sure to use environmentally safe coatings since your cat will damage it and possibly consume the flakes. While tension lumber is useful for outdoor construction, its weather- and pest-resistance properties aren’t required indoors, so you can skip wood that has been handled with those preservatives. Ensure that the ground of the shelves is not slippery if you set up cat shelves rather than a conventional cat tree. A carpet remnant helps make a safe and cozy cover for areas like this. Whatever materials your homemade cat tree is made of, there will undoubtedly be scratching surfaces on the list. It’s even best when there are various kinds of clawing surfaces. Clawing is possible with sisal, fabric, and corrugated cardboard.

Ideas for a Simple DIY Cat Tree

Of course, you don’t need power tools, lumber, or assembly to make a homemade cat tree. Using easy DIY cat tree designs, you will have a lot of fun and be creative! Create openings for your cat to walk from shelf to shelf, add sisal for clawing, and bedding for naps, or provide climbing opportunities for your kitty by mounting shelves on the wall at various places and elevations. Cat shelves shouldn’t have to be fancy; a refurbished IKEA shelf or a sheet of plywood fastened to cheap shelf brackets would suffice. You may, however, keep things even simple and do it for free! Put all of those Amazon boxes in your recycling bin to good use. It can sometimes be difficult to choose a new cat tree with many alternatives, but nobody really knows your cat more than you. Take some time to study your cat and record where she loves to relax, scratch, and climb, then use this information to help you make a judgment.

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