What Makes a Great Cat Tree?

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
No kitty household is complete without a cat tree. This isn’t just a toy – a great cat tree offers you cat a place to perch, a place to hide, and a place to play!

Do you ever find yourself looking everywhere for your cat, only to find him staring down at you from the top of the refrigerator or a tall piece of furniture? That’s because most cats like being up high, confidently and calmly surveying their territory from a safe place. And this is why there are so many cat trees on the pet products market. But if you want to avoid your kitty looking at you like you wasted your money on a new cat tree, follow the tips below to be sure you buy the right one.

It Starts with a Sturdy Foundation

A flimsy cat tree isn’t going to cut it when your cat is jumping onto it and climbing up it, or even just lounging on it. So one of the first things you want to examine is how sturdy the foundation of a tree is before spending your money on it.

Related: Hagen Vesper V-Tower Cat Furniture

Check that the base will be strong and large enough to prevent the tree from wobbling or tipping over, and take your cat’s weight into consideration, too. If you have multiple cats, the tree should be able to hold their combined weight. Otherwise, your kitty could get hurt if the tree is unstable.

Easy tip to remember: the taller a cat tree is, the wider its base should be.

Spacious Perches, Secure Cubbies, and Fun Accessories, Oh My!

A great cat tree will have a variety of perches and cubbies where your kitty can hang out and take a nap. Some will even have toys that hang from the perches so your cat can play while enjoying the height and comfort of the tree. And any scratching posts that are incorporated into the design of a tree are also a big plus.

Check that the perches will be large enough to support your cat, and that any cubbies are also big enough for your pet to fit comfortably. Curved perches or those that have edges like a cat bed, rather than flat ones, are recommended because they provide a more secure area for your cat, who can rest his back against the side to feel even safer.

Perches and cubbies set at different heights along the cat tree will also entice your kitty to spend time on the tree, and the variety will help keep things interesting.

In the End, It’s All About Quality

A few other things to keep in mind as you shop for the ideal cat tree:

  • If you have more than one cat, consider investing in a large tree that has a minimum of one platform for each kitty, along with one sleeping area and one scratching post for each furbaby.
  • Experts also recommend cat trees that are made of high quality, durable materials like solid wood and carpeting that haven’t been treated with chemicals. The materials should be safe, and they should be able to withstand your cat’s claws.
  • When it comes to the scratching posts on your cat tree, opt for natural, thick sisal rope rather than oiled rope, which is considered toxic.
  • Experts also recommend sticking with carpeting that has been stapled to the cat tree, rather than glued, as the glue might be toxic to your pets. And rather than nails, screws would provide a better way to secure the cat tree together.

Be prepared to spend more money for a well-built cat tree. The investment will be worth it, though, as a higher quality product will be safer for your pet and also last longer. But if you’re really handy, you can even build your own cat tree to be absolutely sure it meets all of your kitty’s needs.

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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