Gaijin in her heated third-floor condo, Phoenix on the second floor and Crosby waiting to pester the first cat that comes down. Photo by Daniela Caride.

 Guest post by Daniela Caride

Do you share your home with a kitty as nasty as Fluffy the Destroyer, who sinks his claws in every piece of furniture? Do you want to provide your beloved cat with the pleasures of a penthouse? I highly recommend you get a cat tree, then.

But beware. Not any cat tree will impress your kitty, and I’m sure you want to make the right choice at the store — these products are expensive and big, therefore difficult to carry.

The taller the better

A cat tree should be as tall as possible. Cats love heights. My gray tabby Gaijin, for example, loves to spend her days monitoring the house activities from our 5-foot tall cat trees. Our four felines love their the three Whisker City cat trees more than anything else. (See picture)

Cats feel more protected when they’re up high, and cat trees help them clarify ranking status among other kitties in the household (the cat on higher areas rules – more on the subject here). And many cats enjoy looking down on everybody else. 🙂

Round and curved instead of flat surfaces

Make sure you choose a cat tree with beds or curved platforms instead of flat surfaces as levels. Cats feel like relaxing and sleeping only in places they feel secure. Flat platforms pose a risk of them falling down if they fall asleep, so many cats will avoid lounging on them.

Sisal rope versus carpet

Cat trees come in various sizes and shapes, and covered with many materials. The most common ones are carpet, faux fur and sisal ropes. Cat trees wrapped with sisal ropes are a hit here at home. Cats love scratching sisal and stretching on it.

If you want to preserve your carpet and rugs, I don’t recommend cat trees wrapped with carpet. You may send your cat a message that it’s OK to scratch your rugs.

Stability is a must

Make sure the cat tree you choose is stable. Cats hate to land on wobbly objects. If the new cat tree is not steady enough, they will visit it only once. So I urge you to go to a store instead of buying cat trees online – unless you already tested the brand somewhere in person.

To check the stability of a cat tree in a store, try to simulate a cat jumping from one level to the other by pulling down on top of the tree, scratching and shaking it. People may think you’re crazy, but it’s better to test it before bringing it home and then having to return this enormous, heavy product.  To be on the safe side, you can try attacking the cat tree only when there’s nobody in your aisle.

Follow these simple steps and, if nobody calls the police before you get to check out, your cats will be very pleased with their new present!

Daniela Caride is the publisher of The Daily Tail (, a participatory blog about pets with stories, tips, and reviews. She lives with three cats, Crosby, Gaijin and Phoenix, three dogs, Frieda, Geppetto and Lola, and her husband, Martin, in Cambridge, MA.



Amber has purrsonally selected some cat trees for The Conscious Cat Store – she wouldn’t mind seeing some of them in her own house…

16 Comments on The Best Cat Tree for Your Kitty

  1. I’m glad you like the article, Marisa and Marge. I think the key to building your own would be that you’d have to at least know your way around tools – not something that is the case in this household, which is why Amber picked her favorites for the Conscious Cat Store.

    Layla, I love the idea of a cat tree for elderly cats with a ramp! Why hasn’t anybody thought of that before!

  2. These are wonderful for agile cats but has anyone designed a cat tree for elderly cats, perhaps with ramp? What comes to mind is a gentle circular ramp like the design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. My cats like their window sill bed but need a chair to hop up, and they use a foot stool to jump into bed.

    • Layla,
      I adopted a 7yr old kitty from our local shelter and the first thing the vet said when I took her for her first check-up was “who butchered her feet? That is the worst declaw I have ever seen.” Sadly it was done on all four feet. I would love to find a kitty tree with ramps. She is very fearful of jumping and then not being able to grab on and then falling over backwards. She also uses an ottoman to jump up and down from my bed and learned that pretty quickly. She loves being up high, even if it’s just me holding her on my shoulder and walking around my apartment. She is just a love and I plan to spoil her as much as possible. If you ever see such a tree or if someone reads this and decides to build one (there has to be a need,I’m sure of it) please feel free to contact me. Thanks!

      • I’ve seen the occasional cat tree with ramps, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule, Michele. You may have to improvise and either add your own ramp to an existing cat tree, or add steps or something else that allows your kitty to get up high without having to jump. If I come across anything, I’ll let you know!

  3. That is such a great article about the cat tree. Those are a little expensive for us but we do get to go outside and climb the real trees. And I did see that link to a place to build a cat tree. That sounds like a great idea and we might give it a try. This is really good information. Hope you have a great day.

  4. Great post! Cat trees and cats go hand-in-hand 🙂 I have yet to meet a cat who doesn’t like a cat tree. I have two of them, a tall one and a short one, both by windows. My cats love them for all the reasons mentioned above in the article. I bought mine but for someone who is handy and has the right tools, making your own cat tree will save money and can even be made of recycled materials.

  5. Tammy, thanks for your comment. I’ve seen cat trees in several different shapes and sizes. I would recommend you stop by Petsmart if you are interested in getting one. They carry a great brand WhiskersCity.

  6. Hi Mason, thanks! We have several cat trees at home, and we place them near the windows. The cats love to lounge there and birdwatch. They also use them as scratching posts.

  7. Thanks for the suggestions, we are going to make one after we move to our nice new house. They are just too expensive to buy, but I think a nice tall cat tree is doable!

  8. Mason, you’ll have to let me know how Gumdrop and Little One like their cat tree if you decide to get one.

    Tammy, some of the cat trees out there are fairly compact – not all of them take up a lot of space.

  9. We had to leave our cat tree behind when we moved to Oregon. (Hopefully some lucky kitty got it as we donated it!) It wouldn’t fit on the truck, and it certainly wouldn’t have fit in our new, smaller apartment!

    I know our boys miss it, and we’ll get them another one as soon as we have more space. For now, they have to make do with other, smaller scratchers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *