Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: May 2, 2023 by Crystal Uys

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.

Written 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…

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