cat trees

our kitties don’t have a cat tree, but i’d kind of like to get them one. i like the fancy lotus model, which is totally spendy and probably ridiculous, but it’s so much purtier than the average cat tree. i’m still shopping around, but that one tempts me.

here’s a question for those of you who have a cat tree: where do you put it? does it “need” to go in front of a window? if we don’t have a great window spot, is a tree still better than no tree?

also, do any of you have sad stories where you bought your cat a big ol’ tree and then they didn’t even like it? heh.



  1. I have a pretty standard tall cat tree (about 4.5″ tall) with two platforms (both have lips that go around the platform), two scratching posts, and a round tube like thing that the cats can go into and on top of. It is the best piece of furniture I’ve ever gotten, hands down! I had two cats at the time (2000) and they immediately loved it. I have always felt that the most important thing about placing it is against a wall, preferably in a corner, because it gives the tree more stability. This might not be totally necessary, but it also keeps it mostly out of the way of human foot traffic, so it has worked out.
    It has rarely been directly against a window, but it has almost always been close enough to a window that tempest can be using the kitty tv while on the cat tree. The very first apartment I had it in was the one time I can remember where this wasn’t true, and they still loved it. So my judgement there would be that no, the cat tree doesn’t need to be anywhere near a window for them to totally love it!
    A couple years ago I had a year where I was, somehow, cat sitting/fostering for friends who were going on multi-month long business trips, so tempest and I had cat visitors living with us for about 10 of the 12 months, and every cat, without fail, adored the cat tree. Even the little three legged cat would beg to be put on top – she could wiggle down on her own, but couldn’t climb up on her own. The rest of it she could manage, but naturally she wanted to be up high!
    Anyway, as you can tell, I’m a huge fan of cat trees for our feline friends! And even though I spent “only” about $100 at petsmart (in other words, not the top of the line!), it has lasted going on 8 years now, and shows little sign of wear, as long as you don’t count the permanent coating of cat hair! πŸ˜€
    And it has moved, a lot, so it has put up with some fairly rough handling along the way!
    Get one! You will be really happy to see how happy they are to have a tree to climb/play/sleep/beg-for-treats on!

  2. To reduce our impact on the environment, we try improvise to things like this instead of buying stuff. Right now our two cat housemates’ favorite toys are a piece of red ribbon tied to a rainbow shoelace, a piece of red acrylic yarn tied to a spent roll of packing tape, and a cardboard box full of packing paper that their last shipment of vegan cat food arrived in. We even have something approaching this cat tree – by arranging our furniture just so, we made it possible for them to get up on top of our book shelves and into other weird high-up places cats like. Highly recommended – in addition to being earth-friendly, this kind of improvisation is a lot cheaper, too…

  3. Great idea; I’m a big cat tree fan. Here’s my totally biased suggestions:
    – You want the structure to be stable. If it’s not, the cats may be less inclined to use it – both for climbing and for scratching. So look for a wide heavy base. As Deb said, you can also anchor the tree externally. I think it does help to have the tree near a wall or relatively immovable structure. Some floor-to-ceiling models have an extendable arm that abuts aginst the ceiling, which adds some stability.
    – I like nice wide perches so the cats can stetch out and sprawl. An alternative to a wide perch is one that has some sort of shallow wall, which makes the kitties feel snug, but is not so high that it blocks their view.
    – I think locating the tree near a window is ideal. There’s nothing like getting up high in your perch, watching the birds and squirrels and other happenings outside, and falling into a nice comfortable nap. But regardless of where it’s located, a cat tree provides cats with great opportunities to climb, perch, snooze, play, and scratch.
    – It’s nice to get a tree that has rough, tall scratching posts embedded in the design. Though of course there are other ways to provide this amenity.
    I agree that you can improvise; there are all kinds of creative ways to make platforms and climbing apperatuses. You can also build a cat tree yourself with the raw materials – if you have the tools and space and are handy with wood. Though a well-constructed cat tree that you buy should last many years. Any way you do it, a cat tree can provide cats with an abundance of comfort, fun, and satisfaction. Mike loves his 3-tier cat tree, He’s on the top level, snoozing away right now.

  4. i have one like this. it’s really not that tall.

    though i think it is much sturdier than the reviewer suggests. in fact, i have had it since 2002 with no problems except for a lot of carpet worn down in one area where they scratch alot. but it is ok, because i have another scratching post right next to it and they use that too (plus 2 more posts around the house).
    the condo has been leaned up against the wall, mostly to keep them off to the side rather than it not being sturdy. diego is a huge rough-houser, and it has survived him well enough. now it is under the window so that they can use it to get in the window or sleep on the top with a little bit of sunshine. but even without the window, they LOVE sleeping on the top of it and fight over who gets dibs sometimes. finn regularly pulls rank and kicks diego off. but i know that if i bought another one so each cat would have one, that it wouldn’t matter. they’d still fight over what the other one has. brothers!
    i don’t recommend the kind with only the tubes like the middle rungs, my boys aren’t huge cats but even that is too cramped for them. they like to stretch out. when they were kittens though, they did sleep in the middle tube. now it just houses extra toys. and they never sleep on the bottom rung, too close to the ground i guess.
    good luck!

  5. thanks so much for all of the feedback and ideas, everyone! i really appreciate all of the details–i tend to research (and sometimes overthink) things to death, so this is totally helpful. and gary, i love that your kitty’s name is mike. πŸ™‚
    feel free to keep adding ideas if you haven’t chimed in yet–we haven’t made any decisions and are still in the “kickin’ it around” phase.

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