do cats need a cat tree

While experts say it’s possible to create an environment that will provide all of a cat’s needs without buying a cat tree, they are a convenient way to check a lot of boxes with a single product. “Cat trees provide a scratching surface to help with nail care.

Why Do Cats Like Cat Trees?

What’s the appeal of a cat tree to a cat?

For one thing, they tap into a cat’s innate desire for height. Dr. Megan Conrad, a veterinarian working with telehealth pet service Hello Ralphie, explains: “While humans live in a horizontal world, a cat’s environment also includes vertical space. Since cats have a history of being both a predator and a prey animal, being high up is an advantage for them.”

Naturally, cats look for high spots from which to monitor potential threats, and a cat tree can offer a secure haven from ground-level annoyances such as dogs, toddlers, and vacuum cleaners. Put simply, one aspect of the allure of a cat tree is its inherent safety.

Beyond their vertical appeal, cat trees are designed to meet several other feline needs. “The vertical post on a cat tree mimics a tree trunk to encourage scratching, while elevated podiums and shelters serve as opportunities to hide and rest,” says Dr. Jessica Taylor, Vice President of Veterinary Medicine at Petfolk. With tiered levels for leaping and a variety of textures for scratching, trees are also great for encouraging exercise, Dr. Taylor tells Rover.

Last but not least, cat trees provide mental stimulation, whether through puzzle boxes, dangling toys, or just a well-chosen spot, as Dr. Conrad recommends. With a cat tree positioned in front of a window, your cat can get the mental exercise of being outside without running the risk of getting hurt. ”.

do cats need a cat tree

There is research to support these advantages, so they are not merely theoretical. “A research facility’s cats’ anti-social behavior was found to be decreased when shelving units were added to their living area,” Dr. Conrad explains.

This is not surprising when you think about all the ways a tree can improve your cat’s environment. According to Dr., “safe spaces and appropriate play encourage cats to be less aggressive toward each other and their humans.” Taylor.

So, cat trees are beneficial. Smart, even. But are they essential? Not exactly.

“If your cat has other places to climb and scratch, a cat tree isn’t a crucial need for keeping them happy,” Dr. Conrad informs us. Cats don’t necessarily need a cat tree to thrive. What they do need is regular physical and mental stimulation. And one quick and practical way to satisfy those needs is with a cat tree.

Dr. Melody R. Conklin, who is originally from Youngsville in northwest Pennsylvania, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal bioscience with a minor in wildlife and fisheries science from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park in 2003. The University of Pennsylvania was her next stop, where she graduated with a VMD in 2007. Dr. Conklin completed her MBA at Penn State Great Valley in 2017 while working in companion animal general practice until 2015. At that time, she joined Zoetis’ Veterinary Medical Information and Product Support department. Dr. Conklin is currently employed full-time as a veterinarian in a companion animal practice and serves as a consultant for Zoetis US Petcare Medical Affairs. She resides in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, together with Vegeta, Fluffzor, Poof, and.

Types of Cat Trees—and How They Work

There are many different types of cat trees available, including free-standing, wall-mounted, tiny, towering, carpeted, wooden, and more. And some are better than others.

The finest construction is the most crucial component of any cat tree. Sturdiness is a must. “Seek out a structure that can be fastened or anchored if it is higher than a few feet to avoid it toppling over,” Dr. Taylor advises.

The next step is to think about your specific cat, since there’s no use in getting a cat tree your cat doesn’t like. Dr. Conrad says observing your cat’s behavior will help you determine what kind of tree to get: “What do they like to scratch? Are they more likely to be excited about something if it’s a horizontal or vertical surface? Do they have a preferred texture? ”.

To give your cat some vertical space and determine whether they are interested before investing in a more expensive or intricate model, a basic carpeted cat tree is a good place to start if you are unsure. For instance, the Amazon Basics cat tree has multiple levels for perching and seven pillars for scratching, so you can see what features your cat is drawn to at a fair price.

If you have multiple kitties to entertain, consider a tree with all the bells and whistles. We like this Go Pet Club Tree that offers a little bit of everything. The varied tiers and covered condos make it a good choice for multi-cat households (provided you have the space). Playful cats and energetic kittens can entertain themselves with the included puzzle box, dangling toys, scratching posts, and swinging hammock.

Of course, not everyone has room for such a colossal piece of furniture. If you’re short on space, try wall-mounted cat trees, like this playground from CatastophiCreations, which offers a unique way to save on valuable floor space. It’s great for climbers and jumpers—but not so much for sprawlers or heavy scratchers.

See “The Best Cat Trees and Furniture To Entertain Cats of All Kinds” for additional information on choosing a cat tree. ”.


Is it OK to not have a cat tree?

And a cat tree gives them a safe space to do just that. But if you find the cost or size of cat trees prohibitive, there are alternative options for kitty enrichment. “Buying a cat tree isn’t essential, and you can add things to your home that serve the same need,” Dr.

Are cat trees important for cats?

Our domestic house cats still have many of their wild cat needs and instincts. Believe it or not, a simple cat tree can give them appropriate ways to meet a number of those needs. In fact, cat trees can even help with unwanted behaviors like scratching furniture and inter-cat aggression.

Is cat tree worth it?

“Cat trees are great because they allow your cat to climb and observe what’s going on in their environment, it provides them with a safe place that’s entirely theirs, and it’s a scratching surface as well,” says cat-behavior consultant Dr. Mikel Delgado.