do cats need cat trees

The Verdict. Ultimately, no, your cat doesn’t need a cat tree to live their best life. What they do require, however, are opportunities to act on their feline instincts, such as scratching, climbing, and hiding. And a cat tree gives them a safe space to do just that.

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.

Cat Trees With Scratchers

Most cat trees have scratching posts. Some have as many as 10! Scratching posts often serve as support pillars between the perches, like in the Frisco 48-in Heavy Duty Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo, and sometimes, they double as boards or ramps too. Sisal fabric is the most common, premium and durable material for a scratcher, but some scratchers can be found in other coverings like seagrass, jute rope or carpet.

Ideal for: The majority of cats, as scratchers satiate their innate need to shed old claw material, delineate their territory, and extend




Is your cat looking for a room of their own? A cat condo (sometimes called a cat apartment) is a domed or roofed structure that’s essentially a little enclosed dwelling for your cat. They may have multiple openings or provide a way for the cat to move between levels of their tree. Some cat trees with condos have spacious arched entrances, like the Frisco 61-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo, while others are simply a hole for the cat to squeeze into. Occasionally, there are removable beds inside the condo that can be machine-washed.

Ideal for: Cats who prefer to hide in small spaces and curl up




What’s Your Cat’s Style?

There are many different kinds of cat trees to take into account. Some are very tall, while others are lower to the ground. Some have condos, or tiny compartments, that let cats hide. Some also have toys built in. First, ask yourself the following questions to help you focus and avoid becoming overwhelmed:

  • All roommates, including our pets, fight. How many cats do you have? When animals fight, they might guard or block a cat tree opening, trapping the cat inside. Therefore, Bloom advises making sure the condos on your cat tree have both an entrance and an exit if you have a number of cats or a mix of cats and dogs. Cats will thus have several options for entering and exiting.
  • Is your cat a scratcher? The majority of cats love to scratch, but there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. Some cats prefer their scratcher to be vertical, while others prefer it to be horizontal. Bloom advises trying out a standard cat scratcher first, like the Frisco 21-in Sisal Cat Scratching Post with Toy, before making an investment in a cat tree. Place it on the ground at your cat’s belly level at an angle that requires them to stand on their hind legs in order to scratch it. See how your cat interacts with it. Most cats have preferences, and if your cat tree aligns with their ideal scratching angle, you’ll get the best results.
  • Is your cat a fan of heights? Many cats have an innate desire to perch high, but no two cats are exactly alike. Thus, take into account your cat’s innate tendency to climb shelves and furniture. A small cat tree that is low to the ground might be more enjoyable for a cat who likes to hide under the bed, while a tall cat tree would be ideal for a cat who is constantly perched on the highest surface in the room.
  • How active is your cat? According to Bloom, “health, age, and athleticism are the three major factors to consider when making a smart purchase for your cat.” Put simply, older cats are less likely than kittens and younger adults to jump around. A younger cat may find a taller cat tree exciting, but an older cat may find it intimidating because of the greater space between the levels. It might be time to replace your older cat’s beloved cat tree with one that fits their lifestyle better, such as a shorter model or one with more ramps or ladders, if they suddenly show no interest in it.
  • How active is your cat? While some cats genuinely enjoy spending time with their owners, a cat that enjoys playing on its own will benefit greatly from a cat tree with toys atop it. To make a cat tree the perfect place for your cat to play, you can even attach your own toys to it.
  • How social is your cat? If your cat likes to curl up in corners, not only in times of fear but also as a comfort measure, find a cat tree with condos to give them a small hiding place.

However, regardless of the kind of cat tree you select, there are a few additional things to consider. First, provide your cat with a surface that they can grip with their claws, such as carpet, sisal, faux fur, or faux fleece. Your cat may slip and fall if the material on your cat tree isn’t traction-friendly. If they land safely, they may not feel comfortable on the tree and may not use it again.

Since some cat trees require a significant financial commitment, you want to be sure your selection will last. Seek for a solid wood frame, which is the most expensive and resilient material because it is stronger, heavier, and has a longer lifespan. Instead of the cat tree frame itself, other materials include engineered wood and occasionally cardboard, which is typically found in scratching posts.

Of course, when choosing a choice, take your home’s size restrictions into account. If the cat tree is too large to fit through the front door, your cat will not benefit from it. Instead, place the tree close to a window where your cat can perch and observe the outside world.

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Are cats happier with a cat tree?

Cats like climbing, swatting at things, and napping in high spots. A cat tree provides all of that. It increases their “territory” and makes them happier overall with more space. Trees also provide enrichment and help cats not feel bored.

Should kittens have cat trees?

Large Cat Trees To avoid painful falls, wait until a kitten is at least 4 months old before introducing them to your tallest jungle gym. In the meantime, encourage scratching behaviors by providing scratching posts and pads, and give kittens smaller objects to climb such as kitten-sized trees.

Do cats need separate cat trees?

Can cats share a tree? Cats who live together can definitely share a climbing tree, but it’s a good idea to provide them with enough space to be separate while still using the tree.

Why does my cat need a cat tree?

Cats love to be up high where they have a great view of everything going on in the home. Most cat trees have high perches where your cat can curl up, feel safe and get away from that horrible dog! Having the structure near a window also gives them a great nature channel to watch while home alone.