A happy cat is an active cat, no question, and what better activity than a sophisticated cat tower or kitty condo to keep your pet occupied and your home furnishings (and human skin) safe?
A cat climber or cat castle, as they’re also sometimes called, may be the one thing that stands between you, your cat and sanity. If you’ve ever come home to destroyed curtains and emptied cushions, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
You may love your pet, but that boundless energy can drive you crazy if you don’t channel it properly: enter the cat jungle gym, yet another name for that construction your cat can’t wait to try out.What are the advantages of getting a cat gym?
✓ Indoor cats need exercise, adventure or sensory excitement
✓ Indoor cats need to play and be challenged if they are to stay emotionally and physically healthy
✓ A good indoor cat tree can have several levels so if you have more than one cat, each one can have its own little “home” without fear of attack – it’s very easy to defend one little box on a pole!
✓ This will save your furniture from certain destruction
✓ It’s super entertaining, not just for the cats but for their owners
What could happen if you decide a cat playground isn’t for you?
✕ Goodbye furniture and curtains…
✕ Cats might start showing emotional problems if you don’t keep them amused and active
✕ You may feel guilty at not providing the best for your cats
✕ You’ll miss out on the fun and laughter of their hijinks – just think of the silly YouTube videos you’ll be missing out on!
Cat Tree Comparison Chart
|K & H Manufacturing Hangin' Cat Condo||Small: 16" x 16" x 65"|
Large: 23" x 16" x 65"
|Vertical compartments with peepholes. Door-mounted, waterproof material.||Tan, Black||Minor|
Friends Five Tier Condo Bed and Cradle
Base: 24" x 36"
|Solid pine poles. Sisal scratching post. Real carpet. 2 large beds. 1 large cradle. 1 condo. 1 carpeted tunnel.||Beige||None|
|Carpet Cat Tower for Large Cats||Height: 52"|
Base: 20" x 26"
|Solid wood poles. Carpeted cat tower with 3 large cat beds. Sisal scratching post.||Gray, Beige, Brown, Blue, Green||Moderate|
|New Cat Condo Premier Large Cat Play Tree||Height: 51"|
Base: 20" x 20"
|1 large and 1 smaller cat open bed/perch. 2 ladder branches. Main trunk scratching post.||Beige||Moderate|
|FontPet Apex Cat Tree Tower||Height: 68"|
Base: 23" x 23"
|4 large removable carpeted cat steps/sleeping areas.||Unstained natural wood finish||Moderate|
|CatastrophiCreations Sky Track Hammock||11" x 54" x 54" - size variable||4' Sisal scratching and climbing pole, 1 large and 3 smaller hammocks. Escape hatch.||Onyx/Charcoal, Unfinished/Natural, English Chestnut/Natural, Navy, Black, Lavender, Charcoal Grey||Extensive|
|Refined Feline Lotus Branch Cat Shelf||Length: 61"|
|Solid wood shelf.||Espresso, Mahogany||Moderate|
|CatastrophiCreations Fabric Cat Maze||Height: 31"|
|3 large canvas hammocks. Escape hatch shelf. Brackets and screws.||English Chestnut/Natural, Onyx/Charcoal||Extensive|
|Cat Hammock Ferret Hammock||21" x 15"||2-sided hammock with 4 fixing clips.||Leopard, Lynx and Tiger patterns. Reverse in white fleece.||None|
|Danish Design Pet Products Kumfy Kradle Radiator Cat Bed||Pick either double or single radiator thickness.||Fleece hammock on metal frame for radiator top.||Black, Beige, Brown Leopard spots.||Minor|
|Armarkat B5301 53-Inch Cat Tree||Height: 53"|
|1 condo and 2 platform perches, ladder, instructions and tools for assembly.||Ivory||Moderate|
|Carb-Certified Merax Cat Tree Condo Super Large||Height: 72”|
|Several sisal scratching posts, 2 hammocks, a condo, a shelf, tunnel and ladder.||Beige||Moderate|
|The Refined Feline Lotus Cat Tower||Height: 69"|
Base: 20" x 20"
|3 platforms with detachable carpet, enclosed box, side scratch pad.||Espresso, Mahogany||Moderate|
|Feline Furniture Stairway to Cat Heaven Condo||Varies according to design||5 hammocks, enclosed box, carpeted cross-beams and legs.||Gray||Moderate|
The Small Cat Tree
There are many reasons you might want a small cat tower: you have little space at home, you move a lot and need something portable, you’re not sure your cat will use it and you don’t want to spend a fortune finding out, you want a special scratching zone to keep your cat(s) away from your furniture, or perhaps you have an older cat who doesn’t need a full-sized cat condo tower.
You’ll find plenty of smaller furnishings on the market, ranging from a corner cat tree to a kitten scratching post and everything in-between.
Here’s our best recommendation:
K & H Manufacturing Hangin’ Cat Condo ReviewHere’s the perfect little portable narrow cat tree for those difficult spaces into which nothing else fits. Cats seem to enjoy it as they appear and disappear from view.
The K & H Hangin’ Cat Condo comes in two different sizes and you can just stick it behind a door (as long as it’s a door you don’t use!)
Just beware the sloping roof – cats cannot rest on top of it.
✓ No tools needed and ready to use
✓ Doesn’t take up much room
✕ Not machine washable
✕ Can’t be used on a door that opens onto a wall because it will obstruct the opening (I don’t get this) or on a weak door
✕ Not suitable for a designer minimalist pad
✕ Not as many play options as some of the larger trees.
The Best Cat Trees for Large Cats
Some cats are large – seriously large. A solid Maine Coon, for example, can weigh up to 18lbs. Or your cat may be on a diet – or at least contemplating one. With this kind of pet, only a tall cat tree – perhaps even a floor to ceiling cat tree – will do the trick.
A large cat isn’t easy to accommodate, especially if your living quarters are in any way compact, so you’ll have to take special precautions, which include:
- making sure there is space for your cat to move around the furniture
- putting away all breakables
- ensuring you have a large cat tree (if you treasure your curtains or your sofa in any way)
- getting cat furniture that is solid and stable enough to accommodate your pet
A good alternative to a huge cat tree could be a large cat scratching post: these take up less room in your home but still give your cat the comfort of sharper claws without the danger of shredding everything you own. But without perches and shelves, it’s not the Full Monte.
The best cat tree for large cats: our recommendations
Molly and Friends Five Tier Condo Bed and Cradle ReviewThis sturdy, durable tall cat tower is a maze of fun and activity for your cat, with several levels and large perches steady enough to carry even your largest pets. Your cats will have no end of fun on this contraption!
Make no mistake about it though, this is one large cat tower. It comes already assembled but you’ll probably need help in getting it into place. But once it is, you may have a hard time enticing your cat away.
✓ Sturdy, strong, stable
✓ Durable carpet
✓ Made in the USA
✓ No DYI!
✓ Multiple levels for multiple cats
✓ Delivery, collection and exchange
✕ Expensive – but you get what you paid for
✕ You’ll need some help getting it into place
✕ Traditional appearance isn’t suitable for all decors
Cozy Cat Furniture Carpet Cat Tower for Large Cats ReviewIf you have large cats but not a lot of space, the Cozy Cat sounds ideal. It is taller than it is wide so it doesn’t take up as much space as the bigger multiple-tiered cat activity center that is so popular.
This big cat tree has three large cat beds that are 15″ in diameter with a six-inch inside lip measurement – in other words, your big cat will fit in just fine. While suitable for large cats, it is 52″ tall, 20″ wide and 26″ long, on a 20″ x 20″ base, so its footprint is quite compact. It also has a sisal scratching post, which adds to your cat’s fun.
✓ Sturdy and strong
✓ Takes up relatively little space
✓ Can accommodate three large cats easily
✓ Comes in a variety of colors
✕ Power screwdriver needed for assembly
✕ Traditional design won’t necessarily suit all decors
A Wooden Cat Tree – For the “Natural” Look
Many owners would rather not have a cat climbing tree made of some kind of synthetic material. On the contrary, nothing is too good for kitty and only the most natural construction will do.
At the very least, they’ll ask for a realistic cat tree of sorts – perhaps a wood cat tower or even a cat tree with leaves.
FrontPet Bubble Cat Tree Tower ReviewWhat stands out about the FrontPet Bubble is its sturdiness, so it’s suitable for heavy cats. It measures 23″ x 18″ x 48″.
Its natural stain (it is made of plywood) can be left as is, if you’d like it to blend with your color scheme. But it’s also ready to paint or stain, if that’s your choice.
The beauty of this particular piece is that you can put it anywhere – it simply doesn’t look like a cat tree!
✓ Removable shelves for cleaning
✓ Ready to paint
✓ Modern and pleasing design
✕ If you don’t like the look of natural plywood you will have to paint or stain it
✕ No upright “scratching post” so less for your cat to do
✕ Only 4′ high so your cats will have to ‘look up’ to their humans
Cat Trees That Look Like Trees
I know people who are absolutely adamant about this: they want a cat tree that looks like a tree.
Yes, there is s such a thing, and yes, some people do insist on having a “real tree” cat tree. Yet the thought that cats might prefer this more “natural” approach isn’t really what the cat is thinking – it’s owner-think. I know my cats like trees – but they won’t be fooled by a make-believe tree.
Also this kind of construction might not suit your interior style, especially if its modern.
That said, with just a small bit of DIY you can turn an ordinary structure into a cat tree house that looks like a tree: just add flower arrangements or garlands or branches.
Another camouflage tactic would be to use hanging vines but make sure your cat – or children – can’t get caught up in them. You’ll be indoors, but you’ll end up with a mini-garden.
If you’re still keen on getting one of these, I did some research for you but was only able to find a very few companies that made these, at a cost of thousands of dollars plus hefty shipping. However, there is one that just might fit the bill.
New Cat Condos Premier Large Cat Play Tree ReviewThis is a stylized “natural tree” style cat condo of solid wood, natural sisal and household grade carpet. It’s a lovely place for a cat to hang out and seems to be quite popular with the feline population.
It is a fun design – the “trunk” of the tree makes a great scratching post – but perhaps more suitable for smaller cat families, since it only has two perches. That said, its narrow design fits easily into a corner or close to a window, so if you don’t have much space this could be a winner.
✓ Design and natural wood
✓ Made in the USA
✓ Compact, good for smaller spaces
✕ Relatively small – you need to buy extras to make a “forest”
✕ DIY tools needed – screws supplied but holes not pre-drilled
✕ No instructions supplied
✕ Complaints about split wood and visible staples
✕ Expert some shredding of the carpet – the cats love it, of course!
The Modern Cat Tree
If you’re surrounded by modern minimalist decor, the last thing you want is a large beige or brown cat treehouse sitting in the middle of your pristinely beautiful home. But your cat needs exercise and mental stimulation so you’ll have to find something, right? The good news is that today, manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware that cat owners want… modern cat furniture!
FrontPet Apex Cat Tree Tower Review
This contemporary cat tree will fit right into your modern surroundings, with its rounded forms and elegant lines. Your cat will love being perched up high on a safe vantage point.
This modern cat tower comes in both stained or unstained wood so you can paint it and match your home’s colors exactly. Because of its size – 23″ x 23″ x 68″ – the Apex can accommodate larger cats and it is one of the best cat trees for multiple cats. Just sit back and enjoy the action! Use it on its own or in conjunction with other cat perches or cat shelves to make a larger cat condo tree.
✓ Carpet squares attach with Velcro so easy to clean
✓ Strong with stable design
✓ Should reduce fluff and carpet scratching – cardboard pieces (this from your notes – I don’t understand)
✕ Easier to assemble with two people
✕ Not as much variety in modules as some more traditional designs
✕ To be complete, consider adding a modern cat scratching post for your cat’s scratching needs
Many cats ignore the bells and whistles of a pet tree or cat climbing tower: instead, they want the tried and true – ideally, a cat window perch.
Your pet will langorously laze on his or her cat perch, admiring the scenery outside (usually, birds and insects that look too delicious to ignore). Because yes, there are lazier cats, those that prefer watching the world go by rather than leaping and chasing after it.
Here are our best recommendations.
CatastrophiCreations Sky Track Hammock & Climbing Activity Center ReviewThis is a statement piece, the Rolls-Royce of modern cat shelves. It’s modular and adaptable and you can twist it into most any shape you want, which means it can fit into difficult spaces, which is great if you don’t have much room. Conversely, you can make it as big as you want – these are ideal cat perches for large cats.
There’s also a story behind this product range: the company donates money to cat shelters and gives registered non-profit shelters a 10% discount!
This cat tree condo is actually FUN, for your cat, of course, but for you as well because it is complex enough to challenge your cat and we know how much fun it is to watch a cat “try to solve it”. Plus, you can put it by a window, the cat equivalent of a TV soap. Its intricacy plays to cat and kitten climbing and acrobatic instincts and if you happen to have several cats at home, using several high perches will help defuse any cat aggression or jealousy and give each pet their own playing space.
The Sky Track is both a learning experience and a physical workout, and cat activity centers don’t get much better than this. Plus, if you live in the UK you can now get free shipping with Amazon Prime UK (and, of course, you could already do that in the U.S.).
✓ Made in the USA
✓ Modular, so you can add to it over time
✓ Takes up little space
✓ Modern, contemporary, creative
✓ Fabric can be easily removed for washing
✕ Some DIY required
✕ Needs to be screwed into wall studs – if you can’t, you’ll need to add drywall and anchors
✕ You and your cats may love this so much you’ll feel compelled to collect all the modules – and spoil them rotten
The Refined Feline Lotus Branch Cat Shelf ReviewThis is utterly simple, yet refined, hence its name. The Refined Feline Lotus Branch is a lovely addition to a room’s decor, and it also offers everything cats consider important: a place to rest, and a lookout from which to examine the world around them.
Imagine the shelf on your windowsill, or anywhere your cat spends time – anywhere BUT on your furniture.
If your cat shelf should ever begin looking less than fresh, you can order replacement cushion covers and sisal kits to keep the perch looking brand new.
✓ Different colors and stains to match your interior decoration
✓ It takes up no space – it’s a shelf
✓ Comes in two lengths
✓ Carpeting is held fast by velcro so it won’t slip
✓ Carpeting can be replaced
✕ Shelves are always easier to put up with two people
✕ Requires a bit of DIY to reinforce the wall before fastening – if you can’t screw it into the studs, you’ll have to compensate with toggle bolt anchors
The Cat Hammock
Now why would you think of getting a cat hammock, also known as a cat cradle? Because these items are often less expensive than their more complex. They can be compact and portable, and cats seem to like the way the hammock creates a pocket around them (I have one of these, and while I do have six cats, it’s never empty – if one cat isn’t in it, then it’s another.)
These are particularly popular with cats in winter, if you happen to hang one over a radiator, which keeps your pet nice and warm.
It can be part of a cat tree tower or perch, or if a cat is being shown and needs to be in cage for a while, a hammock can provide a bit of a distraction to four walls and bars.
Here are our best recommendations.
CatastrophiCreations Fabric Cat Maze ReviewThese people clearly understand cats and provide them with great exercise, both physical and mental. You’ll see why when you sit with your eyes glued to your pets’ antics – better than TV! The design is so much fun and so innovative you’ll probably want to collect the entire range.
Apart from its modern contemporary design, what’s interesting about this particular item is that you can also use it as a type of cat condo for large cats: the hammock can carry 62lb. This item fastens to the wall and mounts easily, especially if you can find wood studs beneath your drywall.
And as always CatastrophiCreations comes through on the ethical side, by donating money to cat shelters and homes.
✓ High quality and made in the USA
✓ Great customer service
✓ Takes up wall space, not floor space
✓ Modern design
✓ Modular – allows you to add extra elements to fit into the allocated cat area
✕ DIY is required to fix it to the wall (so you’ll have to fill the holes in the wall if you’re renting)
Cat Hammock Ferret Hammock ReviewThis particular hammock is great for cats (but given its name, it’s also suitable for “less usual” pets). This particular cat hammock sits best in a metal cage, the kind used for show cats or for transport. Still, if you have a few DIY skills you can hook it up under a bed or a chair with a little adaptation.
This hammock is very “kitty-like” and comes in several prints – Leopard, Lynx and Tiger – and white fleece on the other, reversible for those cold winter days.
This particular item allows you to add a suitable cat tree as long as it has four points for fixing. Better yet, if you have handy skills, you can build a cat play tower right around the hammock.
✓ Sturdy enough for bigger cats
✓ Portable and light
✓ Recent models have stronger metal clips
✕ Requires some DIY
✕ Be cautious when washing in a machine – place in a bag or the metal clips could damage the machine
Danish Design Pet Products Kumfy Kradle Radiator Cat Bed ReviewThis cat cradle is specifically designed to hang over a radiator, for heat-loving cats and very popular in winter.
This cradle is particularly well made, better than many of the other radiator hammock cradles.
A few words about size: the ordering size is for the depth of your radiator, not the size of the fluffy hammock! It comes in two sizes, a single-depth radiator and a double-thickness radiator. Make sure your radiators fit into these depths; otherwise the cat cradle will droop or fit poorly.
✓ Cats love it, especially in winter
✓ Easily washable
✕ If you have more than one cat, you’ll have to buy them separate hammocks
✕ The wildcat fabric might not suit your decor (but you can add a color coordinated throw)
The Best Cheap Cat Trees
The good news is that your cat tree furniture doesn’t have to cost a fortune. On the contrary, you can get a lot for your dollar because cat towers and trees have become increasingly popular – and that drives the cost down.
At the same time you might want your cat trees cheap for a good reason: your cat may be a destroyer or you may have several cats who may completely wear out the best cat play structures. No matter, your cat won’t care how much or how little you spend!
Armarkat B 5301 ReviewThis proper-looking treehouse for cats comes in plenty of different layouts for your cats – and in plenty of sizes. The smaller ones are, of course, less expensive but if you have larger cats, then you’ll want the more robust models.
Armarkat has a range of affordable cat trees and – good news – you can get replacement parts from the company. Also, this item is available in white so it’ll blend into your surroundings more easily.
✓ White and ivory color means it blends in
✓ Easy-to-get replacement parts
✓ Cats seem to like this model
✕ Pale color also means it gets dirty and won’t stay white forever
✕ Return policy isn’t great – expensive item to return if you don’t like it
✕ The dangling cat toys get destroyed quickly
✕ Beware the small parts if you have children
CARB-Certified Merax Cat Tree Condo (Super Large) ReviewThe Merax Cat Tree Condo is certified by CARB, the California Air Resources Board, which works to reduce formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. Healthier for both you and your cat!
What sets this one apart is its size: at 50″ by 26″ and at 72″ high, it’s suitable for larger cats so make sure you order the correct size. Of course there are plenty of other sizes but at least you have a choice. And – it has a built-in sisal scratching post to keep your cats away from “other” scratchable objects. Yes, your furniture.
✓ Big for the money
✓ Comes with instructions and tools for assembly
✓ Beige color won’t show dirt as easily
✕ Make sure this is for you because if you return it, you’ll have to pay postage and tracking
✕ Some DIY might be needed to make sure all is secure and the fabric glued down everywhere
Unique Cat Trees
Sometimes you want something – different, unique, that you haven’t seen at everyone else’s house. There are plenty of cool cat trees out there that will give you something to talk about. Or perhaps you have a very specific style at home and you need a stylish cat tree that will blend right in. If you like products that are different and creative and if you can afford the higher prices, these well-made items will excite both you and your cat.
Refined Feline Lotus Cat Tower ReviewThe Lotus Cat Tower is a designer cat tree for the discerning pet owner.
It comes with real Berber carpeting from North Africa, which is replaceable and fastened with Velcro for easy cleaning. Cushions, too, have washable covers. It includes a sisal cat scratch pole and is the perfect all-in-one play station for your cat. This is a piece that makes a statement!
✓ Beautiful and unique – a centerpiece
✓ Easily to wash and keep clean
✓ Tools for assembly included
✓ Can be used as a ladder
✓ New carpeting and cushions can be ordered if needed
✕ Reports of a faulty series which we hope has now been fixed
✕ The dark brown wood stain – called Espresso for a reason – might not suit your decor
✕ Not as many activities as with a larger, less beautiful cat activity tree
✕ The item is heavy and shipped in a single box
Feline Furniture Stairway to Cat Heaven Condo ReviewIsn’t this just the epitome of cool cat furniture? This fancy cat tree can shrink and grow to whatever size you need, and its modern design is suitable for designer decors.
What I love about this design is that you can change its shape to fit your home – you can use it as a corner cat shelf or simply enjoy it as the perfect stylish cat furniture.
✓ Modular, expandable and adaptable
✓ Unusual and modern
✓ Multi-level so gives cats a choice
✕ DIY required
✕ Some people say buying extra modular packs will make it sturdier
✕ Not as many options for cat activities as a traditional design
Cat Tree Buying Guide
Buying a pet condo isn’t particularly complex, but there are enough choices to make you scratch your head. You’re probably filled with questions so here are a few answers that can help you decide which one is right for you!
Won’t this big brown thing take up all my living space?
Not at all. You can get a cute cat tree that hardly takes up any space, and camouflage it with leaves or a large plant so it looks like part of the decor. You can also get wonderful cat pole or cat window perch that fit snugly almost anywhere and take up no floor space because they hang off things and are nearer the ceiling – a location loved by cats.There are even cat condos you can hang on the back of a door. Or, throw yourself into this wholeheartedly and get a custom cat tree that’ll fit right into your environment, however compact.
What if my cat is huge?
This is a key question because a giant cat tree is nothing like a small cat condo. You’ll need to take the measurements of the platforms and openings so you can compare. Don’t always trust the photographs – they may be using smaller cats and that’ll throw off the proportions. If you happen to have the space, you can combine a large cat condo with perches and poles and really give your feline a workout.
Aren’t these things a bit unstable?
Some cat trees are definitely sturdier than others. This is an important factor and will depend on the size of your cat, how many cats you have and where you plan to position your cat tree. Remember, cats don’t levitate – to leap to the top of their cat castle they’ll have to give themselves a push so keep that in mind.
Isn’t this cat stuff all a bit over the top?
I suppose your cat might ask the same about your late model car or designer dress… remember, this is for your cat, NOT for you! You’ll see the moment you watch your pet fling him or herself across the air and land, perfectly, on a tiny perch, looking triumphant. Remember the alternative – your curtains and your sofa.
Why can’t I just use that sticky tape or smelly spray to keep my cat away from my things?
You can, absolutely! But you’ll be having a one-way relationship with your cat – one based on keeping your cat away from your things. I prefer giving them something they can play on rather than encouraging them to scratch a pad on my furniture. Eventually, though, they’ll find that bit of couch that isn’t covered with scratch pads and you know what’ll happen then. As for sprays, they’re only relatively effective – sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. But even if they do, your cat still needs an outlet for its “wild” side.
I’d love my cats to go outside but it’s not safe. How can I make it up to them indoors?
If you have the space, you can build an outdoor cat tree adjoining your house. If you can’t do that, variety can make up for the great outdoors. By providing your cat with plenty of hidey holes and perches to keep them amused, they’ll still have the excitement without the danger. Some people leave little treats around the house so their cat can discover them, or play cat activity games that keep their felines on their toes (and the owners too). Playing with them – a cat isn’t a piece of furniture that just sits there – will at least keep them happy and interested.
I can’t hammer a nail in straight. Does that mean I can’t have a cat tree?
Not at all! You can buy plenty of ready-built cat trees – or just ask a friend to help you. Most of the items that need assembling are easy to put together, especially if there are two of you.
So remind me, why do I need a cat tree?
Cats scratch things to keep their claws healthy or mark their territory. They like a good stretch and scratching makes them feel good. They need that activity and entertainment to stay healthy. They’re not scratching to annoy you (at least, I don’t think so but with a cat, you never know!)