David has had a variety of life experiences, which he loves to share with his readers.
What to Look for in a Cat Tree
What is the thing that cats typically like to do? They like using your furniture for their own benefit. This could be turning your bed into their bed, or, turning your couch into their personal scratching post.
In fact, I remember that happening with my mother's cats so much that she had to put plastic around the sides of the couch so her cats wouldn't scratch it! But you know what she didn't have in her house? A cat tower. A piece of furniture cats can call their own to sleep on, scratch, and ultimately destroy. It's what cats do best.
Pros and Cons
Before making the decision to purchase a cat tower, you need to weigh the pros versus the cons.
- Will save your furniture: Getting a cat tower will give your cats a place to scratch and use for their own needs, minimizing the amount of damage to your furniture.
- Allows a spot for your cats to sleep on: instead of sleeping on a couch, bed, or floor, your cats can sleep on the cat tower. When you go looking for your cats, these can be the first places you can go to to see if they are sleeping.
- Can encourage playing: Cats can play with each other, you, or just flip out on their own. Most cat towers have multiple levels, hiding spots, and areas to climb on.
- Accumulates shed fur: While this sounds gross, cats who shed a lot can shed them on the cat tower. Get a vacuum out and suck it right up. This is better than on your other furniture or on the floor.
- Can be entertaining to watch: I just like to watch my cats on the tower. Sometimes they are looking outside, surveying the house, or playing with the other cats.
- Can be an eyesore: Cat towers are ugly. Sure, companies try to make them look as good as possible, but they aren't nice pieces of furniture.
- Hard to maintain: If you have a cat throw up a hairball on a cat tower, you'll see how hard it is to clean it up. Same with fur and claws.
- Need to replace eventually: I have one cat who loves to claw in the exact same spot, so much so she wears the cat tower down to the wood. So eventually they need to be replaced.
- Can be expensive: Cat towers can be just as expensive as a piece of furniture in your house. The bigger and more components, the more expensive it can be.
- May not be used at all: You may get this great cat tower and your cats may not use it at all. Or, they may just use a part of it. You really won't know until you make it available to them. I learned what my cats liked through trial and error.
What to Look For When Buying a Cat Tower
When purchasing a cat tower, there are multiple things to consider based on what you are looking for.
- Two feet for every cat: This is my own rule, but it's been a good rule to follow. For every cat I have, I want two feet in height for the cat tower. So if I have three cats, I want six feet of cat tower. This can be done in one or multiple cat towers.
- Cat towers in different rooms: Having cat towers in different rooms can be a good idea, especially if you have multiple cats. I have a larger cat tower in my living room, with smaller cat towers in two other rooms. You can get one tower for every cat if you keep them small. That allows cats to have their own areas if some of your cats don't get along.
- Consider what your cats currently like: Do you have a cat that likes getting under the sheets on a bed? Then a cat tower with a hole could be best. If your cats like to perch up as high as possible, then a tall cat tower would be a good idea.
- Pre-built versus assembling your own: The more expensive cat towers are those that are already built that you can pick up at various pet stores. You can see them, feel the fabric, etc. I recommend you start with these so you can get a good look at them in person. Recently I switched to buying them online and assembling them myself. It's far cheaper that way and the towers feel just as good as the ones that are already built. The only downside is that you won't be able to see them in person first.
- Material matters: Most cat towers should be made out of some sort of carpeting. This is a great material for cats to sleep and claw on. There are other materials that are more breathable for cats to sleep on, but not so good for clawing. Some cat towers come with poles made out of rope that cats can claw on.
- Avoid replaceable items: Some cat towers come with feather attachments, but those will quickly get destroyed. Some may come with replaceable scratching pads, but those make a huge mess and cost money to replace. Avoid cat towers with those replaceable items or get those cat towers that don't need them to function.
- Vantage point: Consider where you plan to place the cat tower. I have a cat tower set up so my cats can look outside from the cat tower, but, have a good vantage of the room they are in as well.
- What will be near the cat towers?: You don't want to place a cat tower next to an expensive vase that could break if toppled over. Cats will run, jump, and play rough on the cat tower. So have it someplace secure. If it's really tall, then brace it to the wall.
- Consider needs for older cats: If you have older cats, consider towers that have multiple steps so they can easily climb and get off the tower without too much effort.
- Think about children and other animals: Don't purchase a cat tower a baby could climb and hurt themselves on, or, one a dog could chew up. Consider those who would be around the cat tower.
Maintenance is a big part of owning a cat tower. There are things you should do often to keep it as well maintained as possible.
Read More From Pethelpful
- Do a quick check of the cat tower each day. This is to check for any hairballs or other issues you need to deal with. This sounds annoying to do, but it isn't since you typically will see and pet your cats when they are on the cat tower daily anyways.
- Clean it once a week. This involves tugging up any loose carpet fibers, cleaning around the base of the tower, and reorienting it.
- Deep clean it once a month. This can include trimming any torn-up spots, vacuuming up any cat fur, and washing any dirty spots.
- Thoroughly inspect it at least once a month. Inspections should include any areas that have been worn bare, any parts that are loose or inspecting any holes. Spiders may like living in those holes if they aren't used that often!
- Plan for the replacement. As you maintain the cat tower, always keep in mind what you want in the replacement. If your cats love the only hole on a cat tower and even fight over it, then consider getting a cat tower with two holes later on.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 David Livermore
Barb Johnson from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula on September 01, 2020:
My cats (partial to Manx) would've loved all the new bells, whistles and towers. I've had three in my life-time. Up high access and a never-ending supply of catnip was the arrangement. After reading your suggestions, I would do a few things differently were I to have another cat. Thanks for the tips David.
David Livermore (author) from Bakersfield, California, United States on August 26, 2020:
That's a great question! I put my cat towers out, sprinkled some catnip on them, and just let them explore. They were at least a few years old at the time. They just seemed to know the cat tower was just for them.
Abby Slutsky from America on August 25, 2020:
Well, I do not have a cat, so this was more info than I will ever need. However, I thought it was very well written. I never thought of owning one or purchasing one, but if I ever do, I will know exactly what to consider. You seemed to cover everything, and they sound like a good idea for those who have cats. I do not know if you introduced them to your cats when they were kittens and if that made it easier for them to enjoy using them.
RoadMonkey on August 25, 2020:
We no longer have a cat and our last one was "donated" by our daughter when she moved out from living with friends and returned to Hotel Mum and Dad. I would have loved to have had a cat tower and used to look at the pages online. The best ones, I think, were built by the cat owners themselves - there were some amazing constructions. This is a very useful hub with lots of information to consider if you are going to purchase a cat hub.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 24, 2020:
Those are some might fine looking cats up there on that cat tree you have there. I have six indoor cats and they are well behaved so they do not tear up my furniture (not this group). I have plenty of scratching pads, vertical, horizontal and three climbing towers. They live the towers. I would encourage people to stick to regular carpet rather than that cheap fuzzy fabric. I bought mine off Etsy and when the carpet wore down I recovered it rather than buy another one.