Benefits of Cat Trees: Do they really work?
If you have a cat you probably own a cat tree but you might have asked yourself: what are the benefits of a cat tree? Besides being a piece of furniture you can decorate with, cat trees do provide function for our feline companions and are a worthwhile investment if you have the space. Cat trees come in all sizes, colors, styles, and budgets so you’re sure to find one that you like. I recently purchased this one and as you can see – it’s adorable! Not only will it be great for my cats but it’ll also look great in my office.
They help with scratching
Cat trees provide a place for your cat to scratch that you approve of – instead of your sofa. Cats love to scratch. It’s a natural thing they do. Encouraging your cat to scratch in an appropriate place can help lower both of your stress levels.
Cats like high places
My one cat likes to perch on top of the fridge. Why? Because it’s the highest place he can get to to survey his territory. It makes him feel safe that nothing is going to sneak up on him without him noticing.
Provide a safe space
A cat tree can provide a safe haven for a timid cat or a place to get away from another cat that’s bothering them. It can also help to keep the peace as it provides a point of high ground. If you also have guests over, a cat tree can provide some sanctuary. Just make sure your guests know not to disturb your cat when they are on their cat tree.
Which cat tree is right for me?
That depends! Ask yourself:
- How much space do I have?
- Where do I plan on putting the cat tree? In a corner? Next to a window? Middle of the room?
- Does my cat like to scratch, lay on things, or lay in things?
- Will my cat even use a cat tree?
If you cat is older, they may not enjoy a cat tree – especially if they have other places to lay that are more comfortable. Such as a heated bed. You should ask yourself if you cat will even use a cat tree before investing in one. Consider getting a smaller cat tree to start before upgrading to a big one if that is something you would like to do.
You’ve decided that YES! A cat tree is right for you and your cat. How do you pick the right one? You need to keep a few things in mind when purchasing a cat tree:
Is it safe for my cats?
You want a cat tree that had a solid base that your cat can’t tip over. Usually the listing will say that it has a weighted base. This is especially important for tall cat trees. As your cat climbs they’ll rock it which can increase the likely hood of a non-weighted cat tree tipping over.
Materials are important.
Cats like to lick things. Making sure that your cat tree doesn’t contain toxic or harmful materials is important. Avoid these products in all pet products:
- Phthalates – Commonly found in Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) toys
- Bisphenol A (BPA) – Commonly found in plastic
- Lead – Found in cheaper painted products
- Formaldehyde – Rarely, if ever, in cat trees but is still used as a preservative
- Chromium – More common in cheap, imported toys.
- Cadmium – More common in cheap, imported toys
- Bromine – Can be found in foam beds as a flame retardant
While not harmful, carpeted cat trees can lead to your cat getting their claw stuck. Which can be distressing and painful if they cannot get it unstuck themselves.
Nobody wants to have to purchase a new cat tree every 3 months. Wood and sisal cat trees are generally the most durable cat trees on the market. You can always purchase sisal rope from sites like Amazon and re-sisal your cat trees when the rope starts to fray. (You’ll need more than you think!) Additionally, you can cover patches of material that have been ripped off with sisal to keep your cat tree looking great. You don’t need to spend thousands on a cat tree for it to be durable but you may want to spend that extra $50 or $100 for something that is going to last you a few years.
What does your cat like?
My cats dislike hammocks. They won’t use them and I always end up removing the removable ones. They also aren’t a fan of the cubbies the cat trees provide. When you are looking at cat trees consider what your cat likes. You don’t want to buy a cat tree that has 4 hammocks if your cat doesn’t like them.
What is important to you?
Aesthetic? Ease of assembly? Easy to clean? These are things your cat could care less about but things that may matter to you. You don’t want an cat tree that doesn’t match anything, takes 4 hours to put together, and is ruined as soon as your cat throws up on it. Believe me, that easy to clean thing is important. While some of these things might not be easy to identify from just looking at the product you can check reviews before purchasing to see what other consumers are saying.
There you have it! You have all the tools needed to pick out the perfect cat tree. But do they work? Also YES! It might take some time for your cat to get used to their new furniture but over time they should adjust to it and start to lay on it and enjoy. If your cat doesn’t have an interest in the cat tree you can try:
- Placing them on it
- Putting a favorite toy on the cat tree
- Moving it next to a window
- Spraying the sisal rope with catnip
Which cat tree(s) do you own? Drop some pictures @WetNosesPetSitting. We’d love to see your kitties chilling on their towers.
Want to splurge on your cats even more? Here are 5 cat products every cat needs in their life.