Of all the items you get for your cat, a cat tree can be one of the more expensive one-off expenses. You can get fairly cheap trees but really you want a strong, stable and complex tree and these can come in from $60 to $500. We assess whether you really should bother getting a tree, tell you what to check for and advise what to consider before you buy. Then we review the best cat trees for large cats so if you have a heavyweight kitty you can select the best option.
Why Should You Get Your Cat A Cat Tree?
The simple fact is that your cat will benefit from having a tree if they don’t already have one. Whether you are a single or multi-cat household a cat tree can improve your kitties quality of life and reduce stress.
Cats love height
A good reason to buy a cat tree is that it gives your cat an opportunity to get off the ground. Cats like to be at a height. It is inbuilt over millennia of evolution. Places that are high are safe and therefore your cat can relax and de-stress. Put simply you can’t be ambushed at height, you are harder to attack and you can see trouble coming from a greater distance. As a result, cats often like to get off the floor – even indoor cats. My cat likes nothing better than climbing onto the high back of my sofa and falling asleep. If your cat behaves like this they are going to love a cat tree!
Diffuse Territorial Tension
If you have several cats a large, complex cat tree can increase the available territory within your home. This extra territory can reduce pressure on space and can reduce the likelihood of conflict breaking out. Your cats will have new areas and levels to retreat to and observe each other from. Likewise, a high perch can be used by a dominant cat to express their dominance over other cats in the household without physical conflict breaking out.
Ease Stress And Anxiety
If you have a timid cat or a cat that suffers separation anxiety when you leave the home, a tree can help reduce stress – once they get high they experience a calming mood that de-stresses their anxiety.
Save Your Furniture
Many cat owners notice that their furniture gets scratched if they don’t provide a scratching post. Cats scratch to keep claws sharp. Most of the cat trees on the market have scratching areas built-in – so purchasing a tree can minimize damage to your furniture.
Perhaps one of the most beneficial reasons to get a tree for your cat is that you can encourage the cat does get more exercise. Indoor cats may lack exercise and a tree can help improve this situation. A tree can spur their natural curiosity and get them exploring, jumping and becoming more active.
Clearly there are lots of potential benefits to getting a cat tree that makes such a purchase reasonable.
Will My Cat Use A Cat Tree?
Many owners realize a tree would be beneficial in their household but hold back because they think maybe my cat won’t use the tree after I paid out big money? This is a reasonable concern but in the majority of cases, you don’t need to worry! Cats are curious creatures and so long as you put the tree within the cat’s zone of activity rather than hidden away, natural curiosity will take over.
Apart from putting a tree in a cat active area, you can also encourage use in a number of different ways :
Place the tree near a window or somewhere with a good viewing vantage point. This will make the tree more tempting as a viewing platform.
Buy a tree with a variety of activity areas, ramps, scratching posts, levels, and condos to attract curiosity and stimulate natural urges that all cats have.
Give the cat extra affection when it uses the tree so it becomes conditioned to use the tree.
Place treats on the tree to stimulate use.
Cats don’t generally need the training to use a cat tree. If you do spend a significant sum on a tree you are unlikely to find it is wasted money so long as you buy a tree that appeals to instincts.
What To Look For
If you have a large cat or a heavy cat you need to consider how strong, stable and durable a cat tree is. You also need to check whether the condos and platforms are big enough for your cat if the cat is on the large size.
The best way to assess the trees on the market is to look at user reviews and ratings. Other cat owners will happily tell you when a tree is junk or of low quality.
You want to check how long a tree survives contact with kitty. Some trees are loved by cats but just don’t seem to be able to take the punishment accrued with months of boisterous play.
Stability is a big concern. Cats like to jump on these items so they have to be able to take the impact and push of the cat jumping. Some owners will tell you the tree needs placing in a corner – some manufacturers will highlight that a safety strap is provided to prevent toppling. Other trees will be reviewed as being really stable just from their design.
Our Top Choices
The Go Pet 62 inch Cat Tree is one of the most popular trees on the market. At 62 inches high with perches at different levels it gives your cats all the height options they might need.
Checking through user reviews owners really love this tree. They consider the tree to be very sturdy, durable, well built and loved by their cats all at quite a medium price range!
Looking at the detail, this tree has an overall size of 38 x 27 x 62 inches, is built up over four levels and is available in four different color schemes. The tree’s sturdy stability comes from the heavy baseboard. The tree features two hammocks, multiple sisals covered scratching areas/posts, two decent sized perches, a condo (10.5 dia x 12.5 inch high) and can be used by multiple cats at any one time.
The top platform is 12.5 x 11.5 ins so it is big enough for the largest cats to sit or hang out on.
This tree is self-assembly and weighs in at 41 lbs. Unlike many others, you can get spare parts for this tree if required.
The Songmics 67 inch Multi-Level Cat Tree costs almost twice as much as the Go Pet Tree, however, it does give you more features for the money, more height, and greater weight!
The Songmics comes in at a staggering 35 x 31 x 67 inches and features, 3 high-level perches, 2 condos spread over five levels with multiple sisal rope covered scratching posts, a scratching board, and hanging toys.
This is a great tree for large cats. The three perches are each 14 x 14 in square so plenty of room for larger cats to sit upon. The condos come in 10 x 16 x 14 ins (square condo) and 10 x 13.5 ins diameter (tube condo).
The cat tower weighs 65 lbs overall is reported by owners to be very sturdy and ideal for larger cats and even multiple bigger cats! The owners particularly appreciate the bigger condos that their pet cats can sleep in.
The tree features a wall strap for stability – but lots of owners just don’t bother with it because they feel the tree is stable enough as it comes.
The Songmics is a self-assembly kit.
If you want good-sized condos for your box loving cat and want height, the Songmics is a good choice.
This 72-inch cat tree by Best Pet seems to be loved and hated by owners in equal measure. Most issues seem to stem from quality concerns but as many owners have no problems with it as those that do. What all buyers will tell you is that this tree is well-loved by their furry friends!
For its size, this cat tower comes in at a bargain price. Similar in price to the smaller trees looked at above this tree measures 22 x 24 x 73 inches and features 2 cat condos, 3 high perches, multiple levels, scratching posts covered with sisal rope all over and two climbing ramps. The tree weighs in at 46 lbs and users deem it great for larger, heavier cats at it is incredibly stable! The problem is the cats love it too much and tear it to pieces! They simply can’t stop chewing, clawing and bouncing all over this thing!
Users suggest build quality is patchy – although the quality of self-assembly works might also weigh in on this factor. For its size, this tree is at a low price point.
If you like the design of the best pet cat tree mentioned above but don’t like the risk of getting a bad one then the Go Pet Club 72 inch Cat Tree is probably the best way forward for you. The design very closely relates to the last tree but this offering has no reports of quality issues, very few complaints and lots of high praise from existing owners.
Coming in at 24 x 28 x 72 inches overall this cat furniture has got great height and stability. The baseboard measures a huge 28 x 24 inches so you know this ain’t toppling over even with the biggest cat! The tree weighs in at 66 pounds so it is well weighted on that big base.
The cat tree features two sizeable cat condos for cats that get secure hiding away in their cave…ahem, box. The cat condos are in two sizes : 20 x 15 x 11.5 and 15 x 12 x 10 inches. Both are big enough for most cats but even the largest cats can make use of the larger condo without problems.
The tree features three high perches that are 13.5 x 13.5 ins platforms so plenty large enough so big cats to use. Cats will get plenty of exercise bouncing around the eight different height levels and using the two climbing ramps.
Owners report this tree is great for heavy cats, easy to assemble, good quality, durable, suitable for multiple cat households and comes in at a low price point for its height. Cats love it…All sounds ideal….a highly recommended tree.
Sometimes these cat trees are so similar it can be hard to pick one that really suits your cat’s personality. This tree caught my eye because I know if I left my cat with it whilst I was at work for 8-10 hours my cat wouldn’t even notice I was missing! That is because this tree is a little different. It has the usual platforms and perches. It has condos for cats that like caves. This is different because of the additional toys that come with it.
What sets this tree apart is the springy wand, dangling mouse and play ball box. I just know my cat would be gripped by these extras. The play ball box is particularly interesting. This toy consists of a platform box with loads of holes drilled in it. Within the platform box, several balls can be rolled around and manipulated via the drill holes – hours of fun for your average mouser!
The springy wand on the top platform and dangling mouse midway up the tree give cats something more to explore rather than just height or condos.
The double-decker playground comes in at 19.7 x 19.7 x 69.3 ins. Features include nine different activity levels, 2 high platforms, 1 high playbox platform, 2 condos (9.8 x9.8×9.8 and 19.7 x 9.8 x9.8 ins), plush fabric covering, sisal covered posts for scratching, and is easy to clean and quick to install.
So what do owners think? They generally all think the quality is great, the tree is bigger than expected and their cats seem to really enjoy the activities available. The structure is sturdy and can take several cats at once without issue. One word of caution is that the upper platforms are 6 x 6 ins which are good enough to sit on but not really ideal for large cats to sprawl out on. Overall highly recommended.