Cat trees (also known as cat condos) are structures, usually carpeted, that are used for your cat to sharpen his claws, play and sleep on. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes from a very basic post to giant ones that have multiple posts, perches, platforms, cubby holes, tunnels, and toys.
Scratching (also known as stropping) is a normal behaviour in cats. Unfortunately, some cats can cause countless headaches for their owners by scratching household furnishings, which leads to damage and great expense. Scratching furniture is a leading cause of cats being surrendered to shelters. Providing a cat tree will greatly reduce the chances of the cat using household furniture.
Large cat trees offer more than just the opportunity for your cat to scratch. With tunnels, perches and even attachments that will keep your cat entertained for hours. Tall ones can be placed close to windows, providing a spot for your cat to laze in the sun and watch the world go by. This is especially important for indoor-only cats. Larger cat trees can also provide your cat(s) with hours of fun playing on and around.
What is the difference between a cat tree and a cat scratching post?
The two are interchangeable. A cat tree is also a cat scratching post, but some scratching posts may be very basic and do not provide the opportunity for your cat to climb onto. The smallest cat scratching posts (also known as a cat scratching board) can be hung over a door handle. This is especially useful if you live in a small flat or apartment where space is limited.
Which cat tree should I buy?
You are only limited by size, budget and the number of cats you have. A basic pole may be all that is required for one cat, but if you have multiple cats a larger cat tree is preferable, these come with multiple posts and different ledges for your cats to use. Look for a sturdy looking structure, which is made of good quality, long-lasting products to keep your cats happy for many years to come. Aim to have one that your cat can fully stretch out on from a standing position. It is a way of loosening up leg and shoulder muscles and tendons in the cat’s paws.
For the DIY enthusiast, there are many sites on the Internet that offer free instructions to build your own.
Where to buy a cat tree
Pet shops, online and specialist cat tree manufacturers are the best places to buy a cat tree.
How to train your cat to use a cat tree
Now you need to encourage your cat to use the scratching post provided. You can purchase catnip spray from many pet shops and spray this on the post to attract the cat, or rub some dried catnip on the post. Cats enjoy a scratch after a nap, so try placing the scratching post close to your cat’s favoured sleeping location.
Cat trees can be purchased from most pet shops or online. If space permits, I would recommend you buy a larger one, which also provides your cat with a perch to sit and sleep on. The larger the better, especially if you have more than one cat.