Monkey, our chief Testing Cat, has helped us to review some of the best products on the market. Here, he has told us what to tell you all…
How to Chose a Cat Tree
Here are some Golden Rules:
- The cat tree must be appealing to your cat – not appealing to your eyes, your decore – your cat!! This means being aware of their preferences such as:
- Texture and material: Must be deep enough to sink claws into, and a rough texture, but not one that claws can get stuck in. Carpet is usually less appropriate – particularly loop pile carpet, which your cat’s claws will snag in, which will put him/her off. Sisal is perfect and often liked, although a few cats won’t use it. Other popular materials are bare wood, logs with bark on (messy but fun!), and corrugated cardboard.
- Height; Get the largest you can. If any more cats decide to come and live with you, you don’t need to buy a bigger one! This is particularly true with multi-cat households – each cat will what his/her space and privacy; a cat tree that is too small will only be used by one cat. Remember that taller posts will need larger bases to prevent them from falling/wobbling. There are also posts that can attach to wall and doors. Kittens can enjoy smaller scratching posts, but expect to upgrade as your cat grows.
- Sturdy and secure; Cats must be able to lean their full weight on the scratching post without it wobbling – if it moves too much, they won’t use it! And if it topples over on your cat, expect him/her to stear well clear of it and go back to the sofa. For a cat tree to be secure, the base needs to be large and square (sometimes circular works OK). You need at least 3-point attachment to the base (and in large cat trees, 4 is ideal). Symmetry also helps balance the cat tree. Shelves or perches that jut out too far either side can imbalance the tree if a heavy cat sits/leaps onto that shelf
- Location; If you had plans to hide the scratching post in a disused corner of the room, think again! The scratching post needs to be where your cat wants to scratch, otherwise you will be wasting your money as your cat won’t use it. If you’re trying to train your cat not to scratch in a particular place, put the scratching post right there so you give your cat the choice to use the scratching post – you can reward your cat for using the scratching post instead of the furniture.
- Number; Even if you only have one cat, consider having a few scratching posts dotted around the house. If you have more than one cat, you will definitely need to offer a choice of scratching posts, as these are an important ‘resource’ for cat, just like food and litter trays – providing free easy access to such resources is the key to harmony in multi-cat households.
- Observe your cat; When and where does your cat scratch? Does it prefer a horizontal or a vertical scratching surface? Try to provide a scratching post that mimics your cat’s natural habits, so that a scratching post is available at a time, place and location that suits your own cat.
- Wear; Accept that, over time, there will be some wear, if nothing else to the scratching post sisal. It’s there to be used!
- Price will determine what materials you can afford. Your average cat tree will have sisal scratching posts, and faux fur or faux fleece lining. For a little more expense, wood and other materials are available. There are even some amazingly stylish designer cat trees available!