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Best Cat Trees for Climbing Felines

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Best Cat Trees for Climbing Felines

Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy always tells cat moms and dads in his show, “My Cat From Hell,” that cats need lookout points to feel safe. That feeling of safety will help them adjust to their environment and live happily. 

It’s up to cat parents to make sure their cats are provided with proper perches so they can get the lay of the land. One way to give that sense of security is by buying your fur baby a cat tree. 

Types of Cat Trees: Lots of Options

cat lounging on a cat tree

Not all cat trees are created equal. In fact, some are designed for different types of spaces, cat activities, and personal style (of the cat parents, not the cat). Specifications also vary by materials used, size, and features.

When you’re searching for a cat tree, here are some things you should keep in mind:

Size Matters

It’s important to assess the cat tree size you will need. “Look for cat trees that are at least five feet tall and have lots of shelves at different heights,” says Marilyn Krieger, Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and author of “Naughty No More!”

Don’t forget to also consider the size of your cats and their activity level. Larger cats or households with multiple cats will require a heavy-duty cat tree that can hold more weight. Think: one that doesn’t topple over as those cats will hop on and off and the cat structure you purchase will need to withstand the velocity of their leaps.

“Because cats will jump and play on it, cat trees need to be stable and not wobble or fall,” Krieger adds. “The components should be firmly fixed to each other, and shelves wide enough to comfortably accommodate cats.” 

If you have a kitten, don’t go small. Get a cat tree that will grow with him or her if your space allows for it. The taller, the better for young, active cats as they love to climb and get a view from high up.

Consider Cat Tree Features and Materials

Krieger prefers cat trees that feature shelves with a lip on them, and those covered with either carpet or sisal. Sisal is a sustainable, biodegradable material that is as strong as it is rough. It feels just like a tree bark, making for a great scratching surface for both wild and domesticated felines.

Older cats who are no longer skilled jumpers will need cat trees with ramps or ladders, or perches that are closer to the ground. 

Look for Scratching Surfaces

One of the most important features to prioritize when picking out a cat tree is a scratching surface (or several). Depending on the product, scratching options come in either post form or wall form. Some cat trees even feature both. 

“Sisal is a good material to cover scratching posts and trees in,” says Krieger. “Trees that are covered with a combination of carpet and sisal are comfortable as well as perfect for scratching.”

Consider Cat Trees With Toys and Activities

Some cat trees give you all the bells and whistles. In addition to scratching surfaces and cat condos, cat trees may also come with dangling cat toys, ropes for active play, hammocks for lounging, beds, a variety of perches. Think about your cat’s favorite activities and buy accordingly. 

Cat Trees Versus Cat Condos

cat in a cat condo

The biggest difference between a cat tree and a cat condo is that a cat tree is made for cats to climb, while a cat condo is an enclosed structure (with a little doorway) that the cat can hide in (think: dog house, but for cats). Don’t assume that a cat tree has to be a tall structure. Cat trees can vary in heights–from as short as 17 inches to as tall as your house will allow. The tallest we’ve seen is 82 inches in height. Cat trees can also come with a cat condo within it. 

“Although they’re not mandatory, many cats enjoy napping and observing the whole room in the comfort of those little covered houses and boxes that often are part of well-built cat trees,” says Krieger. “Another positive about them is that they’re warm, which is important when it’s cold.”

How We Ranked Our Top Cat Trees

We rounded up the best cat trees on the market, factoring in the different features you may be looking for, as well as sizes and styles.

Within those different specifications, we narrowed down the list by looking at overall ratings, plus the number of reviews. In other words, we selected the cat trees with 4-star ratings or higher and those with thousands (or hundreds, in some cases) of positive reviews. 

In addition to looking at the pros according to customers, we also considered the cons. Not every cat tree is perfect, but depending on your needs (and cat!) and our knowledge of what cats enjoy in a domestic setting, we give you all you need to know to make a good purchase below.

Best Cat Tree: Overall Winner

Our Pick: Armarkat B5701 57-Inch Cat Tree in Ivory

Armarkat B5701 57-Inch Cat Tree

Standing 57 inches high, 28 inches wide, and 25 inches deep, this cat tree earned our top spot on this list because of its impressive (yet not too overpowering) size, plus long-lasting scratchability. 

All of this tree’s scratching posts are wrapped in 100-percent cured sisal. If you have a larger cat or more than one furry friend, you’ll be happy to know that this product can accommodate up to 40 pounds.

Highlights 

  • It’s easy to assemble. Customers who have purchased this product have little to complain about when it comes to assembly. You just have to screw it together and voila. 
  • It’s proven to be durable. While other pet parents have had issues with other cat trees falling apart too soon, this one receives high marks in that category. 
  • It’s got a nice, simple design. Let’s be honest: no one wants an eyesore of a cat tree in the living room (or wherever your cat likes to hang out). There’s a lot to appreciate in this pick’s ivory hue and streamlined design. 

Things to Consider

  • The best spot for it is in the corner of a room so the G-force from a cat leaping onto it from a distance, won’t make it topple over.

Best Cat Tree for Large Cats

Our pick: You & Me Cat Multi-Level Play Center

You & Me Cat Multi-Level Play Center

Larger cats won’t impact the structural integrity of this multi-level cat tree that measures 48 inches in height and 19-by-19 inches in width and depth from the base up. Its sturdy design—primarily how the double cat condo is at the base—means its weight keeps it stable. Even when cats jump from the floor to the very top platform (like mine!), this cat tree remains upright and steady.

Highlights 

  • It’s comfy and cozy. This cat tree uses a soft, brown plush texture that feels like carpeting. 
  • It’s durable. You can easily transport it from room to room without it getting rickety. 
  • No assembly required. When purchased, this cat tree comes fully assembled.

Things to Consider

  • Unlike most cat trees, which come with sisal scratching posts, this product features wood scratching posts—which are also part of its overall structure. 

Best Cat Tree for Multiple Cats

Our pick: Frisco 72-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo

Frisco cat tree and condo

With a sturdy weight of 63 pounds, two cat condos, and several platform levels, this cat tree is ideal for households with more than one cat. 

Your cats can hop from perch to perch as they develop their hunting and jumping skills. It also comes equipped with two scratch-board ramps for extra clawing areas, in addition to 10 scratching posts made of fully-wrapped sisal. 

Highlights 

  • It comes with so much fun. Four dangling toys are thoughtfully positioned to give your fur babies some much-needed play. 
  • It doesn’t neglect comfort. It features two kitty apartments made of soft, plush fabric.
  • Color options are plentiful. Choose from: cream, gray, brown, black, blue or cheetah to match with your decor.

Things to Consider

  • It stands 72 inches high, 39 inches wide, and 27 inches deep. It’s one of the biggest ones on the market. Make sure you have the space!

Best Cat Tree for Small Apartments

Our pick: SmartCat Cat Climber

Over the door cat tree

If you don’t have a lot of space, a cat tree designed to hang on a door may be your best option. Still providing your feline friends room to play, climb, and get some exercise, this cat climber comes equipped with a natural sisal post for scratching. 

Highlights 

  • It’s easy to assemble. But, you will have to screw it into your door for stability. 
  • You can move it. Its spring-loaded bracket system makes it easy to detach and attach to other doors in your home.
  • Pieces are sturdy. One reviewer even said it was quite heavy, which further proves that it can handle a larger cat with no problem.

Things to Consider 

  • While this small-space cat tree is versatile, make sure your door is between 79 to 82 inches high to accommodate this design.

Best Modern Cat Tree

Our pick: Trixie Lilo 48.2-in Faux Fleece Cat Tree & Condo, White/Brown

faux fur cat tree

One might say you’re buying this cat house entirely for you, and not your cats. While this cat tree doesn’t boast the dangling toys and platform perches found in most, its three stories of wall sides are essentially scratching posts. Measuring 48.2 inches in height, 18 inches in width, and 18 inches in length, this structure will earn kitty kudos in your home. 

Highlights

  • It is designed. More stylish than the norm, this cat tree features a mod motif. It’s practically a work of nuvo art.
  • Provides a cozy abode. Three separate cat condos are plush on the inside and in its entryway. 
  • Durable sides are perfect for scratching. They’re made of sisal.

Things to Consider

  • Don’t let the seemingly compact size of this cat house fool you. It weighs 60 pounds in its entirety, which is heavier than other larger cat trees.

Best Corner Cat Tree

Our pick: Frisco 52-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo

Frisco Faux Fur Cat Tree

This cat tree from Frisco, which stands 52 inches tall and fits perfectly in room corners with its square base, is the perfect all-in-one spot for your cat. Your feline friend can hone jumping and hunting skills with this product’s perch-to-perch design, and thoughtfully-placed dangling toy. Five sisal-wrapped scratching posts are also provided for your cat’s much-needed clawing time. A cat condo located in the center also gives felines a nice spot to nap. 

Highlights 

  • It’s budget friendly. We love the value you get for the price of this cat tree.
  • It’s comfortable. Your cat will love the faux fleece fabric lining of the kitty apartment included.
  • You’ve got fabric options. Choose from cream, black, blue, gray, brown and cheetah. 

Things to Consider

  • We love how this cat tree will fit in the corner of any room, but some online reviewers have said that the platforms are a bit small. If you have a long kitty, double check the dimensions! 

Best Cat Tree With a Hammock

Our pick: Frisco 20-in Faux Fur Cat Tree

Frisco hammock cat tree

One of the best-rated cat trees with a hammock, according to thousands of customer reviews on Chewy.com, this find is both budget-friendly and compact. Ideal for small spaces—and smaller cats—your furry friend will enjoy lounging in this cat tree’s top-level, circular-shaped hammock, covered in thick, plush material. 

Standing 20 inches tall, it also comes with two pillars that are wrapped in natural sisal rope—perfect for your cat’s stretching and scratching routine.

Highlights

  • It’s fun for kitty. Your cat will enjoy the two dangling pom-pom toys included.
  • You’ve got fabric options. Choose from ivory, gray, black and cheetah.

Things to Consider

  • The hammock is only 15 inches in width, so while cats do like to scrunch to nap, make sure it’s big enough for your fur baby.

Best Wooden Cat Tree

Our pick: Vesper Cat Furniture

vesper cat tree

A cat tree that looks like furniture is a great option for cat parents who are also minimalists. Avoid the typical fuzzy look with a wooden cat tree. Standing 47.9 inches tall with a 22.1-inch base, this structure features an innovative design with cat-friendly materials. 

Highlights

  • It doubles as decor. Elegant and warm, the aesthetic of this cat tree will look great in any room. 
  • Soft memory foam bed cushions are integrated. Your cat will be comfortable.
  • It provides room to play. Six scratching posts are strategically placed into the design. 

Things to Consider

  • Some buyers noted that they were intimidated by the assembly. 

Best Heavy-Duty Cat Tree

Our pick: Frisco 65-in XXL Heavy Duty Cat Tree

heavy duty cat tree

This extra large, heavy-duty cat tree will accommodate multiple cats, as well as larger cats. With roomy landing spaces and perch bed at the top, it stands 65.5 inches, 41.25 inches in width, and 28 inches in depth. Scratching posts wrapped in sisal are featured throughout the structure for healthy scratching sessions.

Highlights 

  • It is perfect for multiple cat naps. It comes with three designated sleeping areas: a bed, a hammock, and a cat condo. 
  • It’s rich in activities. A rope, hanging ball toys, and eight levels are integrated into the design for endless play.
  • The perch bed is easy to clean. Simply remove it from the structure and machine wash. 

Things to Consider 

  • It’s definitely a heavy-duty cat tree, but it’s big. Measure before you buy.

Best Cat Tree for Scratching

Our pick: Trixie Lucano Scratching Post For Cats

Trixie Lucano cat tree

This cat tree—measuring 43.25 inches in height, 18.75 inches in width and depth—is practically covered in scratching surfaces. Posts are wrapped with jute, while several walls are lined with sisal. Both are ideal for cat scratching. 

And when your cat is taking a break from all the scratching fun, he or she can take a nap on the cat bed on top, lounge in the hammock, or hide in the condo. 

Highlights

  • It is easy to clean. Two removable cushions are hand washable. 
  • Some extra fun is provided. Not only are there plenty of scratching options for your feline friend, there are toys on strings for essential play, too.

Things to Consider

  • This product is ideal for young cats who are great at jumping. Older cats who may need a ladder or ramp will have a hard time getting to the higher areas of this cat tree.

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