Learning about the types of cat trees will help you choose the best option to meet your cat’s needs and preferences.
Cat trees come in all sizes, constructions, materials, and designs to fit any budget and space.
Consider your cat’s age, breed, and current habits. For instance, a short single-level tree is perfect for old felines or kittens but is too boring for an active adult cat.
You should also consider your interior because a cat tree takes up much space and draws attention. Construction durability and stability are other factors to keep in mind.
The best cat trees are never cheap, but spending extra is usually worth it because the product will last many years and make your cat happy.
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1. Single Level Cat Trees
Single-level cat trees are the most basic type suited for kittens, small adult felines, and older cats. Such trees can have single or multiple scratching posts, usually not exceeding 25 inches in height.
Unlike regular scratching posts, single-level cat trees have a platform or condo on the top.
Such cat trees usually don’t pique the interest of active adult felines because they are too short and offer little entertainment.
However, they are inexpensive and a good choice if you’re introducing your cat to a tree for the first time. A single-level cat tree is also safer for kittens because if they climb too high, they can injure themselves.
Single-level cat trees differ in materials and style. If picking a tree for a kitten, consider carpet or sisal fabric because these materials are softer than sisal rope. Many such trees also have toys.
2. Multi-Level Cat Trees
Multi-level cat trees can have two, three, or four platforms or condos for your cat to climb on and rest.
Such trees are perfect for energetic felines and kittens over four months old that can already jump properly and won’t injure themselves.
A multi-level cat tree is an excellent choice if you have multiple cats, but the number of platforms should equal or exceed the number of cats to prevent aggression.
Stability is more important for a multi-level cat tree than for a single-level one. Choose a tree with a heavy base that will prevent it from tipping over when a cat jumps on it.
Multi-level cat trees come in any material, including sisal rope, fabric, carpet, and wood. The designs also vary – you can find one equipped with toys, condos, open-style beds, and other accessories.
3. Cat Trees With Condos
Many cat trees only feature open platforms and cat beds that offer your pet a great view of its surroundings. Some cats appreciate the ability to see what’s happening around them, but felines, in general, love quietness and privacy.
Thus, consider cat trees with cave-style condos that give your cat a private place to rest and relieve anxiety. A dark and quiet personal spot is especially important if you have other pets or kids and your cat often is stressed.
Ideally, the cat tree should have at least one closed condo. If you’re searching for a tree for multiple cats, the condo number should equal the number of your pets to prevent them from fighting over the best spot.
Search for a cat tree with a removable condo cushion for easy cleaning. A cat can sleep in the cave daily, but felines especially appreciate closed condos when they don’t feel well – for example, when they have stomach upset.
A removable cushion will ensure you can easily get rid of vomit or pee stains inside the condo.
4. Tall Cat Trees
Tall cat trees exceeding 70 inches are perfect for large-breed cats, such as Maine Coons and Siberian, active cats like Abyssinian, Oriental, and Burmese, or multiple felines.
Tall trees usually have several levels, condos, toys, and many scratching areas. They serve as a proper playground for your pet, providing it with plenty of environmental enrichment.
Cat trees can be pricey, particularly if they’re large. But while you can save some money on a single-level tree, don’t get a cheap tall tree. The construction must be stable – otherwise, the tree might fall and injure your pet.
The best cat trees have a heavy wooden base and sisal rope scratching posts for extra durability – such trees can last for years and even decades. Opt for a tree with hollow scratching posts because they are lighter.
A wobbly tree won’t appeal to your cat, so it will be a waste of money and time spent assembling the construction. If you have several cats, ensure that each of your pets has a place to rest on the tree to avoid territorial conflicts.
5. Floor-to-Ceiling Cat Trees
As the name suggests, floor-to-ceiling cat trees mount to the floor and ceiling, so they have extremely low odds of falling. Such trees are perfect for energetic felines that love jumping and climbing, offering extra stability.
Floor-to-ceiling cat trees resemble trunks because they aren’t shaky, so cats adore them. Of course, they aren’t a good choice for every house because you should be willing to sacrifice your ceiling and drill a few holes.
Floor-to-ceiling cat trees usually have multiple platforms positioned on different sides.
Some also have cave-style condos and other accessories, but most are rather plain. Floor-to-ceiling cat trees are ideal for large breeds like Norwegian Forest and Maine Coons.
Because there is no one-size-fits-all floor-to-ceiling cat tree, many are made to order. They are more expensive than ready-made trees, but you can customize the product to your liking and your cat’s needs.
For example, you can choose the colors and materials, add particular accessories, or come up with an unusual design.
6. Enclosed Cat Trees
Most cat trees have an open design, even if they have cave-style condos. However, in recent years, enclosed cat trees have been in high demand, featuring unusual designs that allow your cat to play peek-a-boo or unwind when stressed.
Enclosed cat trees can look differently – some have a tube-like design with several levels and round holes on different sides, whereas others might look like proper houses or stacked TVs.
Regardless of the design, enclosed construction gives your cat an opportunity to relieve anxiety in a dark, quiet place, away from human eyes. Plus, such trees are fun for multiple cats who can hide from each other when playing.
Enclosed cat trees are more stable than regular ones, which is a pro. However, they are more difficult to clean on the inside, so ensure the tree has removable cushions.
7. Wood-Like Cat Trees
The problem with cheap, generic cat trees is that they don’t resemble trees at all. They tend to be shaky, boring, and are made from low-quality materials unpleasant to the touch or dangerous for your cat’s health.
If you want to maximize your cat’s comfort and entertain it, consider wood-like cat trees. Such constructions are usually made from natural wood branches polished for safety but retain their initial shape.
A wood-like cat tree may or may not have platforms and condos. Usually, the tree branches are wrapped with sisal rope or fabric because polished wood isn’t convenient for clawing.
Some wood-like cat trees don’t have platforms, but many branches are positioned on each side and equipped with faux leaves for an authentic experience.
Although such trees are usually expensive, they are a great addition to the interior, particularly in a rustic or eco-friendly style. You can even craft such a tree yourself if you’re skilled enough.
8. Designer Cat Trees
Consider designer cat trees if you care about your interior’s look or fancy everything unique. They can be big or small, ready-made or made-to-order, but always have an unusual design.
For example, some designer cat trees look like gothic mansions, and others like cacti, or clouds. There are also minimalistic geometric cat trees that don’t look like a cat accessory at all.
Some designer cat trees resemble furniture, blending in with the interior – that’s a perfect option for people concerned about their living room transforming into a cat’s bedroom.
Of course, designer cat trees are more expensive than regular ones, but you can tailor the design to your preference. Plus, custom cat trees are made from premium materials and last longer.
9. Wall-Mounted Cat Trees
Wall-mounted cat trees offer ultimate stability and fun. There are ordinary shelves or full-blown playgrounds with stairs, condos, scratching posts, hammocks, and other amusements.
A wall-mounted cat tree doesn’t take up much space and won’t tip over when your cat jumps on it.
Because of such stability, wall-mounted cat trees are perfect for active and large breeds like Maine Coons, Orientals, and Burmese. This option might be dangerous for kittens because they can fall from an elevation.
The only drawback is that you would have to make some holes in your wall, which may be problematic for a rented house or apartment. However, it’s an excellent idea if you’re looking for a long-term solution.
Another point is that while you can move a cat tree, you can’t do it with a wall-mounted construction.
Pet stores don’t often sell wall-mounted cat trees, so most are made to order. Although it’s pricier, you can fully tailor the design to your preference and your cat’s needs.