One of the very first things I learned when I got my first kitten was that they love to climb and perch at the highest level of a room. I would come home to pin pricks in my curtains and kittens perched at the tops of the windows. When they got bigger, I would return to holes in the curtains or draperies on the floor.
Most cats feel more secure when they can get up and above all the ground level action and watch it from above. Heights have many attractive qualities that cats enjoy, especially in multiple cat households. Being perched higher than their companions can be a signal to other cats that they are the dominant cat. The highest place in the home can also be the warmest, and we all know our feline friends enjoy the snuggling up in warm spots! A high haven can be a respite from the craziness of ground level where children and dogs can get rowdy, it gives the cat a place where it can escape the madness.
Investing in a cat tree can save your furniture and curtains, while helping to alleviate some behavioral issues, such as inappropriate scratching. A cat tree can be a hefty investment depending on how elaborate you want the tree to be. Most quality, tall cat trees can cost over $100. While you are preparing to make this investment for your furry feline, it is important to look for a few key features in your cat tree to make sure it is going to be safe, fun and effective.
The first feature you’ll want to look for is height. If the furniture is under 3 feet high, it is more of a scratching post and less of an escape from ground level activity. If your household has dogs and cats, be sure that the cat will be able to get high enough to escape from the dogs if they should want to.
If you opt for a tall cat tree, you’ll want to examine its’ base. The base should be wide and sturdy. If it wobbles your cat will be less likely to use it. It could cause injury to cats, dogs, or people, or damage other items if it tips when the cat jumps to the top level.
Most cats like to stretch and file [sharpen] their nails on a vertical surface. Look for a tree that provides a variety of surfaces to scratch. Some may have exposed wood beams, while others have sisal rope beams for scratching. My cats prefer the carpeted posts on the cat tree I purchased, if I judge it by the bare spots on that post and the bits of carpet I find at the base.
The perfect cat tree should have multiple basking spots, especially if you have a multiple cat household. A tree with several levels provides a staircase of sorts to get to the top and should have spots to relax, and enjoy the action from above.
If you’ve got someone handy in your house there are lots of plans available to make your own cat tree, or you can get creative with carpeted shelving hung on the wall in steps. Keep the points above in mind when you are building your cat’s furniture and your furry feline will find his new favorite place in your home.