Choosing the Right Cat Tree
Cat Talk|October 2020
Choosing the Right Cat Tree
Whether you have your first cat or your tenth, keeping your cat healthy and your furniture undamaged means you will need to get a scratching post (or cat “tree”). These come in many shapes and sizes and they’re built using a variety of materials. Different construction techniques are also used, some being better than others. This gives you lots to choose from. So, choosing the right tree for your cat can take some thought.
By Dennis Ganoe

The purpose of the cat tree is to provide an acceptable outlet for your cat’s natural instinct to sharpen her claws and mark her territory. Outdoors, a cat will use a convenient tree or fence post but most people don’t have trees or fences in their house. You should supply her with a substitute, otherwise she’ll use the couch or a table leg.

There are many styles of scratching posts. Some are single upright posts while other are veritable works of art. Cats like to sit on the tree to rest, the higher up the better. While big cantilevered perches look nice, a heavy cat (or a rambunctious one) can stress the support structure. This means the perch will become unstable relatively early on. Functionality and a solid structure should be prime considerations when choosing a cat tree.

Since your cat will be applying force to the tree, it needs to be sturdy enough to stand up to that use. This means it needs a stable base and thick “branches.” If you opt for one that also provides resting perches, those perches need to be well supported and big enough to accommodate your cat(s). The size of your cat plays a part in your choice. If you have a long cat, you may need a taller tree. If you have a heavy cat, the tree will need additional strength.

Design Considerations

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October 2020