A great cat tree provides a healthy outlet for your cat’s natural instincts, minimizing destructive behaviors while maximizing your cat’s physical and psychological health.
The best cat trees, condos, and towers are sturdy pieces of furniture that provide environmental enrichment for your cat. They have excellent design that complements your home decor scheme and come at a price that fits your budget.
In this article, we’ll go deep into which qualities make a great tree and use that knowledge to identify the top 8 best trees, condos, towers, and cat shelves on the market.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Cat Trees
We highly recommend looking at the comparison product table we have below where we’ve highlighted the features of each product.
- Fold it away and store it when not needed
- Packs multiple surfaces and features into a small size
- Convenient for nomadic people
Top Picks Explained
Why Should You Trust Us?
Over the last two years, we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what it takes to make a great cat tree.
We’ve researched the types of cat trees and cat condos available, read hundreds of customer reviews, and performed real-world tests on the top cat trees. We spent over 60 hours testing these cat trees, paying attention to key factors like thoroughness, quality of materials, and long-term reliability.
Based on this extensive research and hands-on testing, we’ve selected the following cat trees as the best you can buy.
The Best Cat Trees, Towers, and Condos on the Market Reviewed
Choosing the Best Cat Tree—Qualities of a Great Cat Tree, Tower, or Condo
The Best Cat Trees Are Tall
Imagine suddenly shrinking down to your cat’s height. After exploring the hidden world at ground level, wouldn’t you want a way to look down at your environment from above?
If your furry friend is afraid of unfamiliar people, loud noises, or other cats – or if they’re generally stressed out – a tall cat tree can help to get them off the floor and out of the fear zone. The more stress-induced behavioral problems your cat has, the taller their cat tree should be.
Watch your cat’s climbing behaviors to gauge their personal desire for height. One cat might hop to the top of the refrigerator, while another seldom jumps higher than your desk.
Use this natural behavior as a guide, but don’t let your cat’s current habits limit their future. Some cats are shy and inhibited and will hide under the bed until they’re given vertical territory.
The Best Cat Trees Are Constructed From Strong Wood or Wood Products
Ultimately, the materials used to make the cat tree aren’t as significant as the tree’s construction quality. That said, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the materials used to make cat trees.
There are several types of derivative wood products.
- Plywood is composed of thin layers of wood glued together. Because it’s very strong, plywood is an excellent cat tree building material.
- MDF or medium density fiberboard is a type of compressed wood made from wood flour and glue. It’s a high-grade composite that’s often stronger than natural wood.
- Particleboard is made from wood byproducts bound with synthetic resin or other binders, and it’s an economical, slightly weaker alternative to plywood or solid wood.
Because they’re made from unpredictable, inconsistent natural materials, cat trees made from solid wood are typically more expensive than those made with engineered wood products.
Cat trees made from solid wood are often artisanal pieces that place an emphasis on design quality.
The Best Cat Trees Are Covered in Comfortable, Durable Materials
Your cat won’t only scratch the tree’s dedicated scratching posts. They’ll dig their claws into almost every surface of the tree. The tree’s covering materials should be strong and durable for years of clawing and fun.
Carpeted cat trees have the greatest longevity and feel nice under your cat’s claws. From a practical standpoint, carpet-covered trees are your best choice.
They’re more aesthetically pleasing than carpet-covered cat trees, but fleece materials are less durable than carpet. Some people say their cats slip when trying to jump onto fleece trees.
Like real fur, faux fur comes in multiple lengths and thicknesses. Longer faux fur gets dirty quickly and can be difficult to clean. Shorter, denser faux fur has the same benefits and drawbacks associated with faux fleece.
Some cat trees, especially those exploring a chic, stylish concept, may not have any soft covering at all. They may be made from laminated wood with patches of scratchable material. These are fun for some cats and uncomfortable for others.
Again, personal preference is the deciding factor here, so observe your cat’s behaviors to anticipate how they’ll respond to any given type of cat tree.
The Best Cat Trees Are Sturdy
You need a cat tree that can handle routine cat attacks. Most cats aren’t afraid to climb to the very top of a tree, but if they feel a wobble, they’ll be nervous. If the tree topples, they might never use it again—and for good reason.
Look for trees with substantial bases, heavy construction, and a reputation of stability.
The Best Cat Trees Have Features That Suit Your Cat’s Style
Some cat trees have cubby holes, multiple platforms, dangly toys, and numerous scratching posts. These features can be fun, but you have to know your cat and whether or not they’ll be into it.
Before you buy a tree, think about your cat’s personality and play style.
If you’ve spent time with your cat outdoors, think about their reaction to a real tree. Do they like to climb as high as possible, or are they afraid to touch bark? Are they all about scratching or are they more inclined to chase after blowing leaves?
Is your cat more of a sleeper than a climber? Choose a cat tree that features covered hideaways for napping or maybe even a hanging hammock. Look for a cat tree with cat toys like hanging balls as well, if that’s something your cat enjoys.
Give your cat as much play space and play options as their personality demands and your budget, floor space, and personal taste will allow. You might want to give your cat a rollicking good time with a monstrosity like this, but is it really worth the price and visual impact? You decide.
The Best Cat Trees Coordinate With Your Home Decor
Your cat doesn’t make any fashion demands—they want a place where they can freshen up their claws, stretch, get a little exercise, and pretend they’re lounging in a fever tree. These needs could be equally satisfied by a beige carpet jungle gym or a sleek piece of modern art.
When it comes to aesthetics, be selfish. It’s your house and your choice so shop as if the cat tree is a piece of furniture you’re adding to your home.
The Best Cat Trees Fit In Your Budget
Cat trees run the price spectrum, but it’s almost impossible to find a tree priced lower than $25 at retail. Those around the $25 mark are typically smaller trees with fewer features. Most cat trees fall within the $45-$200 range, and this is where you’ll see a lot of variety in size, construction quality, and design.
Most cat trees over $200 have some extraordinary characteristics to justify the price.
These include extra-large size, chic design, or exceptional workmanship. Some of them are zany novelty items, like this 82-lb Kitty Titanic Condo, which allows your cat to survive the sinking of a carpet-covered Titanic for just $1,999.
How To Make Your Own Cat Tree – DIY Cat Tree Ideas?
Not satisfied by the selection of trees on the market? Here are a few resources to help you complete your own DIY cat tree project.
Ikea Pet Furniture Hacks contributors have come up with a lot of cool ideas for making your own cat trees, condos, shelving, and other cat furniture.
How To Build A Custom Cat Tree?
This video tutorial will help cat owners like you construct a full-feature cat tree over the course of a weekend.
- The 5 Best Cat Scratchers for Indoor Cats
- Making a Cat Tree Using Real Branches
- The Best Cat Trees, Towers, & Condos for Large Cats
Frequently Asked Questions
How big a cat tree should I get?
Generally speaking, the tree should be large enough for your feline friend to stretch out or climb it and any cubbies or hideaways should be large enough for your cat to comfortably curl up in. If your cat is a climber or if he’s young and active, a taller tree is the way to go. For older cats, stick with something smaller.
Is it okay to buy a used cat tree?
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative than buying a new cat tree, you might consider a used one. The trouble with this is that the cat tree will have another cat’s odor all over it which could stress your cat out – it may even trigger urine marking behavior. Cat trees can also harbor odors and materials from the previous home which might cause an adverse reaction in your cat or other pets.
Where should I put a cat tree?
A cat tree condo should provide your cat with ample place to play, rest, and view their territory. You should place it in a spacious room in a spot where your cat can see as much as possible. Corner locations are usually a good option because you won’t miss the floor space as much.