Choosing a cat tree can be an overwhelming task. Every furry feline is different and the search can be compounded if you have multiple cats, each with their own distinct personality and needs. If you’re in a hurry, check out our top pick – the best all rounder chosen for style and quality: Armarkat 57 Inch Cat Tree.
In the past, I made decisions about my cats’ climbing and perching needs based on what I thought I would like. It sounds crazy (it was) and ineffective (totally), but 10 years ago, I had no yardstick by which to separate the good from the bad. In other words, I could have benefited from some basic education about the best cat tree picks available and which ones would have best suited my little fur-girl Cindy, and my big boy Ralph.
A Summary of Our Top Ten Cat Trees
Here’s a quick summary of the cat trees. For the full in depth summary, read on.
What’s it Best For?
Name of Cat Tree
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The Benefits of Having a Cat Tree
It’s been said that humans live in a horizontal world whereas cats live in a vertical one. Therefore, giving your cat access to height and fun with the right tree encourages many positive behaviours:
- Having height for safety is embedded in a cat’s DNA (think of all the cartoons where a fireman rescues a cat from a tree.)
- If your cat is shy, having a safe place to hide is not only soothing for her, but also gives her a dedicated space without foreign smells and sounds.
- Having multiple perches in a larger tree allows more than one cat to enjoy its features while also maintaining the “pecking order”.
- Cat trees are a great source of exercise and play!
What Should You Consider When Looking for a Cat Tree?
The size and shape of the cat tree you select will depend on a number of factors based on need, form and function. These include:
Do you live in a house or a condo? Do you have low ceilings? Large windows? Is there a lot of noise and bustling activity day-to-day? What room will your cat tree reside in? Like any piece of furniture in your home, you’ll want to plan the layout of your room in advance and where your cat tree will fit into it.
Is your cat primarily indoors or outdoors? What does he usually scratch? If he’s mostly outdoors, a tree that closely resembles wood might be most fitting. Alternately, tightly-wound sisal seems to be universally appealing to most felines. Watch your cat when he scratches things to determine what your tree should be mainly comprised of.
The number of cats in your home might affect the kind of tree you’re looking for. Do they all get along, or do they need separate compartments and/or designated “floors” to keep the peace?
Cindy and Ralph were notorious for their love/hate dynamic, so we bought them each their own cat tree. Given we were living in a two bedroom apartment, it probably wasn’t the best space-saving idea, and in retrospect wasn’t necessary, but there was definitely less fur flying during “time outs” and Ralph got to keep his status as Top Cat.
Age & Temperament
Depending on where your cat is in relation to age milestones, he may be content just lying in the sun atop a perch in front of a window. Conversely, a wee kitten might spend all day batting around a well-placed hanging toy or playing “Peek-A-Boo” inside a hidey-hole in the tree.
Similarly, the size of your cat will be a good indicator of not only the size of your cat tree, but the number of “bells and whistles” you’ll want to add. For example, if he’s overweight, a cat tree can become a good obstacle course to burn off unwanted pounds.
Full disclosure: My fur-guys were destructive. They scratched everything. I won’t bore you with the Ottoman-gate debacle of 2007, but suffice to say that afterwards, they were persona non grata at my parents’ home. So for us, multiple scratching posts on our cat tree were non-negotiable. Toys, ropes and scratching posts are all incredibly useful features to keep your cat entertained and engaged.
Based on all of the factors discussed above, we’ve identified our top 10 best cat tree picks of 2019. The selection was made by Lucie Wilkins, a registered vet nurse. Lucie has a certificate in Feline Nursing and most importantly has lived with cats for over 30 years. And now, on with the list!
Top Pick – Best all rounder:
Quality, endurance and style – these are just a few ways to describe the Armarkat tree.
Built to last with a sturdy base and foundation, this well-designed structure is comprised of pet-friendly materials and comes with multiple perches, sisal-covered scratching posts and a housing area with a wide circumference to accommodate larger cats – one owner claimed her 18+ lb. Maine Coon could float in and out of it with no problem!
This tree is easy to assemble and comes with a manufacturer’s warranty on replacement parts. In other words, if you’re looking for a tree that lets your furry guy scratch, climb and rest, we think this classic model is a great all-around fit for most of your cat-climbing needs.
- The tree is easy to assemble and takes less than an hour to put together.
- Has a suspended plush toy and rope to encourage playtime.
- All posts are covered in sisal for long-lasting scratching
- One owner claimed the platforms aren’t big enough for medium to large-sized cats.
- The fleece interior can rip over time and with repeated use.
Best Cat Tree for Large Cats:
You can see our full list of best cat trees for large cats here.
My Big Daddy Ralph was easily 20+ lbs of cuddles, therefore he would have LOVED this tree. The structure is covered in dark soft plush, which is glued directly onto the surface so there’s less risk of pulling it off with repeated use. In addition. all posts are covered in sisal for scratching (also glued directly to the posts to prevent unwinding).
The housing unit is located at the base of the tree which is great for reinforcing a sturdy base with proper weight distribution. The fixing parts are made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), a thermoplastic polymer that’s durable and extra-strong for extra-large kitties.
Owners of larger cats have commented that this tree is incredibly sturdy and the suspended baskets can accommodate their heavier pets with ease.
Dimensions: 59” H x 24” W x 22” D
- Plush fabric covers the entire structure so you never see unfinished wood.
- Baskets are super-strong and can hold larger or plus-sized cats.
- Due to its size and weight, it requires more than one person to assemble.therefore
Best Cat Tree With a Hammock
You can view our full list of best cat trees with hammocks here.
Your cat should feel safe and secure while swaying in his hammock. This tree by Feandra comes with a plethora of anti-toppling measures to make sure it can keep up with your feline’s activities.
Feandra takes your cat’s safety and security into account with CARB-certified (California Air Resources Board) particle board to ensure lower formaldehyde emissions. The posts are reinforced to prevent toppling and covered in natural sisal to support scratching. The base has extra battens for sturdy support, even with multiple pets at play.
Finally, the soft, fuzzy hammock is supported at four points (not two) to prevent accidents or injury. If your kitty enjoys lounging around in a tree with built in baskets and a hammock (and really, who doesn’t?), he’ll think this model is totally purrrfect!
Dimensions: 36.2″ D x 35.4″ W x 68.5″ H
- This tree comes with a feeding bowl so your cat can eat and rest at an elevated level.
- Built with anti-toppling fittings for added security.
- Comes with a wall attachment to secure it for added safety.
- The fabric on the posts (where the sisal stops) gets frayed easily due to scratching.
- Larger cats might have difficulty in the basket.
Best Floor to Ceiling Cat Tree
Whether you live in a house with tall ceilings or a smaller condo, this cat tree can adjust to suit your lifestyle.
Designed to fit floor-to-ceiling (there’s a ceiling attachment), the height on the Zaragoza can easily adjust from 87” to 102”. Better yet, there’s no drilling required – the extension acts like an extendable shower rod to fit right up to your ceiling. Most owners of this model have commented that their very active cats were well-supported when using it, even when running, jumping and chasing!
Other features include a fleece-lined cubby, multiple wide perches to support most cats and a hidey spot for security. The posts and ladder rungs are covered in sisal to encourage scratching the tree (not your furniture). Overall, this is a great purchase if you need the security of having adjustable height or have furry friends who like to ride high in the saddle!
Dimensions: 26.8” W x 22” D x 102” H (adjustable)
- The tunnel has an exit and entry point to encourage playtime.
- The post and rungs are sisal-covered
- The extendable height rod doesn’t require drilling into your ceiling
- Some owners have claimed that the platforms are too small for their cat(s).
- Can be tricky to assemble (ask a friend to help).
Best Corner Cat Tree
Satisfied customers LOVE this cat tree design, which is perfectly angled to sit “kitty-corner” in the room. The triangular base fits snugly into any corner, and the perches are similarly angled so as not to lean against the wall.
The multi-level platforms are great for cats who want variety, places to play or for multiple furry nappers. As with the other cat trees listed, the posts are covered in durable, natural sisal to maintain little claws and encourage healthy scratching.
If space is at a premium in your home, having a play structure the nestles into the corner is a great way to please both your pet and your sense of feng shui.
Dimensions: 25” L x 32 W x 47.5” H
- The faux fur covering is soft and comfortable for little paws and won’t snag on little claws.
- Most owners confirmed this tree is easy to assemble.
- Well-priced compared to more expensive models.
- The house is too small for larger cats (one customer said the opening was only 7” in diameter).
Best Extra Large Cat Tree
This tree is so formidable, you might consider charging your pets rent! We should definitely call this structure a “condo”, with its multi-level platforms, levels and multiple boxes for snuggling and hiding.
The condo is covered in soft plush, which is glued on, so no need to worry about sharp staples or nails injuring your pet. There are plenty of toys attached for added amusement.
Owners of this enormous kitty condo praise its ability to house multiple felines with no problem at all. There’s no fighting for status or angling for that perfect spot by the window. With a structure this big, every cat has his day!
Dimensions: 50″ W x 26″ L x 72″ H
- Accommodates multiple cats with ease.
- Very well-priced considering its size.
- There were some customer concerns about the thickness of the accompanying platforms, which are made of particle board.
Best Small Cat Tree
While the Baza is short in size (only 9lbs. To ship), it goes a long way on impact. Soft, dense shag covers the base and hammock on this simple tree. The hammock has a metal rim for added support, and a pom-pom toy finishes off the play features.
The posts are covered in sisal to deter unwanted scratches all over your belongings (oh, the curtains I’ve lost).
This cat tree is great for single cat owners. We love that it’s small, simple and straightforward. – leave the big personality to your fuzzy buddy.
Dimensions: 16” W x 20” H x 16” D
- A perfect size for kittens and small cats.
- The frame is solid and sturdy, no wobbling at all.
- The toy can come loose easily with rough play.
Best Cat Tree for Multiple Cats
A great living space for multiple felines without the extra-large footprint (or price tag!) There’s two of virtually everything on this cat tree – perches, platforms and house – for double the fun.
The plush, cozy hammock rests just beneath the first platform so your feline diva can have some private time, and most of the posts have sisal attached.
The Bewishome has solid construction and well-balanced design, including a wide base and wall anchor strap to ensure proper safety for your kitties, even if they’re being rambunctious.
While every feline companion is different, this cat tree has enough levels, resting spots and features to truly make it a one-size-fits-all option for your home.
Dimensions: 27.6″ L x 20.1″ W x 57.1″ H
- Easy to assemble
- Very well-priced for its size
- The hammock is detachable if your pet doesn’t like being low to the ground or on the bottom level.
- The bells come off with rough play.
- One owner complained of a strong “catnip” odour
Best Budget Choices
1. Trixie Baldona Cat Tree (Under $30)
This budget-friendly cat tree by Trixie is a simple, straightforward option for cat owners who would rather spend the extra money on cat treats (or…new ottomans. See above).
A plush-lined house/box provides the base for this structure, and is wide enough to accommodate huskier pets. There are two perches to give your cat options, or have a playdate.
The sisal-covered beam ensures your furry friend’s paws will stay away from your furniture and on the post where it belongs.
Dimensions: 14.5” W x 14.5” L x 42.8” H
- Easy to assemble and has a small spatial footprint.
- An economical alternative to larger, more expensive cat structures.
- Some owners claim this cat tree is too small for large cats
- As an owner, you should be careful about the angle of the platforms, as they can cause the structure to be off-balance.
2. Go Pet Club 52” Cat Tree Furniture (Under $50)
Neck-in-neck (paw-in-paw?) with the Trixie model, this fiscally-conscious 52” unit by Go Pet Club covers your pet’s basic tree needs without sending him outdoors to an actual tree.
Composed of compressed wood, faux fur and sisal rope, the condo is an ideal size for medium-sized cats. The ramp is a great touch for cats who might not be able to negotiate a ladder, and multiple perches add height and variance to your cats day-to-day activities.
We really liked this model for its size, which is easy on the eyes, and the price, which is easy on your wallet.
Dimensions: 21″ W x 21″ L x 52″ H
- This condo is so well-priced, you might consider buying two!
- Most customers claim this model is soft, comfortable and very durable.
- Takes little time to put together.
- The toys come off very easily
- A few people have mentioned that the top level platform can be wobbly if not properly fixed to the rest of the structure.
For your time and budget, the clear winner has to be the Armarkat Classic Model B5701 Cat Tree. Feature for feature, this cat tree delivers on every level. There’s no worrying about the stability of its base or framework, and the manufacturers are not only concerned with how it’s made, but what it’s made with – they even offer a warranty to back up their claims. Its moderate size will fit in virtually every home and the multiple levels are perfect for furry fun plus one (or three. Just saying). This is definitely a structure will be with your pet from tiny kitten to hefty feline, and all the adventures in between.