In Europe, it’s believed that only 10% of domestic cats are considered “outdoor” cats – free to roam and hunt as they see fit. In the United States, the number of indoor cats has jumped to 65%. While keeping your pet indoors is definitely safer than letting him wander about outside, there can be side effects and undesirable behavior, especially if your cat has previously tasted the freedom of outdoors.
So why not invest in an outdoor cat tree? A structure designed specifically for outside spaces marries the best of both worlds; your pet can feel like he’s outside in the fresh air, and you get peace of mind knowing he’s safe and secure.
In this post, we’ll look at our top picks for the best outdoor cat trees and houses, as well as the benefits of keeping your cats in a safe, enclosed outdoor space.
Why Keep Your Cat In An Enclosed Space?
It is estimated that outdoor cats live an average of 3 – 5 years, whereas indoor cats live an average of 13 – 17 years. This huge difference in life expectancy should be the main reason to keep you cat safe and sound within the perimeter of your home. Preventing your furry feline from wandering the neighborhood means he’ll avoid the following:
- Viral infections
- Cat fight wounds
- Wild animals
However, if your pet began his life outside, moving him inside permanently may be a challenge, so why not provide an amazing climbing tree or multi-level cat home that can be used outdoors, surrounded by an enclosure such as a fence or screen? Cats in captivity have special requirements to make sure they’re stimulated and happy.
An appropriate scratching surface should be first on the list. Not only does scratching promote good claw health, scratching works off stress and exercises certain muscle groups – not to mention scratching a designated spot will keep your kitty from clawing your furniture!
Your pet can also benefit from a range of toys to keep him stimulated. Finally, your indoor cat should be able to access most of the house or have free rein over the enclosed outdoor space you’ve allotted so he doesn’t get bored.
Cats who live indoors are probably getting less exercise than outdoor pets. There are no trees to climb, nothing to hunt, and less territory to roam. To avoid an overweight cat, encourage active play and games that involve running and chasing. When choosing an outdoor cat tree, make sure there are lots of levels, perches and hiding places to pique his interest and keep him active.
If you’ve decided that your cat should remain inside permanently, there are safe ways to have them experience the outside world, such as perching on a (closed) windowsill, or observing the world from atop a tall indoor cat tree. The next option, and the focus of this post, is an outdoor cat tree – perhaps the best way to protect your cat while allowing him to experience a taste of the great outdoors.
What should you look for in an outdoor cat tree?
Regardless of the climate you live in, you’ll want to make sure that anything you keep outdoors for your cat is made of strong materials that can endure the environment. Examples are water-repellent canvas and natural wood. Avoid materials like carpeting, which can get dirty quickly and absorb water, or particle board, which can turn to porridge in the rain.
If your cat tree is free-standing outdoors, you should ensure that the construction is sturdy and has a solid base that won’t topple over during vigorous activity. Conversely, if you plan to pack it up at the end of each day, it should be easy to assemble and take down.
An outdoor cat tree won’t provide any security if you don’t provide something to cover it or to shelter your pet. While you won’t be keeping your cats outdoors in the driving rain, it’s important to have fencing, netting or screens surrounding the structure to avoid wandering and to shade your fur-buddies from the elements.
Our Favorite Outdoor Cat Trees and Houses
Outdoor Cat Trees & Houses
The Pyramid From CatTree (UK)
Over all height 110cm – Floor space needed 140cm by 140cm
The Sky Ladder From CatTree (UK)
Height of 190 cm (6 foot 3 inches)
4 Tier Outdoor Cat Tree From Cat Tree (UK)
Length 60cm Width 50cm Height 140cm
5 Tier Outdoor Cat Tree From CatTree (UK)
Base 60cm by 50cm Height 185cm
The Kitty Castle From CatTree (UK)
120cm (4ft) by 50cm (1ft7/8) And 3.5 ft high
Royal Mews Outdoor Cat Tree from Catree (UK)
The frame is 5′ (153cm)long and 5’6″ (170cm)high and 20″ (50cm)wide
Petsfit Outdoor Cat House with Escape Door
30 x 22 x 29 inches
Prestige Cat Trees – Neutral Staggered Cat Tower
31” L x 30” W x 56” H
Petsfit 2-Story Weatherproof Outdoor Kitty Cat House
CatTree UK inherently understands your feline friend; his natural curiosity, innate need to explore, as well as his need for activity and stimulation. That’s why they’ve designed a series of outdoor cat shelters and towers that feed those needs.
The Pyramid taps into your cat’s natural instincts to climb and scratch as he would in the wild. Multiple levels allow your pets to climb and explore in safety, and the strong outdoor frame has been constructed to endure inclement weather and rough-housing.
We adored the sturdy construction and the combination of solid, natural wood and natural sisal-wrapped posts, but what we loved most about the Pyramid was its portability. There’s no assembly required; just unwrap, pull out the legs and hang the hammock!
Inspired by ancient Egyptians, who worshipped cats, it’s apparent that the Pyramid was designed with equal reverence for your pampered pet.
- Solid wood construction
- Easy to assemble
- Great for multiple cats
- Delivery sometimes arrives in multiple boxes, which can be cumbersome and heavy
At a whopping 6 foot 3 inches high, this cat tree is literally and figuratively a “Sky Ladder!” If your cat loves to climb, this one-piece design from CatTree UK is a great fit. This model promises a “good workout” with multiple tiers of zigzagging perches.
Made from solid wood, the Sky Ladder features a wide, solid base to prevent toppling, and sections of the posts are covered in natural sisal for scratching and good claw health.
The Sky Ladder comes fully assembled, no work required. Just unwrap from its packaging and place it where you’d like it. Then, let your fur-buddy check out the view in style. He’ll need no encouragement!
- No assembly required
- A great model for active, energetic cats
- Durable and solid construction
- The Sky Ladder isn’t ideal for sedentary cats, as the levels encourage jumping and climbing.
This four-story model from CatTree features a large, sturdy base which provides a low center of gravity for greater stability. This means you can set this model up on just about any surface, even if the ground is slightly uneven, keeping your furry friend safe and secure.
The generous platform width means that cats of all shapes and sizes can perch comfortably, and a hidey cubby on the base level provides a private space for your pets to relax have a much-deserved cat nap.
Designed with harsh weather conditions in mind, the 4-Tier is made with durable wood and natural rope for scratching. CatTree builds structures that endure, and we expect this model will outlast even the most energetic feline friend’s activity level.
- Great for multiple cats
- Platforms are wide enough for even the largest cat
- Durable construction
- Construction times and delivery dates can vary based on demand
The “Big Brother” of the 4-Tier model, this outdoor cat activity tree is simply enormous, providing your fur-buddy with more activity and play than he can handle!
At over 6 feet tall, your pets will love jumping and climbing between the 5 platforms, and a perch at the very top provides an excellent vantage point to explore the world. A cosy cat cave resides on the base level – the purr-fect sanctuary for curling up and relaxing.
While it looks cumbersome, the 5-Tier cat tree arrives fully assembled so your pets can start climbing and exploring right away. Whether you have big cats, many cats or one cat that loves his space, the 5-Tier provides all the room and activity you could ask for.
- Posts are partially covered with sisal for good claw health
- Made of natural wood, which is naturally fortified against the elements
- Due to its size, you should measure your space to ensure you can accommodate it
Whether your pet is royalty or just acts like he is, the Kitty Castle by CatTree allows him to play and explore like a king.
Platforms, ladders and hideaways adorn this castle, turning your outdoor space into a kingdom, purr-fect for entertaining your Queen Kitty or King Cat. Rope fringes at the hideaway’s entrance provide a game of catch-and-chew, while a series of ramps lead to the upper deck, where your fur-friend can observe his territory.
Beautifully constructed with durable materials to survive not only the weather, but your cats’ activity level, you can rest assured that the Kitty castle will last for years to come.
- Large enough for several pets at a time
- Solid wood construction makes it virtually impossible to destroy
- Multiple levels and activities to pique your pets’ interest
- Due to its size, it may not be suitable for some living spaces
Even the fussiest felines will adore the gold standard of the outdoor cat furniture world. More “luxury hotel” than cat home, there are enough amenities and activities to stimulate your picky kitty.
Each robust tier of the Royal Mews has its own access ramp, making it easier for old and young cats alike to climb and explore. Because being a Royal is exhausting, there are several “sleeping zones” to curl up in and enjoy a cat nap. A wooden box swing hangs from one of the mid-level platforms, perfect for resting, swinging or playing.
If you’re looking for a top-shelf activity centre for your fur-family, then look no further than the Royal Mews.
- Posts are wrapped in sisal for scratching
- Multiple levels are adorned with ramps for easy access
- Shipping costs and times can vary due to its size and construction lead time
While your cat may not care about architecture, you will simply love the cottage-y look and feel of this charming cat house.
Big enough to fit up to 3 cats, this two-level house has two entrance/exit points for easy access. The balcony is covered with an asphalt roof, which repels water and provides shade when the house is placed in direct sunlight.
This model comes with pre-drilled holes for easy assembly, and is made of durable cedar, which naturally repels moisture and prevents rot. The Petsfit house is well-priced and a great investment for continuous outdoor use.
- Petsfit will replace and damaged parts within a year of purchase for free
- Water-based paint is non-toxic and won’t peel
- Comes with a comprehensive one-year warranty
- The slats on the bottom flor do not connect (for ventilation); it might be a good idea to lay a mat or carpeting down to prevent getting stuck
- Not an ideal model for larger cats.
- It’s recommended that owners use an electric drill due to the number of screws included with the package
Similar to the other Petsfit model, this outdoor cat shelter is comprised of solid cedar wood, non-toxic paint and durable, rugged construction. Comprised of solid wood and an asphalt roof, it looks more like a cottage than a cat-climbing structure!
This model is built to endure the weather and will be adored by your pets. With multiple places to rest and hide away from the elements, your curious kitties can catch a quick snooze in their own private space, or travel up a few levels to the observation deck, where they can check up on nature’s activities.
The Petsfit Outdoor Cat House has a removable top for easy cleaning, and pre-drilled holes make it simple to assemble. This is truly a well-priced option for pet owners who want a safe, solid, well-made pet centre.
- Made of cedar, known for its waterproof properties
- Can hold up to 5 cats
- Petsfit offers a 1 year replacement warranty for damaged parts
- Instructions are image-based and can be confusing
- Some users suggested the base be raised a bit higher off the ground to further protect against moisture
As with the previous Petsfit products, this 2-storey cat house has the addition of an acrylic door on the main level to keep out wind and rain.
The asphalt roof lifts up for easy access to clean (or pet your pets) and slants to allow run-off of snow or rain, so you can rest assured that no moisture will enter the structure. The multilevel steps outside of the structure allow your cat to jump right up to the upper level; if the weather is less than ideal, your furry feline can use the interior hole to climb and access all levels.
Petsfit has worked hard to design a home for your pet that allows for free range outdoor living with the option of being safe and sound indoors when the weather turns.
- Sturdy cedar construction to combat mold and moisture
- Some owners claimed the paint is thin and chips easily
- Larger cats may have difficulty in the small holes/entrances
We would have to declare the CatTree Pyramid to be the clear winner on our list. Each product from this company is hand-constructed from actual logs. The resulting profile most closely resembles a tree, giving your fur-friends the illusion of being in the wild.
With all of the extra amenities such as sisal scratching posts and a gently swinging hammock, the Pyramid not only stimulates and entertains your pet, it also provides an ideal area for lounging and perching. While CatTree products maintain a higher price point than other items on our list, It’s worth making the investment to receive something so easy to assemble, so sturdy and so durable. You will have your CatTree product for years to come.
If your cat loves being in the fresh air, purchasing a play structure specifically designed for the outdoors makes it possible to recreate the feeling of being outside. Going the extra step to add a fence or screen to properly contains your pets will provide security for them and peace of mind for you.