Cat trees are great entertainment for cats, and if you have an inside cat, they’re an essential item. In Australia a lot of cats are kept indoors or limited to enclosed verandas and so on, not only to save the amazing small wildlife we have here, but also to protect the cat from snakes. Having lost one cat (Prince George – click here to see a wonderful video of him and there are more on my cat playlist on my You Tube Channel) to a snake, my little boys Mani (pronounced marni) and Loki (low-key) are kept inside the house apart from an enclosed area off the veranda.
Benefits of Cat Trees
Cat trees provide a place to:
- hide – if you have a box as part of the tree.
Cats need all of these things.
Ready Made Cat Trees
You’ll find ready-made cat trees at major pet stores, but they tend to be expensive. You can also find cheaper ones at K-Mart, a local reject store or on ebay. If you’re paying more than around $50 for a complex one, make sure that they have carpet covering, not velvet. Velvet doesn’t last and the cats aren’t particularly interested in it. Rope wasn’t successful with my cats either. A velvet covered cat tree or cat scratching post is a cheap one and should be priced accordingly.
The one in the photo above is a hybrid. On the left is a cheap K-Mart tree ($50) covered in velvet, and the single pillar on the right is a home made one covered in carpet which is much more effective. They love to put their paws on either side and climb up it.
D.I.Y Cat Trees
Adapt a cheap one
A simple D.I.Y. option is to buy a cheap one with velvet covering and recover it in carpet off cuts. Carpet places often sell offcuts. Short pile heavy duty carpet works better than long pile. We had a long pile on that grey pillar mentioned above and it soon got teased out and they lost interest in it so we had to recover it with a shorter pile.
Make one from a pattern or copy one
The simplest way to make your own cat tree is to put a series of carpet covered shelves on a wall, but there are lots of other creative ways to make them. Search for D.I.Y cat trees and see what you can find. You’ll certainly come up with some ideas. There are 10 great ideas on this website.
Use an actual tree
After we made an outdoor enclosed area for Mani and Loki, I made a cat tree and attached it to a wall under a veranda. I live in the bush so finding a sturdy branch was relatively easy, but you could ask a farmer who has an area of bush if he or she’d be willing to let you look for a suitable branch that’s fallen down – eucalypts drop branches all the time. A friend and I dragged this one out of the bush – it was heavier than we thought – and then we put it on a trailer to get it home.
After attaching it to the wall with strips of tin, we added perches covered in bits of carpet. The carpet ramp works really well – they love stretching up along it – and the bit of carpet wrapped around the trunk allows them to climb the tree with ease.
This is outside so we kept it rough, and it’s temporary position, so we haven’t bothered to paint the supporting pieces of wood. The house will be renovated next year and it will be moved. But you could sand and polish it if it’s going to be inside and you want the smooth and shiny look.
My one is a bit rough, but it does the job. Here’s some shots of the boys enjoying their outside tree. They love chasing each other over it.
Do you have a cat tree? What kind is it?
If you’re looking to buy a cat tree, click the link for a website that might help
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