10 Best Cat Trees of 2023 (so far)
Finding the best cat trees usually means combing through reviews, determining what features are the most important to both you and your kitty and deciding on the best design for your space. It can feel like an overwhelming task, but don't worry! That's exactly what we're going to cover in this article.
Here at tuft + paw, we are cat experts. We're intimately familiar with the features that are most important to cats, like sturdiness and scratching materials. To make this list we consulted a veterinarian, cat behaviorist, and product designer to determine which ten cat trees separate themselves from the pack.
Tip: If you're looking for something a little smaller for your cat's activities, check out our list of the best scratching posts.
Cheat Sheet: The Best Cat Trees
|Best Overall||tuft + paw Milo Cat Tower|
Frisco 38-in Cat Tree
|Best Modern||tuft + paw Grove Cat Tower|
|Best on Amazon||Hey-brother Multi-Level Cat Tree|
|Most Unique||Phoenix Feline Furniture Cat Tree|
What's the point of a cat tree?
Indoor cats don’t always have their climbing and scratching instincts satisfied. That’s why cat trees, also known as cat towers, are important furniture for indoor cats. In fact, we talked to our resident veterinarian, Megan Tieber, and got the lowdown on why homes need cat trees:
“Cat trees are especially useful in small homes and apartments to give cats the space they need to relax. Cats naturally prefer elevated positions where they can look down on their surroundings and see out a window.”
Why Cats Need Cat Trees
Cat trees are essential for creating a happy feline home. If your cat lives primarily indoors, they need space to scratch, climb and hide as needed, and of course soak up some valuable sunbeams to recharge. It's possible to satisfy these feline needs with several smaller pieces (like a window hammock and scratching post), but a good cat tree covers almost everything in one piece of furniture.
Let’s take a look at what makes cat towers so important for the home.
Cats are highly territorial animals that value their own space. An abundance of vertical space can be essential for maintaining a peaceful home in a multi-cat household. Veterinarian Megan Tieber explains it best:
“Cats need a space where they can feel safe, especially if they are feeling stressed by other pets in the home.”
If your cat is part of a multi-pet household, it’s important to provide them with their own vertical territory in the form of a cat tower. This allows cats to have their own space to look over their domain (because let’s be real, they own the place) and be able to relax in peace. It also prevents them from using unwanted spaces like countertops.
For indoor cats, there can be a shortage of exercise, especially if busy owners forget to play with them! Though fat cats are fun to squish, it’s best to have an easily available form of play and exercise for cats to keep them alert and healthy.
Enter: cat trees. Cat trees often have toys attached to them that encourage cats to jump, play and scratch. From tunnels to ladders, cat towers are great spaces for cats to play with each other, or by themselves. This allows for cats to have a gym of their own.
According to PetMD cats sleep on average around fifteen hours a day! For cat owners, this comes as no surprise. Kitties love to snooze. Cat trees make for a great sleeping and relaxation spot for cats, especially in front of a sunny window. A cat tree with a soft platform is a great spot for a catnap and allows for some solitary time away from other pets and humans.
Cat Tree Features
Cat caves, sometimes known as cat condos, are the cubby holes that some cat trees have. These relaxation spaces are great for cats that are more on the shy side and crave more isolation and security. However, if you have a larger cat, the cat condos may be too small for them. It’s a good idea to check the dimensions to make sure your cat can comfortably fit inside their cave to ensure your cat tree will be used.
Cat trees can also double as scratching posts. Many cat trees features posts that are covered by carpet or sometimes sisal. This texture is appealing to cats and encourages them to scratch, climb and stretch. Providing a scratching surface can help prevent cats from scratching on furniture and walls. Scratching is a healthy behavior for cats, so it’s important to provide them with an outlet to do so. Our vet friend Megan has some more insight on this behavior:
“Scratching is a natural instinct for cats--it allows them to stretch, mark their territory, and wear down sharp claws... posts that are placed in key areas around the home provide environmental enrichment for cats.”
Platform levels are an especially important feature in multi-cat households. Cats are naturally territorial and often develop hierarchies inside the home, with the dominating cat often taking over higher levels. If you’ve noticed more scuffles breaking out among your cats, that might be a sign that they’re lacking personal territory and vertical space. Cat trees with multiple levels can help alleviate that tension within your home.
Cats towers aren’t just lounging spaces, they can also be like a personal gym for your cat. Towers that feature cat toys, ladders and tubes can be great encouragement for active play. If your cat is in need for some extra enrichment in their life, a cat tree with toys is a great way to go.
Cats are natural born climbers. If you have a counter-explorer or a bookshelf-scaler, your cat may be craving some climbing time. While there are shorter cat trees available that are great for kittens to play on, a taller cat tree might be preferable if you observe a strong climbing instinct in your pet.
The final thing to consider when investing in a cat tree is how it will look in your home. This decision is all yours (unless your cat has an opinion on aesthetics). Considering a cat tree is often the largest and most expensive piece of cat furniture, it's important to balance functionality with form so that both your cat's needs and your human wants are satisfied. After all, you both have a right to a comfortable home.
Cat Tree FAQs
Does my cat tree need to be secured to a wall?
It depends. Cat trees with larger, heavier bases may not need to be secured to a wall or weighted down. If you notice your cat tree rocking or tipping while your cat is jumping on it, it might be a good idea to secure it to the wall or weight the base. Additionally, cats who notice their cat tree rocking or tipping unexpectedly may not use the cat tree out of fear.
When should my cat tree be replaced?
If your cat loves to scratch and you notice your cat tree has become damaged or become unsightly, it may be a good idea to replace it. Also, if you notice your platforms sagging or tilting, it’s a good idea to replace your cat tree to ensure the safety of your pets. Durable scratching materials like sisal rope will help your cat tree survive the rigors of daily life.
How do I clean my cat tree?
A vacuum is a great way to remove hair and dander from cat trees. If your vacuum has a brush attachment, use that to help gather cat hair away from the cat tree. Stains can be removed with hot water, a tooth brush, and baking soda or dish detergent. There are also many pet-safe odor removers commercially available to help freshen up your cat tree.
How do I teach my cat to use their cat tree?
If you’re purchasing your cat tree to try and deter your cat from scratching, it’s important to place your cat tree near their favorite scratching spot. Additionally, cats tend to use items that are in active areas of the house, so place it where they enjoy being the most. You can also use Feliway and catnip to help attract the cat to the cat tree. For more detailed answers see our article on how to introduce your cat to new furniture.
@tuftandpaw the way that there's a perch for each of them 🥺🐈⬛🐈⬛🐈⬛ #cattree #cattower #scratchpost #cutecatfurniture #catdecor #homedecor #furnitureforcats #catscratcher ♬ gford._ gets no maidens - $avøry-$adisticpai
Deep Dive: The 10 Best Cat Trees
Best Overall: tuft + paw Milo Cat Tower
Rating: 4.9/5 with 26 reviews
Materials: Birch plywood, carpet, rope, crystal hammock
The Milo Cat Tower does everything, and that's why it's our pick for best overall cat tree. Not only is this tower over five feet tall, it's also a modern take on a more traditional cat tree. This cat tower features sisal rope, removable carpet platforms as well as a climbing pole and a bowl hammock. It’s the ultimate playground for cats! Of course, such a deluxe cat tree comes with a price tag to match, and it's likely too large for small apartments. That being said, if you have an active cat(s) and want an aesthetically pleasing cat tree, you can't do better than the Milo.
|Removable Carpet: Carpet pads can be removed, cleaned, or even replaced.||
Price: Quality comes with a price, but this cat tree is built to last a lifetime.
|Hammock: A fish bowl type hammock is certain to give a secure resting place for your feline friend.||
Size: Not well-suited for small living spaces.
|Climbing Features: With a ramp and a climbing pole, there are plenty of opportunities for a cat to stretch and exercise.|
|Height: At 62" tall, this tower is cat perch heaven.|
Runner Up: tuft + paw Frond Modern Cat Tree
Rating: 4.4/5 with 16 reviews
Materials: Premium plywood, sisal rope, ash veneer
For a sleek, simple design featuring clean lines, look no further than the Frond Cat Tree. This modern cat tree is perfect next to a window--it provides height for cats and has multiple platforms, but takes up very little floor space. Cats also love the sisal-wrapped central pillar, which acts as a super long scratching post. The only real limitation is that it's somewhat pricey. If you're looking to invest in a nice cat tree and have an eye for MCM decor, the Frond is a standout choice.
|Space Saving: At a slightly smaller footprint and width, this modern cat tree is great for apartments.||
Simplicity: Is this a pro or con? It depends on what you’re looking for. This cat tree offers platforms and a scratching post, but no toys or hammocks.
|Multi-Platformed: With three levels, the Frond Cat Tree offers many views for your cats to choose from.||Price: At $299, this tree may be out of budget for some cat parents.|
|Materials: Made with natural wood and sisal, this cat tree is built to last.|
Best Budget: Frisco 38-in Cat Tree
Rating: 4.5/5 with 847 Chewy reviews
Materials: Engineered wood, felt, faux fur, sisal rope
This tree by Chewy's in-house brand Frisco provides just about everything a cat needs for less than $50: condo, cozy top perch, sisal-wrapped posts, and a little toy. It's only about 3 feet tall, so cats that like high perches might not be satisfied with its height, though it should do the job for most felines. Cat parents who are particular about their interior decorating might find it lacking in the style department, and the synthetic carpet will shed over time, but hey, it's a budget pick! Functionality comes first.
|Value: This is about as complete a cat tree as you can get for under $50||Style: As a budget pick this tree doesn't prioritize style.|
|Multi-Purpose: This tree includes a perch, condo, scratching post, and toy||Height: This tree doesn't offer particularly high perches.|
|Sisal Rope: Sisal is one of the best scratching post textures for cats.||Carpet: This cat tree is covered in carpet, which will shed over time.|
Runner Up: Go Pet Club 35" Cat Tree Condo
Materials: Wood, faux fur, sisal rope
If you're willing to sacrifice a bit on aesthetics, this cat tree might be just the ticket. Go Pet Club's cat trees are popular for their functionality and accessible price points. This particular model features three platforms, sisal-wrapped posts, and cozy faux fur. It's only 35" tall, so it might be better for small cats or those who aren't desperate for the highest perches. Another consideration is that the synthetic carpet will shed over time and may be worn out on the lower posts by energetic climbers. Overall though, this tree provides plenty of bang for your buck.
Multi-Purpose: This tree has three perches and scratching posts.
Style: If you’re looking for a more modern take on a cat tree, you’ll probably pass this one up.
Sisal Rope: Sisal is one of the best scratching post textures for cats.
|Carpet: This cat tree is covered in carpet, which will eventually shed and be stained over time.|
|Price: Not bad value for sub-$70.||
Height: This tree is a few inches shorter than our top budget pick.
Best Modern: tuft + paw Grove Modern Cat Tower
Rating: 4.8/5 with 28 reviews
Materials: Premium plywood, ash veneer, faux shearling
The Grove Cat Tower is simply a gorgeous piece of furniture--it just also happens to be designed with cats in mind! Both the top cushioned platform and lower round alcove are lined with faux shearling, meaning this tower can serve as both a bed and perch. The slatted design allows cats to have a full view of their surroundings while cozied up inside, and it also adds a visual lightness that you don't usually find in cat furniture. The downsides are the higher price tag and modest height of two feet. There is a taller version available, but it's more expensive.
Tip: If you love the Grove's modern look but want a tree with more scratching surface, check out our Sprout Cat Tower.
|Quality Materials: You won’t find tan carpet on this cat tree. It’s made of premium faux shearling and ash veneer.||
Price: This cat tree's high price reflects its quality construction and durable materials.
Elegant Design: This modern tree elevates a room's look, rather than detracting from it. It’s not just a cat tower, it’s a piece of home furniture.
Height: This cat tree is on the shorter side (2 ft tall).
Multi-Purpose: This modern cat tree offers a perch and a lounging area for your cats.
Runner Up: Catit Vesper High Base
Rating: 4.5/5 with 194 Google reviews
Materials: medium-density fiberboard, laminate, memory foam, seagrass rope, sisal fabric
This cat tree's design isn't quite as forward-thinking as our top modern pick, but it does come with some great features and still looks sleeker than most. The Vesper High Base has a condo, two platforms, seagrass-wrapped posts, memory foam cushions, and an added toy for good measure. We think it's a good multi-purpose option if modern design isn't your top priority, but you still want a tree that looks decent for a mid-range price.
Modern Look: You won’t find any carpet on this cat tree.
Bulky: This cat condo is a bit bigger than other streamlined cat trees.
Cat Condo: A little hideaway is great for shy cats.
|Price: Though cheaper than our first pick, some might not want to spend $160 on a cat tree.|
|Multi-Purpose: Scratching posts, multiple perches, and an added toy give your cat plenty of options.|
Best on Amazon: Hey-brother Multi-Level Large Cat Tree
Rating: 4.7/5 with 1,387 Amazon reviews
Materials: Particle board, sisal rope, faux fur carpet
This sizeable cat tree is perfect for multi-cat households. It has multiple platforms and hammocks, sisal-wrapped posts, a condo, and even a ramp, all of which provide ample room for cat team escapades. It's also a great height, clocking in at 58" tall. It's by no means the sleekest tree on our list and if you're not a beige-carpet-enjoyer you'll want to look elsewhere (plus that carpet will shed a fair bit over time), but for $105 your cats will be pleased.
|Size: This tree is big enough for multiple cats.||Style: If design is important to you, this tree might miss the mark.|
|Multi-Purpose: This tree provides scratching posts, beds, perches, and toys.||
Carpet: This cat tree is covered in carpet, which will eventually shed and be stained over time.
|Price: This tree is quite affordable for its size.||Size: Not well-suited for small living spaces.|
Runner Up: PawHut Multi-Level Cat Tree
Rating: 4.5/5 with 85 reviews
Materials: medium-density fiberboard, sisal rope, foam cushions
This cat tree is a little more traditional looking, but still modern. It has multi-level platforms, a cat condo, and even cushions for cats to hang out on. It looks quite similar to the Catit Vesper High Base (our "modern" runner-up), but at a lower price. If you're looking for a versatile, reasonably-priced tree that isn't covered in ugly carpet, this is a great option.
|Tall: This cat tree is at a nice height, so cats can see over their domain Lion King style.||
Reviews: There aren’t many Amazon reviews of this product, so you might want to research further if you can.
|Solid Materials: The sisal rope and MDF should stand up to most wear and tear.|
Multi-Purpose: Scratching posts, multiple perches, and an added toy give your cat plenty of options.
Most Unique: Phoenix Feline Furniture Large Cat Tree
Materials: Natural driftwood, carpet, sisal rope
Speaking of unique cat trees, how about a cat tree made from actual trees? Phoenix Feline Furniture is a one-person operation that creates handmade cat trees from driftwood for a totally unique look! Each tree is a 1-of-1 and the materials are natural and durable, so you can be sure they'll last a long while. These trees come with multiple carpeted platforms, a sisal-wrapped scratching post, and an added ball toy. If your decor leans rustic, these cat trees will fit right in.
Multi-Purpose: Scratching posts, multiple perches, and an added toy give your cat plenty of options.
Price: The handmade nature of this tree is reflected in the price.
|Materials: Natural driftwood and sisal are as durable is it gets.||Space: Larger cat trees take up a bit more floor space.|
|Unique Look: Each tree is a 1-of-1 and has a charming outdoorsy style.|
Runner Up: Katris Modular Cat Tree
Rating: 4.1/5 with 72 reviews
Cats are pretty good at playing Tetris with their bodies, so why not get them a cat tree that imitates their flexible moves? Use these Katris blocks to shape the cat tree of your dreams. This cat tree is more durable and more modern looking than most cardboard cat furniture, while still providing that nice corrugated texture that cats love. Nearly every surface of this tree is scratchable and climbable! Of course, it is a pretty penny for cardboard, so we understand if it's not worth it to most cat parents.
Unique Look: Mix and match the blocks to create a cat tree that’s totally unique to your home.
Materials: Cardboard will break down faster than sisal and wood, shed little bits, and is vulnerable to moisture.
Eco-Friendly: This cat tree is constructed using recycled content, so it’s great for the Earth as well!
|Height: You can add more to this cat tree to make it even taller, but the base set won’t get your kitty very tall.|
|Exploration: With the ability to build onto the cat tree, your cat will have plenty to explore later on.||Price: This tree is quite expensive considering the materials.|
That wraps up our list of the 10 best cat trees! We hope you found this list useful on your mission to furnish the perfect cat home. Every cat has their own specific preferences, so make sure you pay attention to what spaces your cat like to hang out in before splurging on a tree. With a little research, you'll be able to pick out a tree that can last your feline buddy their whole lifetime.
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My cat Mabel was hit by a car, since finding her dead, I was prompted to keep in Tj my other cat. For fear of her life. As, my cats have also been subjected to my neighbours dislike of them (nails)were placed around her garden. And so the IMPORTANCE of finding the right environmental-toils that are also homelike has been my quest. And i think TuFT + Paw has got everything right. Cats do deserve the best….because they can face a lot of adversity from humans. So thank you T& P for thinking about them.