Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Do Cats Need a Cat Tree? What You Need to Know!

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

black cat on a cat tree with condo

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Vet, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Like dogs and other pets, cats need stimulation and exercise to keep themselves healthy and happy. If your cat is allowed to go outdoors, they are probably getting a fair amount of stimulation, fun, and exercise in their outdoor environment. However, when indoors, your cat could certainly benefit from having their very own cat tree where they can hang out, climb, play, and scratch.

Even when indoors, it’s likely that your cat enjoys watching their surroundings from a high vantage point, away from the hustle and bustle of human life. Maybe you often find your cat perched atop the kitchen cabinets peering down at the world below.

Your cat may also scratch on furniture and woodwork as a way to care for their nails. A cat tree can take the place of those kitchen cabinets, woodwork, and furniture, and keep your cat occupied and happy while he’s inside the house.

Do Indoor Cats Need a Cat Tree?

An indoor cat may be considered a low-maintenance pet that doesn’t need to be let in and out of the house regularly or taken outdoors to do their business. However, an indoor cat does need a stimulating environment to take care of their basic needs, which include climbing, scratching, and playing.

While an indoor cat can certainly live a full life without a cat tree, getting one of these feline activity centers for an indoor cat is never a bad idea. All cats like to climb, explore, play, and scratch, whether they’re kept indoors or not!

two cats on a cat tree
Image Credit: Arina Krasnikova, Pexels

How to Choose a Cat Tree

There are many types of cat trees on the market today. Some have little condos or compartments that allow cats to hide, some have toys and scratching posts built-in, and some are tall, while others are low to the ground. All these choices can make picking a cat tree seem like a daunting task, but don’t be overwhelmed!

The key to choosing a cat tree is knowing your cat’s personality and style. Ask yourself the following questions to help narrow down your options.

  • Is your cat a scratcher? If your cat is constantly scratching on your furniture, rugs, and woodwork, you should get a cat tree with at least one built-in scratching post. A good idea is to get a cat tree with multiple scratching posts that are mounted both horizontally and vertically so your cat can scratch while standing and when sitting or lying down.
  • Does your cat enjoy heights? If your cat loves sitting high off the ground, you should get a multi-leveled tall cat tree. A cat tree that’s nearly as high as your ceilings would be a great place for your cat to spend time watching the world below them, and it will keep them out of trouble too!
  • Does your cat like playing alone? Not all cats like to spend lots of time playing with their human owners, as many prefer playing alone. If your cat likes playing with toys by itself, look for a cat tree with built-in toys. If you can’t find one with the types of toys they like, you can attach your own toys to any cat tree, so keep an open mind.
  • Does your cat like to hide? If your cat loves to tuck themself inside boxes, closets, and drawers, you should get a cat tree with condos or compartments.
  • Is your cat young or old? If your cat is a senior citizen and not so active, you don’t need an elaborate cat tree. It’s best to go with one that’s low to the ground with built-in ramps so your cat doesn’t have to jump and climb. If your cat is young, you can go with a more elaborate option that promotes exercise, so your kitty has a safe place to jump, climb, scratch, and play.
ragdoll cat sitting on a cat tree
Image By: izmargad, Shutterstock

Consider Your Budget

We all want to spoil our cats and give them the best that money can buy. But if you’re on a budget, you can’t go out and spend a lot of money on an expensive cat tree that will empty your bank account. That’s why you should decide right from the start how much money you can logically spend on a cat tree.

Cat trees can be very expensive and cost hundreds of dollars. But thankfully, there are lots of budget-friendly cat trees out there—you just have to find them!

Take your time and look at all your options. Visit your local pet stores, keep an eye out for sales, and search online for deals. With a little work, you’ll surely find one that ticks all the right boxes while staying within the constraints of your budget.

Conclusion

While a cat can live happily without a cat tree, it’s never a bad idea to buy your cat one of these fun activity centers. When your cat has a cat tree, they’ll have their very own space to hang out and do what they do best! Cat trees come in a wide assortment of sizes, styles, colors, and materials. Consider your cat’s age, activity level, and style when choosing a cat tree so get one they love!


Featured Image Credit: Madalyn Cox, Unsplash

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database

hepperorangebluebadgebuttonfeb