Cats in the wild climb trees to mark their territory and survey their domain. A cat tree or condo gives domestic kitties that same option.
They also like to scratch on vertical structures, mimicking tree trunks and limbs, which exercises, pulls, and stretches shoulders, back, and hindquarter muscles. This helps keep claws healthy and deter them from scratching furniture.
Cats need a good workout to keep their muscles healthy. This is particularly true for cats who spend most of their time indoors. A cat tree can provide a vertical playground where cats can chase each other up and down and play hide-and-seek in the many hidden areas. When these cats have expended some of their pent-up energy, they are less likely to be frustrated and scratch at things that aren’t supposed to get scratched.
In nature, cats scratch to mark their territory. They also shear their claws as they scratch. The downward pull on their claws helps they keep them healthy and sharp. Many cat trees include scratching posts or pillars that are covered with sisal rope. This is the material that most cats prefer to scratch because it mimics the feel of tree bark. Many of the best cat trees also include horizontal scratching structures that allow cats to stretch their back and shoulder muscles in a different way than they can on vertical surfaces.
In addition to providing a place for cats to sharpen their claws, cat trees can also help to relieve stress. When a cat feels threatened or overwhelmed, they can climb up to their favorite spot in the cat tree and hide there. This allows them to signal to their family or other household members that they need some space and can feel safe and secure from whatever is bothering them.
Cats are programmed to climb, as they’re both predators and competitors who need to be able to survey their surroundings in order to spot prey or potential threats from above. In addition to being an important part of a feline’s natural hunting instincts, climbing also helps them keep their claws sharp and ready for action.
While many people find their cats get into trouble clambering onto counters, desks, bookshelves, the top of the refrigerator and other high spots, a properly placed cat tree can help prevent these behaviors by giving your furry friend a place to explore, climb, scratch and rest. If you don’t have a lot of room for a large cat tree, there are smaller designs that meet the same needs by providing a number of different surfaces to climb and scratch.
Some of these surfaces are covered in soft carpet, while others are made from rough sisal rope to provide a variety of textures to keep your kitty’s paws healthy and mark their territory. These structures can also be used to help stretch shoulder and back muscles in a way that isn’t possible on the ground. Another type of structure to consider is a window perch, which can provide both exercise and mental stimulation by allowing your cat to observe their world from above. Adding interactive toys that stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts, such as feather toys or furry mice, can also be an excellent way to provide both mental and physical stimulation.
Cat trees and condos offer safe, comfy perches for your kitty to relax or sleep the day away. They’re also great for giving her a view of her surroundings from a high vantage point, which helps her to feel secure and in control. Plus, it’s not uncommon for cats to scratch at the bottom of a perch or platform to groom their claws and remove loose layers from their paw pads. This self-care can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Another benefit of cat tree perches is that they’re a great way to establish personal territory. Unlike furniture, which is often seen as public property, cat trees and condos are private areas where your furry family member can feel a sense of security and ownership. This is particularly helpful if you have multiple cats who share a home; it can reduce inter-cat squabbles, which can be caused by territorial issues and a desire to assert dominance through scratching behavior.
Many cat trees provide multiple opportunities for climbing, perching and scratching, making them ideal for busy households. However, if you’re short on space, there are plenty of alternatives, like smaller angled scratchers or small carpeted panels that attach to walls. You can even find a minimalist design that offers the bare necessities, such as Trixie’s Baza Scratching Post with Hammock, which balances a hammock between two sisal-wrapped scratching posts.
Cats are natural climbers, so it’s a natural instinct for them to want to perch up high. They also use perches to mark their territory and relax in a comfortable position while watching the world below. A quality cat tree can help satisfy their climbing and scratching needs, keeping them off your upholstered furniture and other precious surfaces.
The best cat trees feature many different platforms, hiding spots, and toys that provide multiple opportunities to play with your cats. This helps to satiate their energy and mental stimulation, so they’re less likely to keep you up with their hyperactivity and destructive behavior.
In addition, some of the newest cat trees are designed with smaller footprints to save on space in your home. These compact cat trees still pack plenty of appeal for your kitties, providing jute- or sisal-wrapped pillars for scratching and a kitty condo to rest and snooze in.
Whether your cats are fighting over food or just expressing their feelings, scratches are an important part of their emotional health and can help keep their nails healthy. If you’re having trouble getting your cats to stop scratching your upholstered furniture, try spraying areas of the house with citrus or menthol scents, which will discourage them from revisiting those areas for scratching purposes. You can also purchase deterrent mats that will stop your cats from scratching your furniture altogether.