Cat Tree 101: How To Choose The Right Cat Tree For Your Cat(s)

how to choose a cat tree for your cat

Looking for the perfect cat tree for your cat(s) but not sure how it all works? Cat tree selection can be a mind-boggling process. With thousands of options, finding the right one can be stressful.

With our Cat Tree 101 guide, we'll show you how to pick the best cat tree for your cat(s), as well as what to look for, and which questions you need to ask yourself. We have also created a step-by-step checklist for our readers so you know exactly what to do when looking for the best cat tree for your home. 

Download a FREE Cat Tree Buying Checklist [PDF] here! 

A white cat scratching on a cat post made of sisal rope

Calorie Cat Climbing Frame

What Is A Cat Tree?

A cat tree sometimes called a cat tower or cat condo is a vertical structure that provides multiple levels and platforms for your feline friend to enjoy. Buying a right cat tree or cat condo allows your cat to have the perfect environment to relieve stress and accomplish their instinctive desires. As stated in when you deny your cat the opportunity to be engaged, entertained, or given space to explore, it can lead to anxiety and other problems for your cat. Getting a good cat tree allows your feline friend to have all of these needs met and can be an excellent investment for any cat owner. 

Benefits Of Having A Cat Tree

If you may ask, "Should I get a cat tree? Or is a cat tree necessary?" The answer is yes.  Here are some benefits of having a cat tree.

Provide exercise for your cat

According to Revival Animal Health, cats are natural climbers and hunters, and so they need to roam, jump, and climb on a regular basis. The best part of having a cat tree is that you'll be able to relax in bed, knowing that your cat is getting some exercise by jumping and playing with the hanging toys on the cat tree. A cat tree is also a fantastic option to reduce obesity if you have a fat cat. It helps them lose weight by keeping their small feet at work and stay active and entertained.

A black and white fur cat climbing on a blue and yellow cat tree that is designed with clouds and stars

Sea World Cat Climbing Tree

Promote independence for your cat

Having a place to call their own will help them feel more independent, as well as give them a place to feel secure. According to a cat tree can also assist a cat in socializing with other cats that are having trouble getting along.

Three cats playing in a Moon Ship Cat Tree

Moon Ship Cat Climbing Frame

Keep your furniture intact

One thing is for sure: a cat tree is not only good for your cats but also for your beloved furniture. It keeps their claws focused only on the scratching post. So whether you have a cat climbing all over you or one that scratches your furniture, a cat tree is the perfect solution to keep them occupied and away from trouble.

A feline scratching a red-striped cat post with a candy toy hanging as part of the cat tree design

Colorful Candy Cat Climbing House

Add style to your home

A cat tree can be the best accessory in your home because of its ability to add style as well as function as mentioned in The good thing about a cat tree is that there are many styles and designs available. Whether you want something that blends in with your decor or something that adds a pop of color, you should be able to find a tree that fits your preferences.

An adorable cat on top of a three level pastel pink and purple cat tree

Ocean View Cat Climbing Tree

Types of a Cat Tree

Here are some common types of cat trees that you need to know.

Cat condo

A cat condo is a piece of furniture designed specifically for cats to lounge and relax. Cat condos come with comfortable beds that can be used as the best cat house for a senior kitty in your family.

A cat inside a chicken cat condo with a scratching post

Chubby Chick Style Condo Cat Tree

Cat scratching post 

A cat scratching post is a piece of furniture that cats can use as a scratching surface. Most modern cat trees have scratching posts that are covered in carpet or sisal rope. 

Cat playing on a yellow-striped scratching post that has chicken leg toy hanging below the cat condo

Chubby Chick Style Condo Cat Tree

Cat tower

Cat tower is a type of cat tree that is larger and contains many compartments which provides space for multiple cats to retreat to when they want some quiet time. 

A cone-shaped cat tree with 3 compartments and steps that will help a cat to climb and lounge

Ice Cream Shaped Cat Climbing Tree

Cat wall shelves

Wall perches and shelves are useful in many ways and not just adding style to your home. They provide a safe haven for your cat to hide, a way to burn off energy, and mental stimulation so your pet doesn't become bored. Their space-saving design is ideal for making the most of vertical space in an apartment or a house.

Gray cat on a mounted wall shelves

Pet Cat Wall Mount Staircase

Different size and style of wooden cat shelves

Cat Climbing Frame Tree House Wood

What to consider when choosing a cat tree?

So what to look for when buying a cat tree?

Take your time and consider what will best suit the needs of your pets. Before deciding on the best cat tree for your kitty, ask yourself the following questions: 

Does your cat love to scratch?

Some cats love to scratch a lot since it is their way to mark their territory. If you have a cat that likes to scratch, then a cat tree with a scratching post is the one for you. If your cat is not a fan of scratching, you can put catnip in the post to encourage use.

San Frenchie Blue House Cat Scratching Post is perfect for scratchers. Your cat’s scratching instinct will be satisfied by multiple scratching posts strengthened with natural sisal rope. It also comes with multiple tiers and a ladder that they can enjoy. 

A cat tree that mimics a tiny house in blue and bright orange color. It has tiny stairs for cats to climb and a cat condo house along with a  cat hammock.

Blue House Cat Scratching Post

A gray and white fur cat holding a fruit-shaped scratch ball under a two level flower design cat tree

 Flower Design Cat Climbing Tree

A white cat holding an egg shaped cat scratcher toy

Egg Shaped Cat Scratcher Toy

Is your cat more active than other cats?

If your cat is active and loves to move around then the best cat tree for your feline is a wall-mounted one rather than a free-standing tree. 

For example, San Frenchie Cat Climbing Jumping Platform provides greater surface space for active cats to explore and play. Furthermore, these cat shelves provide your cat with a high perch from which to escape and relax.

Gray cat on a mounted wall shelves

Pet Cat Wall Mount Staircase

Does your cat play a lot?

Choose a cat tree design that comes with toys for your cats to enjoy. You will save your cat from getting bored, plus it will keep them busy while you run some errands.

For example, San Frenchie Fruit World Cat Tree is perfect for recreation, rest, and exercise. Fruits on high seats allow your kitten to jump up and down and experience various joys. This kind of cat tree design comes with a scratching post that is best for cats who love to scratch.

A fruit-themed cat tree design with cat hammock and scratching post, the colors include a bright orange bed for cats to lounge. Also, it includes strawberry and mango inspired cat tree levels

Fruit World Cat Tree

Rainbow-colored cat tree unicorn with a cat condo and scratching post made of sisal rope

 Unicorn Dreams Cat Tree

What’s the size of your cat?

How big of a cat tree you should get depends on how large your cat is. The rule of thumb is to choose a cat tree that is tall and big enough that your cat has enough room to play. It is recommended by Ipetcompanion to have at least 60 inches tall or more, and multiple spaces for a large cat to lounge. 

This multi-purpose Happy Paw Cat Tree works brilliantly as a relaxation paradise. Its cat condo provides a comfortable place that makes your cat sleep soundly after playing all day. This cat tree is best for large cats because it is durable and can support your cat's weight.

Blue and white theme cat tree design with features like cat condo and cat hammock

For a smaller cat, or cat that weighs less than 14 pounds, a cat tree with fewer levels and shorter height can be sufficient. For example this Pink Cactus Cat Climbing Tree 

A pink cactus-shaped scratching post wrapped with rope

 Pink Cactus Cat Climbing Tree

A fun and playful theme cat posts that comes in three different heights

Baobab Styled Cat Climbing Frame 

Does your cat prefer heights?

There are medium-sized cats who prefer heights, while there are larger cats that prefer to settle on low grounds. Either way, choose a cat tree that works with your cat's preferences.

This adorable cat climbing house features a cool candy theme that has a cat condo and scratching post that is colorful and fun. This cat tree is tall enough that it can satisfy your height-lover feline who enjoys looking out for birds and other small critters. 

A candy-inspired cat tree design with swirls at the top and a pink cat condo where a cat can lounge and relax. This cat tree is best for large cats.

Colorful Candy Cat Climbing House

Insects Garden Cat Climbing Tree is good for cats who don’t like height. This cat tree provides shade along with a scratching post and hanging toys that is ideal for your cat who prefers to hide in a low-lying area. 

A Cat playing the hanging toys under a cat posts wrapped in sisal rope

Insects Garden Cat Climbing Tree

What materials to get?

A Cat tree comes in various materials, and each one has its pros and cons. Depending on your budget and the style of tree you want, you may have to compromise on some aspects of material quality. The most popular options are: 

  • Wood: This material is sturdy and durable, and it's easy to clean. You could also make a cat tree look natural in wood that will fit in a Scandinavian-themed house. Cat trees made of thick pieces of wood can be quite expensive, but they're the best investment in the long run as they can withstand more scratching. For example, San Frenchie Calorie Cat Climbing Frame is made of highly qualified harmless cat tree wood and wrapped by hand with a natural sisal rope so it is totally safe for an active cat. 
Pastel color pink cat tree with three levels with features of a cat condo and hammock
  • Cardboard: This material is lightweight and easier to assemble. The upfront cost is more affordable thus most budget friendly but it’s unlikely to hold up for long if your cat likes to scratch. You will need to replace the cardboard when it starts getting raggedy. Make sure to look for a cardboard that’s sturdy enough from those claws and has a strong structure that won't easily topple over when your cat is climbing on it.
2 IN 1 Unicorn Cat Scratcher

2 IN 1 Unicorn Cat Scratcher

Do you have enough space for the cat tree?

Make sure you measure the space where you want to put the cat tree down to see if it'll fit before making the purchase.

There are some corner trees that can fit well in your small space. This is great if you are living in an apartment or condominium unit. They have a small footprint but provide vertical space for your cats to play on. A wall-mounted unit is also ideal; it satisfies your cat’s need for getting to high places without taking up lots of space. Make sure that the wall that it’s mounted on is sturdy enough to hold the weight of your pet and the tree itself.

A cat beside a candy inspired scratching post in a bright colorful orange

Candy World Series Lollipop Shaped Cat Tower

On the other hand, if you have enough space inside your home, you may want to buy a bare rectangular tower or tree. It will give your cat a lot of room to climb, lounge and play around. You could also purchase a cat tower with different levels so they can go up and down depending on their moods. 

Two feline friends in a cat tree with one cat condo

 Sea World Cat Climbing Tree

Buying Guide & Top Picks 

Shopping for a cat tree online means you can do it from anywhere and anytime that is convenient for you! It also means that you have access to a wider range of options than you would in a pet store. So what are the best selling cat trees?

Best cat tree for active cats: Moonlight Cat Tree

This cat tree allows your cat to scratch, climb, move, play and sleep on. This cat tree is perfect for your active cat who loves to play around because it is made of sturdy wood that won't topple over with the slightest nudge. This moonlight cat tree is the best seller and loved by hundreds of customers. A customer reviewed,“My cat likes it very much. It keeps crawling on it and it looks great when taking pictures. My boyfriend also likes it very much. It feels that this cat climbing frame looks better than he has ever seen, and the quality is also very good, and it won’t sway.”

A violet fantasy cat tree design that is out of this world, its features includes a cat condo and a cat hammock

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A cat tree customer review an actual picture of moonlight cat tree product

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Best Cat Tree for a cat who prefers to lounge: Chubby Chick Style Condo Cat Tree 

A cat condo is a dome-shaped or roofed building that serves as a little enclosed home for your cat. They could have many apertures or allow the cat to navigate between tiers of the tree.

If you have a senior cat or a cat who prefers to hide, this chubby chick cat condo is the best choice for you. It comes with a soft, plush elevated bed that creates a comfortable napping location.

A white cat beside a chicken cat condo with a scratching post

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On the other hand, this Unicorn Dreams Cat Tree is a beautiful multi-functional cat tree that is perfect for cats who take long naps after playing all day.

Cat in a rainbow-colored unicorn cat tree design. Its features include a hanging ball toy in its tail, a cat condo, and a scratching post.

Best Cat tree for a cat that love heights: Sea World Cat Climbing Tree

A tall cat tree with levels has many purposes. The top-level is great for sleeping and the mid-level is perfect for playing and stretching. The bottom level is excellent for hiding and keeping warm during cold winter months. 

The Sea World Cat Climbing Tree has 4 levels that are ideal for a cat who loves heights. This cat tree allows your cat to climb up and jump from one level to another. It  is made of wood and can easily create a funny cat gym if your cat is too fat. 

Three cats lounging in a cat tree with four levels. It has a sky theme with stars and clouds in the design making it more of a cat tree aesthetic


A cat tree is a great way to keep your cat entertained and active.  It’s clear that many different types of cat tree exist, and some of them are far better suited than others to support the needs of your cat. What is needed depends entirely on what your cat needs. 

If you choose to go with a cat tree, then we hope this guide has given you some helpful insight into how to choose the right one. Have fun creating the perfect cat environment for your unique feline friends!

What are you waiting for? Shop the best cat tree today! Check out for more products that your pets will surely love!