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Cat Trees – Build or Buy

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Cat tree in living room

6-foot cat tree


Indoor cats need to climb. Providing them with appropriate cat furniture will make them and you happy.


Without a cat tree to climb; a curtain might be a great alternative. Although I did have a cat that raced to the top of my living room curtain. She walked across the rod, while the others cats watched her in awe. Luckily they didn’t find it necessary to follow suit.


Back in 1980 I designed a cat tree to fit the space that was sandwiched in between a bookshelf and an organ. We went to carpet stores to see if we could acquire a few remnants to put our design to life. I made 4 cat cutouts to adorn our cat tree. With bits and pieces we configured a multi colored tree. With a very fine woven carpet, we were able to have enough to cover the bottom (to protect the floor when sliding back and forth) plus there was enough to cover the back and two sides.


The cat tree of 1980 still resides in our home and was always in the living room, even when we moved to a new house. Oh it has been re-carpeted many times over the years. The cats loved to scratch on it, destroying the covered post and also the top platform edges.


If you ever decide to make a cat tree or even recover one, do make sure you never used looped carpet. And for that matter do they real make much of that anymore? I’m sure there is some close looped pile, but still not advisable for cat trees. You don’t want your cat hanging by a claw, desperately trying to break free.




My cat Molly never scratched on the tree. She loved the floor scratcher we purchased especially for her when I couldn’t clip her claws for her first months with us. So with her there was never a need to recover the cat tree. She enjoyed running up and down it, but never scratched on it. So when Lily and Lucy came to live with us it was in good shape.Just recently my neighbor gave me a cat tree he was no longer going to use. Old cat tree has been retired to my bedroom and they still use it. A similar floor scratcher, although this one doesn’t lay flat on the floor, but lasts so much longer than cardboard scratchers.


Large cat tree

Lily and Lucy’s new gifted cat tree.

Their new gifted tree has been a hit. It is bigger and with a lot more shelving. It comes with a hammock. A great nesting place for one or both. Shall be great when it cools down during the winter months if they pile in together. The sisal rope is great for scratching. They knew right away the advantages to a good scratching post.


Nice to know that the sisal rope can be replaced if it gets too frayed. Better to buy more than you need so as not to have it short in the middle of replacing. Hate to piece it together where they might center their scratching.


Both the old and new trees are 6 feet tall. Lots of weight on both trees so they won’t tip over if the cats chase each other and hit it at a high speed. Banging against the wall has never bothered any of them.


When we build the tree back in 1980 the decision was to make sure there was a large firm base at the bottom. Bottom is about 2 feet by 2 feet made out of 3/4″ plywood. The post and all shelving are also 3/4″. Metal brackets were used to attach everything above the base.


Think I might do things differently if I were to build one now… but it is still a solid tree. I would use sisal rope for the post covering now that I have found out how much they love it. If you plan on buying a cat tree be sure to get a sturdy one, consider it as a piece of furniture for your cat.



Heavy duty cat tree

Cat tree from Chewy

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