Cats have a natural urge to climb high. In the wild, the natural choice would obviously be a tree. But do cats use cat trees that don't have bark and branches?
So, do cats use cat trees?
Yes, most cats will be very happy to have a cat tree in their lives. A good cat tree will allow cats to fulfil most of their natural instincts - climbing, scratching, hiding and resting. It can be a great improvement for your furry friend and provide endless fun, as long as you find the right cat tree.
Why do cats use cat trees?
Cats love being up high. Being prey animals, and natural climbers, they enjoy having control over their territory by observing it from an advantage point. From up high they can see what is going on and are able to spot larger predators. A cat tree is normally a safe way of letting your cat do this, as it (unlike book cases or kitchen cupboards) is designed specifically for animals.
Having a spot to retreat to when things get a bit too much is important for any cat, but especially for cats in large or busy households, or cats who are just moving into a new home. Even if the indoor cat tree is not tall enough that the cat has complete privacy, children and other pets can be taught not to disturb the cat while they are playing, scratching or resting on the cat tree. That will provide your cat with a sense of safety and relaxation.
Speaking of safety though, it's really important that you install your cat furniture properly. Cats may have nine lives, but if they are going to be jumping between steps or swinging in hammocks the cat tree will need to be secured accordingly. Large cat trees, like Omlet's Freestyle, that are attached to the wall or ceiling will provide you with peace of mind that the tree won't fall over on your cat as they put their weight against it or reach out for dangling toys.
You can read more about how to safety proof your home for a cat here.
Somewhere to sleep
Cats spend the majority of the day sleeping, and while they can fall asleep more or less anywhere, it's good to give them a few places to choose from, be it on a nice cat blanket on the window sill or in their own comfy cat bed.
As we've already established, cats feel most comfortable when they are up high, so if you can it's a great idea to provide them with a sleeping spot above ground. The Freestyle Cat Tree can be accessorised with either a super comfy hammock or a secluded felt den where they can curl up. You can read more about why cats sleep so much here.
Natural urge to climb
As we mentioned before, it's natural for cats to want to be up high, but often the journey to the top is just as important. Cats are programmed to like climbing, and providing them with a safe opportunity to do so is very important.
Depending on your cat's age and physical abilities, you can adapt a cat tree like Omlet's Freestyle Floor to Ceiling Cat Tree. For older or less adventurous cats, you can start with some steps low to the ground and gradually move them higher, and for more athletic daredevils you can build a system that challenges their climbing needs.
A cat tree isn't just a place for your cat to sit up high and watch the world go by, it can also be a great source of entertainment. Make sure the cat tree you're choosing has accessories that will excite your pet, be it scratching elements, cat toys or interesting climbing opportunities.
We did say that cats are prey animals, but as you probably already know, they are also natural hunters. If you have an outdoor cat you might regularly receive gifts in the form of dead birds and rodents on the doorstep, but in many cases the most enjoyable part for a cat is the preying.
Even cats who have no intention or possibility of even getting to the prey will thoroughly enjoy being able to spy and try to sneak up on smaller animals.
If your cat spends time outdoors, either roaming free or in a catio, they will love having a high safe haven from which they can watch birds in the garden, and a cat tree can be the perfect way of providing them with this opportunity.
Where can you put a cat tree?
The typical cat tree is placed indoors, normally in a living room or spare room where your cat likes spending time. Even if you have an outdoor cat, they probably spend quite a lot of time indoors, and it's a good idea to give them somewhere to play and relax.
Indoor versions, like the Freestyle floor to ceiling cat tree, can be adapted to suit your cats.
For indoor cats, who don't get the same amount of exercise and stimulation, a cat tree is almost a must for their well being and mental health. Omlet's Freestyle Indoor Cat Tree is the ideal solution. These completely customisable cat trees provide hours of fun, and gives cat owners the possibility to create a space that truly fits their pet. A great range of accessories can be added to the vertical poles, from steps, platforms and bridges, to sisal rope scratching posts, hammocks and secluded dens where cats can truly relax.
Another great thing about Freestyle is that it will blend in beautifully with the other furniture in your house, and it is completely customisable, so it fits both large homes and small spaces.
There are of course smaller and less elaborate cat trees for those that don't like climbing. Like we mentioned, it's always good to however make sure the cat tree lets your cat live out as many of their instincts as possible, be it with scratching opportunities or secluded places to rest.
If you let your cat enjoy the great outdoors in a catio, accessorising the enclosure with a cat tree is a great way of giving them more excitement and exercise.
The Freestyle Outdoor Cat Tree is similar to the indoor version, but with adapted accessories that will withstand the elements. If you have a cat that is allowed to roam freely, placing a cat tree in the garden can still be a brilliant addition and provide great exercise. This is especially good if your cat doesn't necessarily like to leave the perimeters of the garden, but still likes to be able to climb and play above ground.
How tall should your cat tree be?
This depends on a few things, but to get all the benefits it should be high enough that your cat can actually climb up it, and ideally the highest perch spot should be higher up than where humans are. Cats feel safe high up, and you will most likely have found your feline friend on top of a bookcase or resting on top of an open door.
The Freestyle poles are extendable, so that it fits ceiling or run roof heights up to 4.40 metres. That's higher than most cat trees, and not all cats will want to go that high, so make sure you only position accessories at a height you know your cat will be comfortable at.
Are cat trees just for kittens?
No, and not just for adult cats either. Cat trees come in all shapes and sizes, and you as an owner will have to make sure the cat tree you've chosen is catered for your cat's age and abilities.
With the Freestyle for example, you can move accessories up and down the poles to make sure the distance between steps or platforms are challenging enough to stimulate your cat, while still being safe to use. You can also accessorise your tree with the things that you know your cat loves. A young excitable kitten might love to run up and down ramps, while older cats might prefer to just have a good stretch on a scratching post and then go lie down for a nap on a cushion or in a den.
Can cats share a cat tree?
Cats who live together can definitely share a cat tree, but it's a good idea to provide them with enough space to be separate while still using the tree. Larger cats like the Maine Coon will naturally need more space than smaller breeds, but how much space each individual cat needs depends mostly on your cat's style and personality. Cat trees like Freestyle allow you to give all cats enough space to climb, scratch and play, without getting in the way of each other.
As one of the main benefits of a cat tree is to give cats their own space, it's important that you provide as many scratching areas and resting places as you have cats.
While having two cat trees can sometimes work in households with multiple cats who really don't get along, there is always the risk that it leads to more fighting, as one will suddenly decide the other cats have got the perfect spot and try to take over.
We hope that this has convinced you that your cats need a cat tree, and given you some ideas on what cat tree design might be best for you. Multi level design cat trees provide cats of all ages with opportunities to climb, scratch and play, while also being a space that you cat sees as their own territory, where they can hide, nap and relax, high up away from hoovers, dogs and annoying toddlers.