Many cats are natural climbers and want to see the world from above. Even domesticated felines want to relax and view their surroundings from tall places, which might be one of the reasons why you bought cat trees for your kittens. But are cat trees safe for kittens? We consulted the feline experts and here’s what they say.
Cat trees should offer certain features to be safe for kittens, especially for your pets that are only a few weeks old. These features below are what you need to consider in a cat tree for your little furball to be safe from harm:
- Safe materials
- Cat-friendly accessories
- Suitable height
- Optimal stability and durability
Take note that missing some details when buying the right cat tree for your kitten can increase the risk of injury and other health concerns for your pet. Continue reading to find out the details about the features to consider for your kitten's tree.
Safety Precautions for Cat Trees for Kittens
In most cases, cat trees are safe for kittens. But you should still be mindful of certain cat tree features to ensure your pet’s safety. As responsible pet parents, you should search for cat trees that are comfortable, fun, and safe to use for your kittens. Check out the following when buying cat trees for your kittens:
Many cat trees use carpets, and finding the correct model with pet-friendly upholsteries is important for your pet's health. Materials like wool, nylon, polyester, and sisal are generally safe for felines of relatively all ages to use unless your pet has allergies to these fabrics. Cat trees with carpets should be free of these substances:
- Lead - A metal that can increase the risk of organ damage in cats.
- Formaldehyde - A chemical that acts as a preservative to improve product longevity but can damage cats’ respiratory and digestive organs.
- Bisphenol A (BPA) - An industrial chemical compound used in the manufacturing of epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics. Long-term exposure to this substance can increase endocrine disruption in cats, causing adverse changes to their metabolism.
- Phthalates - A group of chemicals used to make plastic materials more durable and long-lasting. However, these substances can penetrate cats’ skin, causing damage to organs like the liver and kidneys.
Aside from the cat tree itself, pick a suitable model for your kitten that introduces and enhances safe play for your kittens. These accessories may include a dangling puff ball, toy mice, or scratching posts. But make sure to place the dangling toy in a reasonably safe location so your kitten doesn't fall from the tree.
You may also sprinkle some catnip on the tree’s scratching posts (if the product has this accessory). That way, your kitten will find the tree more attractive to claw than your furniture.
Many kittens may start exploring the world through their four small feet as early as two weeks old. However, at this age, your small pets might not have mastery of their motor skills, which can lead to injuries when they climb objects.
With that in mind, kittens should only climb trees that are about 5 feet (60 inches) in height. You will find more details about the appropriate height of a cat tree for kittens in the later section.
Optimal Stability and Durability
The base of your chosen cat tree shouldn’t rattle. Otherwise, your little feline will be at risk of falling, and they might not be adept at landing on their feet yet. Plus, the product should be durable and promote excellent longevity. The materials used should be reasonably durable so that it doesn’t fall apart, especially while your kitten is still on the tree.
How Tall Should A Cat Tree Be For A Kitten?
Cat trees about 5 feet (60 inches) should suffice for kittens that are about 16 days old. At this age, your pet should start developing his fine motor skills. The small cat might still be wobbling while walking, running, jumping, or climbing. Therefore, if you see your pet climbing surfaces, make sure that you're in the nearby vicinity if the kitten meows for help.
Are Tall Cat Trees Dangerous?
Many cats can survive without significant injury after jumping from a tall height. One cat even landed on the ground after jumping from 32 stories, which is roughly equivalent to 448 feet above the ground. The cat was still alive after the jump, but the animal experienced some injuries from the fall.
With that in mind, you can purchase a 10-foot cat tree for adult felines, and the product won’t still be tall enough to cause significant injuries to your pet. You can opt for a 5- or 6-foot cat tree to be on the safe side, especially if you're a pet parent to adult cats and young kittens.
At What Age Can A Kitten Climb A Tree?
Many kittens can start climbing cat trees by 3 weeks of age. At this time, the young pets should start walking and exploring their surroundings without the help of their parents. Fine motor skills will also start developing at this age but still tend to need fine-tuning. Some kittens may start climbing cat trees at this period, but it’s still important to supervise them as they might need some assistance.
How Do I Get My Kitten To Use The Cat Tree?
Felines can be quite picky with their choices, especially for their cat trees. If your cat is ignoring the tree you gave them, here are some quick tips to help you so your pet will use that product:
- Select the appropriate location for the tree.
- Place your cat’s toys on the tree.
- Buy different trees if you have more than one cat in your home. Cats tend to mark their territories using their claws. In turn, some felines would stay away from those items.
- Give your cat attention and care while they’re on the tree. This activity will train your pet to use the tree since they'll think that resting on it will give them your love and attention.
- Sprinkle some catnip on the tree’s scratching post or hang catnip toys on the tree’s surface to attract your pet.
Where Should I Put a Cat Tree?
As mentioned previously, a cat tree should be in a location where your pet finds most attractive. Some locations include near windows and rooms where human family and friends like to hang out.
Places near windows allow cats to get some sunshine without going outdoors. Additionally, locations with plenty of social activity allow your pet to mingle with others. These rooms can include the bedroom, living room, and dining room.
Many cat trees are safe for use for kittens. But the cat tree you purchase for your little felines should have features deemed safe for their well-being. Always go for cat-friendly accessories and materials. Additionally, aim to buy a tree with a stable base and sturdy construction so that your kitten doesn't fall from the structure.