It's natural for cats to climb trees to play, hide, or have a good view of their surroundings. These are some reasons trees are important to them. Your cat can still have fun inside your home by getting them a cat tree. But how long does it last, and at what point should you replace it? We have done the research to give you the best answer.
Some cat trees last for only a few months, while others last for years. How long your cat tree lasts depends on the following:
- Quality of the cat tree
- Cat attributes
Continue reading to understand the factors that determine the durability of a cat tree, what qualifies as a suitable cat tree, when it needs to be replaced, what to look for when buying a used one and what to do with an old cat tree.
Cat Tree And Your Cats
Your cat tree's life span will depend on the two factors we have previously stated. Let us look at each of them to give you an idea of whether your cat tree will be good for a few months or several years.
1. Quality Of Your Cat Tree
The design and materials used to make a cat tree contribute to its level of quality, which determines how long it will last.
Wood is a popular choice for making a cat tree. But not all woods can handle the weight and the rigorous activities of a cat and thus the best choice would be wood that is of the highest quality, such as oak wood.
Fabric, carpet, and sisal are the most common materials that are used to cover a cat tree and its adjoined structures, such as perches, towers, and condos. Fabric can tear quickly, making it less durable, and carpet can last long, but sisal is by far the most durable.
The design that goes into creating a cat tree plays a huge role in how sturdy it is. A design that provides balance to it without causing it to wobble and fall over, even when a chubby cat climbs or jumps on it, has a higher chance of surviving longer.
2. Cat Attributes
There are different cat attributes that contribute to their unique behavior, such as being hyper, playful, energetic, or docile, which also determines how long your cat tree will last.
Younger cats are keener to explore their surroundings, unlike their adult counterparts that have developed their personalities, habits, and traits and therefore are less likely to be destructive to their cat trees.
The more adventurous breeds, like the Bengal, are energetic, athletic, active, and busy, which means they would prefer to play more on the cat tree, leading to faster wear and tear. The more relaxed breeds like the Ragamuffin would rather sit down next to you, hence their cat tree has a higher chance to last long.
How Often Should You Replace A Cat Tree?
You can replace a cat tree as many times as you want, but ideally, replacement is done when its functionality has depreciated. However, other reasons that should influence your decision to replace the tree include:
Prevent Cat's Boredom
You can prevent your cat from getting bored by changing their cat trees often. Though some are fine with one tree for years, others can easily get bored within a short time.
Cat Growing Bigger Or Older
As you watch your kitten grow into a cat, you may have to replace the cat tree several times to accommodate its new size in each stage of growth. Versatile cat trees are more suitable for young cats, which cater to their natural need to explore and play.
When they are older, a much simpler tree will suffice, because, at this stage, they prefer to lounge a lot more.
Having More Than One Cat
If you will introduce new cats now and then, you have little choice other than to get a bigger cat tree that has more room for all your cats to play in.
Best Cat Trees
The best cat tree is the one that meets your cat’s needs, and to ensure your cat receives nothing less, consider the following factors:
You wouldn’t want your cat to jump onto a cat tree, only for it to knock over and get damaged. A tree made from high-quality materials like oak wood, though pricey, provides one of the sturdiest bases and would be one of the safest for your cat.
Opportunity For Activity
The best cat tree is one that gives your cat the opportunity to play, jump, hide, or scratch, and do all kinds of activities that cats love to do, just as it would when outside.
A younger cat will need a tree that allows them lots of activity because their energy levels are high. But for a senior cat, a simple tree for lounging will be just fine.
Supports Your Cat’s Weight
Whether your cat is light or heavy, you need a tree that provides opportunities for movement, irrespective of its weight, without the tree losing balance.
Is It Bad To Get A Used Cat Tree?
It’s not uncommon to find used pet items up for sale including cat trees, and there’s nothing wrong with saving some money by buying these items. However, some caution has to be observed.
The first step to take is to check the condition of the item. It’s not worth buying a used tree if it will not serve the purpose for which it was meant. If it has cracks or some form of damage, then it would not be a good idea to buy one.
After identifying a cat tree and confirming that it is in good condition, the next step would be to clean it with detergent to remove debris, disinfect to kill pathogens, and afterward dry it out in the sun. The reason for doing this is to prevent the transmission of diseases and the transfer of parasites such as fleas.
When parts of the tree like carpet, sisal, or fabric may be very hard to clean or disinfect as liquid dirt may have seeped through, it creates a conducive environment for germs. In such situations, you may have to replace these materials with new ones.
Cats have a powerful sense of smell, and this can be a good reason not to buy a used cat tree. It is through their scent that they identify their friends and family and also avoid their enemies.
The scent of another cat from a used cat tree might signal the presence of an intruder, and this can change your cat’s behavior because they feel threatened.
What Do You Do With Old Cat Trees?
You might as well throw old cat trees in the bin if they are completely worn out. Or better still, take it to the recycling center if relatively new. You can also donate them to your local animal center, though just like the recycle centers, they may reject those that do not cater to the needs of their cats.
How To Make A Cat Tree More Stable
The reasons to make your cat tree stable include preventing injuries to your cat, keeping your cat from damaging your furniture, and avoiding a first-time traumatic experience. You can make it more stable by doing these steps:
1. Increase The Weight Of The Base
Cat trees ought to have a wider base at the bottom than the top. But if the opposite is true, then you can add more weight to the base. This adjusts the center of gravity to prevent it from wobbling or falling over.
2. Increase The Base Area
You can further widen the base area by attaching more plywood sheets to prevent it from wobbling or knocking over.
3. Fortify With Metal Brackets
If you test your cat tree and there’s even the slightest sign of wobbling, you can make it sturdier by fixing L-shaped metal brackets to the base. But pick those that match the thickness of the base.
Afterward, cover the metal with a suitable material like some old cat blankets to prevent injury to your cat. You may have to use glue to secure the blanket firmly over the metal, but ensure it is pet safe. Also, use material that is of the same color as the cat tree.
A cat tree is an essential item to have in your home, which keeps your cat active, averting potential damage to your furniture.
As your cat grows, or as you add more cats, or for various other reasons, there is a likelihood you will replace your cat tree several times and not necessarily when it is worn out.
It is better if you buy a new cat tree, but if you must buy a used one, remember to take the precautionary measures to prevent transmission of illness or parasites such as fleas.
Above all, always make sure your cat tree is stable to prevent trauma or injuries to your cat. And, don't forget how long your cat tree will last depends on its quality and the inherent personality of your cat.
Read these previous posts to learn more about the types of cat trees and where to place them: