Cat Scratchers | Mounted Cat Furniture | Cat Gyms | Cat Trees | Cat Condos | Cat Beds | Modular Cat Furniture | Cat Stairs | Which Should I Buy?
Cats like to jump on things. Cats also like to scratch things. Neither of those statements should be news to you.
If you’ve welcomed a cat into your home before, you’ve probably noticed that your sofas don’t last as long as it used to because of the clawing and chewing. Why do cats scratch furniture? Because when they’re not sleeping, cats have a lot of energy to burn off. Just running around your home won’t always hit the mark for them. This is particularly true of house cats, who don’t have to option of going on an extended walk to tire themselves out. Investing in cat furniture is a great way of making sure your favourite human furniture doesn’t start getting unwanted attention from your pet!
It’s not just about exercise, either. Cats also like to play. Sure, they love a mouse or a ball to chase, or a wand to jump and grab at, but you’re not always there to play with them. It’s not as much fun without you! A good piece of cat furniture can keep them occupied for hours, as well as making your house a more exciting place for them to be. You cat loves to sit and survey its domain, and a special piece of furniture for it to climb up onto gives it a perfect observation point. You’ve already accepted that your cat is the real master of your home, so why not help it play the part?
In this article, we’re going to look at the various types of cat furniture that are out there to buy, what the benefits are, any possible drawbacks, and what you’re likely to pay. Environmental enrichment is very important to cats, so they should all have a little furniture to play with. Anybody should be able to find a suitable piece of cat furniture for their pet, regardless of how much space they have, and we’re here to help with the decision making process. Let’s get started!
Types Of Cat Furniture
So, to get us started, let’s take a look at the different kinds of cat furniture out there. First off, cat nail scratchers: something to keep them from ruining your human furniture!
In terms of cat furniture, for most people these are a “must have”. They’re broadly split along two lines. It’s extremely unlikely that a cat won’t use a scratching post. If your cat isn’t interested in theirs, they might just prefer a different type.
Cat Scratching Posts
How to stop a cat from scratching the furniture? With one of these bad boys. People sometimes wonder what scratching posts are made of. Basically, it’s vertical post, usually made of sisal (a form of tightly bound twine) wrapped around wood. It’s a good, rough material which is perfect for a cat to grab and claw at. If you’re looking for a basic wood cat scratcher, you can’t go wrong with these. Tall cat scratchers give your cat an opportunity to stretch and claw at something: heavenly. There is no one definitive ‘best scratching post’. The best scratching post for you and your cat depends on how much space you have, and what your cat’s personality is.
Pros: Your furniture is less likely to get attacked by a bored or restless cat if there’s a scratching post in the room. It helps cats to keep their claws trim, provides them with a little exercise, and helps them to stretch. There’s been plenty of academic study which underpins the importance of having a cat scratcher for your pet. You can even get catnip scratching posts, which should keep them occupied for hours!
Cons: We really can’t think of a downside to having a cat scratching post. The only word of warning we’d sound is that we’ve seen some on the market which are designed to be placed near your furniture, with the idea being the cat scratches the post instead of the furniture. We don’t recommend that – we think that teaches the cat to associate that part of the house with scratching at things! The best place for a scratching post is in a room you spend a lot of time with your cat, but away from anything you don’t want to get claw marks in.
Typical price: This is basic cat furniture, and it shouldn’t cost you more than $20. There are fancier models available of course – you can get double height scratching posts. You can get scratching posts with a cat bed on top of them. You can get cat scratching posts with multiple levels so your cat has a range of perspectives to survey its kingdom from! Obviously the larger models with more features will cost more money, so just select the one that suits your budget best. Remember that a cheap scratching post is likely to wear out quite quickly. Of course, now we’ve told you what scratching posts are made of, if you’re good at DIY you could make your own scratching post!
Cat Scratching Boards & Cat Scratching Mats
It’s the same cat scratcher principle, but horizontal instead of vertical. These may take the form of something that resembles a cat scratching post laid on its side, or an actual flat board which looks like a thick mat. They’re generally made of the same materials as scratching posts.
Pros: Less storage space is required. You can use one of these instead of a doormat if you so wish, or place one down anywhere in the house where a scratching post might look odd. Just behind the door is a good idea – your cat can scratch on the way in and out, like a human wiping their feet! For older cats, they may find them easier to use than a traditional scratching post.
Cons: They’re just not as exciting. They don’t look as appealing, and that may struggle to gain attention from your cat, who may mistake it for a bed that isn’t comfortable to sleep on. They’re also not as good for exercise – they still get to scratch their claws in it, but they don’t have to climb or reach upwards which means they’re not getting the big stretch they’re really after.
Typical price: We’ve seen these retailing around the $10 mark, and they’re fine if you just want something basic for your cat to claw at instead of your carpet!
Mounted Cat Furniture
So, enough about scratching. How about some furniture for your cat to chill out on? Getting some quality cat furniture like perches and shelves is a great idea for a couple of reasons. First, it gives your cat a designated place, which is something they appreciate. It’s also great for stopping cats from scratching furniture (human furniture, anyway). Let’s take a look at perches.
Cat Window Perches
Exactly what it sounds like! This is a small cat bed that affixes itself on or near your window. They can be fitted to the windowsill. They can be hung from the curtain rail. You can even attach them to the window itself with suckers!
Pros: Great entertainment for your cat. They love to sit in the window and watch the world go by from a position of comfort. Sometimes they’re happy to do this instead of nagging you to go outside. They also learn to understand when it’s raining, and know not to ask to go out! They’re also great for house cats – they make their world feel a little bigger. The inside of your house usually looks the same, there’s always something new to look at through a window.
Cons: If you’re the sort of person who likes to put things on the windowsill, you’ll need to think again. Those photos are going to have to move. Don’t even think about putting flowers up there! With a piece of cat furniture on or around the window, that area is now a playground. There’s also always the risk of your cat – or the perch – falling down onto whatever’s beneath it. Some window perches won’t be suitable for larger cats. Also, they can be difficult for older cats to climb or jump to.
Typical price: Something basic should only be around the $25 mark. As always, there are luxury models available. You may want to treat your cat to an extra plush pillow. There are even mini cat houses available to attach to windows, with multiple holes for them to look out of. Extra features cost extra dollars.
A basic cat shelf is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a shelf for your cat to sit on. Some people have really taken this idea to the extreme, though. Cat shelves can be expanded with many extra features. Some people link many cat shelves together and create a cat runway. We’ve seen them turned into cat stairs, too. You can get cat shelves that fit snugly to your wall, or cat shelves that hang like hammocks. Cat shelves are like Lego. They’re not much to look at with a single piece, but put a few together and you can build something special.
Pros: The possibilities are endless for you and your cat. Having a wall mounted piece of cat furniture is great exercise for them. They have to jump to get up there, and jump again to get back down. If you have a few pieces, they have to jump and climb from place to place. You can build your cat an adventure playground, and they’ll never get bored of it.
Cons: This is quite a major investment to make in terms of space. People like to put things on their walls. Clocks, for example. Pictures, too. Televisions. Shelves for your own things! When you fit cat furniture to a wall, you’re surrendering that space. You should also be careful of what you’re giving your cat access to. Sure, the top of your kitchen sideboard was out of reach to them before, but how about now you’ve given them a handy launchpad halfway up the wall? As with anything that involves cats and height, beware of falling cats. Or falling furniture, for that matter. Your wallpaper or paint can get scuffed by repeated brushes against furry bodies. As with many entertainment devices, large or old cats may struggle to reach them in order to use them.
Typical price: The sky’s the limit. For a single little cat shelf on your wall? Probably no more than $15. To build a full sized cat friendly climbing frame on your wall? We could be talking hundreds. It’s all about what you want your cat to have, and how much you’re able to pay. Everything has been thought of when it comes to this kind of cat furniture. We’ve seen cat shelves with scratching posts on them. There are cat shelves with inbuilt trays for food. How about a cat shelf with an escape hatch for them to dive through? Tube cat shelves, which are like a cat bed on high? We’ve seen a whole “cat garden complex” made of interconnected cat shelves, hammocks, scratching posts and plants on sale for $600.
There seems to be some confusion in the market about definitions with these items of cat furniture. Some people call them cat condos. Other people call them cat
trees. We think that both terms are valid, and they’re not quite the same thing. We’ll try to separate them out for you here. We call them cat gyms because they’re designed to be perfect exercise solutions for your cat. The place humans go to exercise is called a gym, so we don’t see why we should call a cat exercise facility anything different! This is not an invitation to start taking pictures of your cat exercising and put them on Instagram with hashtags like #gainz. Oh, who are we kidding, you’ll do it anyway. Cat trees and cat condos are available for indoor or outdoor use, although the outdoor variants will be made of harder materials.
For the purposes of our article, we’re defining a cat tree as an item of cat furniture that has only one ‘trunk’, is vertical, and contains a feature like a bed or a toy to play with. It can have multiple ‘branches’ coming off it so long as they’re all connected to the central trunk. They’re often made of wood wrapped in faux fur, although sisal is also a building option. Usually, it’s a central pole, with something like a cat bed, house or perch on top of it, on a platform. The platform may have a ball or a mouse suspended from it on a bit of string for your cat to play with.
Pros: A great way of providing your cat with exercise without sacrificing your wall. It keeps them entertained, gives them a distraction, and another place to sleep. This is a better option than wall mounted cat furniture for older or larger cats. They don’t have to climb or jump up to it just to use it, and they can stretch and climb as much as they feel comfortable with.
Cons: Now, instead of sacrificing wall space, you’re sacrificing floor space. You need a large enough area to put them in. Ideally you want them a little away from the wall, and any chairs. They get battered very quickly, particularly by younger or more energetic cats who really like to test their durability. Also, the faux fur ones
will very quickly begin to smell of cat, and it’s hard to get the odour out.
Typical price: A basic one – with a platform on top and a house in the bottom or vice versa, is likely to be around $30. What you can pay for beyond that will depend on what you want from it. If you have multiple cats, you may want to consider multiple platforms (or a cat condo). Some cat trees go up to six feet high, with platform after platform for the curious climber. The taller it is – and the more toys, platforms and other items there are attached to it, the more you’ll pay.
You’re really spoiling your cat now, but that’s what you got them for in the first place. A cat condo is a little apartment that your cat could more or less live in, complete with a cat scratcher tower and a cat scratcher house! Modern cat condos come with all manner of bells and whistles attached. There’s tremendous variance between one model and the next.
They have a lot in common with cat trees, but tend to be wider. They’re often built out of the same materials – wood lined with faux fur or sisal – but constructed differently. They may have a circular base, often containing a cat house. They may also have two more more ‘trunks’, from which multiple platforms and features may be attached. They’re designed for comfort as much as they are exercise, so they generally look fluffier and more inviting than cat trees.
Pros: Multiple levels. Multiple scratching posts. Multiple beds to sleep on. More features fixed to it than they can count. This is cat heaven. They may decide they don’t even need you to entertain them anymore! If you want to give your beloved pet the ultimate in indoor entertainment, then this is what you’ll be wanting to get it. They’re ideal for multiple-cat households because there’s room for everyone to play at the same time. As with the cat trees, they’re also good for old or large cats who wouldn’t be able to reach wall mounted entertainment. You’re basically buying a PlayStation for your cat.
Cons: You really are sacrificing room now – cat condos are often as wide as they are tall. You may have to give away an entire corner of a room to accommodate one. Tall cat condos might go all the way up to your ceiling. Think about whether you really want your cat up there. Stylish cat condos come at a premium of both room and cash. All of the cons listed under the cat trees section also apply here.
Typical price: A good cat condo isn’t cheap. You may see some items marketed as ‘cat condos’ for around the $20 mark, but in reality these are either just beds on a platform, or cat trees in disguise. Cheap cat condos probably won’t do what you want them to do. A proper cat condo will be somewhere in the range of $50 and up. There’s no upper limit with these items of cat furniture either, whilst we were doing our research we saw an entire ‘cat castle’ on sale for $800! In fairness to the manufacturers, it was designed to cope with up to 10 cats simultaneously. Remember, sturdy cat condos will probably last a cat’s entire lifetime. It might be expensive, but you should only have to buy once.
If we were going to start talking to you about cat beds, this article would be double the length. There are as many types of cat bed as there are types of cat furniture in general. Suffice it to say that you can buy a cat scratcher bed: the best of both worlds, all in one.
You’d need to find someone who has the time and dedication to break them all down for you and help you decide which is the right option for your cat. Fortunately, you’re in the right place. Check out our comprehensive Catmart cat bed guide!
Modular Cat Furniture
This is the place where cat furniture meets art. Instead of buying someone else’s vision for what a piece of cat furniture should look like, modular cat furniture is an invitation to build your own. It will often consist of a series of wooden or PVC beams, some connectors, and some canvas or another flat material to use as platforms. There is a variant, however, which is made up of wooden blocks that fit together like Tetris pieces. The idea is that this is something you can build yourself to fit in the space you have.
Pros: As we said above, this is adaptable furniture. If your space isn’t quite right for a cat tree or a cat condo, and you don’t have the wall space for mounted cat furniture options, modular cat furniture could be your saviour. Built it as large or small as you wish. Have it bend around a corner if you want! There’s also the fact that it’s changeable. If your cats (or you!) get bored of it, take it apart and put it back together again in a new order. It becomes a new climbing frame for them, and they’ll want to investigate it. An old piece of furniture can become new again and again. It’s worth noting that the PVC variants are suitable for outdoor use if you wish.
Cons: It comes apart. Its greatest strength is its greatest weakness. We all know that cats have a habit of making sure that what can fall apart does fall apart. You also need a little bit of DIY and design skill to make this work for you. It will require more of your time than any other solution.
Typical price: Not as cheap as you’d think, and we’re not sure why. The basic PVC and canvas kits tend to retail around the $70 mark, and if you want the interlocking wooden variant you’re talking about something in the three figure range. Perhaps it’s better to think of them as an art installation for your home, like we said. It’ll make you feel better about the cost!
If you live somewhere that has a staircase, you know how much your cat loves charging up and down them. Often, they like it do it in the middle of the night for no reason at all. Cats seem to actually enjoy playing with stairs. And so people have build sets of stairs exactly for them! Never let it be said that cat furniture retailers don’t try to think of every need.
You know what stairs are, so we won’t insult your intelligence. They come in varying heights, they’re smaller than human stairs, and you can have them in hard or soft finishes. Faux fur is quite popular.
Pros: It might just stop your cat from waking you up at 3am on its next mad dash to the kitchen or litter tray. (Speaking of litter trays, you wouldn’t have that problem if your cat could get outside when you’re asleep. Have you seen our guide to cat flaps?) They’re great for older or larger cats who would otherwise struggle to reach other types of cat furniture. A strategic installation of cat stairs could mean that the wall mounted cat furniture you bought when your cat was younger still gets used.
Cons: They’re really not all that exciting; they’re just stairs, but smaller. Stairs are great if they take you somewhere, but a bit pointless if they don’t. They’re probably best used to make sure a cat has access to a different item of furniture, like a window bed or a cat shelf.
Typical price: A little dependant on the material used and the height, but we’re comfortable saying that $40 is about average.
As you can see, the options available for the discerning cat furniture hunter are almost endless. We’d suggest everyone should have a cat scratcher at the very least. It’s also kind to have a little in-house entertainment for your pet, and almost every home can accommodate at least something. Here are some things to consider:
- What’s your budget? As we’ve seen in this article, the basic price for each item is nowhere near the top price you could pay. The more features you go for (or the greater size), the more you’ll pay. Decide what your upper limit is before you start looking to buy, and don’t go above it. It stops you getting distracted by more expensive features or products you see online or in the store! The best cat condo will invariably look wonderful, but if it’s approaching the same price you paid for your car, be very sure you really want it.
- How much space do you have? You don’t want to bring a cat gym home and then find out it doesn’t fit in the corner you had earmarked. If space is tight at home for you, you might have been better off with a cat tree. Measure the space you’re considering using, and check the dimensions of the product you’re looking at. Make sure they fit before you buy anything. Even in a small home, you should have room for a corner scratching post.
- What’s on your walls? Using wall mounted cat furniture is a great way of saving floor space. It’s also pretty entertaining to see your cat climb and dive around your wall! Just be aware that the wall is theirs now, as is anything on it. We recommend you remove any clocks, pictures or anything else you currently have on there. If you put shelves on your wall and encourage your cat to use them, you’re telling the cat that the wall is a climbing frame. You can’t then tell it off if it jumps onto something that wasn’t supposed to be part of the fun! Also be aware of what’s in range. The new wall furniture could be just the platform your cat’s been looking for to launch itself towards something even higher. This can include ceiling mounted fans!
- What sort of cat do you have? If your cat has never shown much inclination to jump onto tables or windowsills before, that’s significant. It isn’t going to magically develop an interest in climbing or jumping just because you bought it something it can climb on. A cat that likes to be close to the ground will probably be happy with a nice bed and a scratching post. A large cat or an old cat probably isn’t a good bed for wall mounted furniture. If you buy something large that expands high or wide, you should have a cat that likes to investigate things and jump up to find out what’s above it.
That’s all the information we have to give to you. We hope you found it useful! Every good cat deserves something to play with, so consider your cat, consider your home…and happy hunting!