Part 1 of this article explored basic facts about cat trees: how cat trees can help timid cats, how cat trees can be a positive influence on cat behavior, and what to look for when shopping for a cat tree. In Part 2 we will conclude with where to put a cat tree, easy ways to create cat trees, and links to more information.
Cat Tree Location
Once you’ve purchased the ideal cat tree, carefully consider where it should be placed. Typically, a good option is to put the tree by a window so kitty can watch the outdoor activity. If you don’t like the look of the cat tree and plan to place it in some unused bedroom or in the basement, then it will just end up gathering dust. Remember, tree should be placed in a spot that your cat will find appealing.
Another benefit of a cat tree is that it can be refuge for a cat who shares his home with children or dogs. If you teach your children that when kitty is on his tree it means he wants to be left alone, it will go a long way in the trust-building process. If your cat shares his home with a dog, train the pup that the cat tree is a dog-free zone.
Think Beyond Cat Trees
Increasing vertical territory shouldn’t be limited to just placing a cat tree in your home. There are many other things you can add as well. Cat beds placed in elevated locations are an excellent way for cats to have cozy hideaways for naps. Window perches provide easy, inexpensive ways for cats to enjoy bird watching. For older cats who may suffer from arthritis or stiff joints, you can install heated window perches.
Cat stairs and cat walks are another popular way to increase vertical territory. This option is great for small environments where there isn’t room for a cat tree. You can purchase cat shelves and walkways or make your own. If you do construct a walkway be sure and put a non-slip material on the surface. Also, in a multi-cat home, set up a stairway in more than one location so one cat can’t trap another cat on a shelf.
Vertical territory can even be as simple as constructing a homemade cat tree with sturdy cardboard boxes. Cut out holes on the boxes, stack them up and secure them with strong tape. Your cat will have a custom-made cat tree that certainly won’t break the budget. In our home, we often create cardboard box cat trees and my children decorate them. It has become a fun family project.
Look around your home and evaluate whether you’ve truly provided adequate vertical territory for your cat. With just a little tweaking you can double and triple the size of your cat’s territory and create a more comfortable, secure and fun home.
Need More Information?
You can find more specific information on setting up your cat’s environment in the books Think Like a Cat and Starting From Scratch. If you have more than one cat and need more specific help with behavior issues or creating an environment that inspires harmony, check out the book Cat vs. Cat. This first-of-its kind book covers the many issues unique to living with more than one cat.
Which Cat Tree is Best?
When shopping for a cat tree, keep your cat’s size and personality in mind. If you have a large cat, don’t choose a tree with small, flat perches. The cat has to feel comfortable on the perch and not be worried about a leg hanging over the side. Choose a tree with perches that are an appropriate size for your cat. Large cats need large perches. As for the type of perches to look for, my recommendation is “U” shaped ones because they allow the cat to feel the perch against his back. Cats like to back up against things when resting because it helps them feel more secure and lest vulnerable to a rear ambush.
Cat trees are easy to find at your local pet product store and online. Prices vary, depending upon whether you want a basic tree or an elaborate one. What matters most to your cat though will be the sturdiness, height and comfort of the tree. Wobbly trees will not get used by the cat and will be a huge waste of money. The taller the tree, the wider the base should be. When shopping, be certain the tree can withstand your cat leaping from the ground to one of the high perches without so much as a tiny wobble.
Cat Trees Gifts