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As a cat veterinarian, I'm often asked what type of cat tree I recommend for easing cleaning, ensuring safety, and keeping cats happy. With so many options available, it can be tricky to choose the right one. In this blog, I'll cover the features that make a cat tree ideal for feline fun and owner convenience.


Look for cat trees made from carpets, wood, and sisal for durability and easy care. Tightly woven fabrics that resist snagging and fraying hold up to cat claws better. Sisal is a popular cat tree material since its durable fibers withstand scratching. Sealed, stained, or laminated wood perches are also claw-friendly. Prioritize non-toxic dyes and surfaces safe if chewed on.

For cleaning, removable carpet covers allow thorough washing to remove hair, stains, and odors. Wood, sisal, and plastic components can be spot cleaned as needed with mild soap and water or disinfectants. Avoid ornate fabrics that trap hair and delicate embellishments that snag claws.


The shape and layout of a cat tree impact both safety and enjoyment. Look for sturdy, wide-set bases with non-tip construction so trees don't wobble or topple. Rounded perch edges prevent injuries.

Multiple tiers and platforms encourage climbing and allow cats to survey their territory from different vantage points. Inclined ramps and posts make it easier for less agile cats to navigate between levels. Plenty of hiding spots, side cubbies, and dangling toys accommodate interactive play.

For owner convenience, cat trees that fold up or come apart make cleaning and moving easier. Compact and wall-mounted trees maximize space in small homes. Carrying handles and lightweight materials improve portability.


The right textures and surfaces allow cats to satisfy scratching instincts, offering an appealing alternative to your furniture! Sisal-wrapped posts and jute-covered platforms stand up to scratching. Carpeted surfaces should be medium/short piles for claws to catch.

Rough wood and fibrous surfaces help remove dead sheaths from cat claws for a healthy scratching experience. Look for platforms and perches covered in non-slip materials to avoid slides. Rounded corners on perches protect paws and prevent claws from catching.

Non-toxic dyes and finishes ensure cats stay healthy if surfaces get chewed or ingested during play. Natural sisal fibers and wood meet safety standards.

Eco-Friendly Materials

For sustainability, look for renewable, responsibly sourced materials like bamboo, rattan wicker, recycled cotton, and natural sisal. FSC-certified wood comes from responsibly managed forests. Low VOC stains and dyes reduce environmental impact.

Made in the USA cat trees reduce fossil fuels for transport. Biodegradable sisal and jute mean less landfill waste. Eco-friendly materials are safer for cats to chew and scratch.

The Ideal Cat Tree Checklist

  • Durable, tightly woven fabric covers
  • Non-toxic dyes/finishes
  • Removable/washable components
  • Sturdy, non-tip construction
  • Multiple tiers and vantage points
  • Inclined ramps for accessibility
  • Cubbies, toys, and scratch surfaces
  • Foldable or collapsible design
  • Carrying handles for portability
  • Renewable, ethical materials

With these veterinarian-recommended criteria, you can confidently choose a well-made cat tree that enhances your cat's health and happiness while making your life easier! Let me know if you have any other cat care questions!