The Cat Tree Guide
Cats see rooms differently than we do. Where we will walk into a room and think the sofa looks nice when it's juxtaposed near that armchair, providing a nice conversation area, a cat will walk into the same room and view the sofa, the chair, and any other raised surface as various levels available for her to go up. So we see the floor, and she sees the first level. We sit on the sofa or the chair, but she sees it as one level up.
And then she might move to a shelf or the mantelpiece over the fireplace because it’s higher. Some cats like to go really high up and seem to be extensions of the Flying Wallenda family, while others are more conservative.
And if you have a multicat household, the one who always goes to the highest level is the one who probably has a higher status in the family. Having a cat tree in your home is the best way to give your cat two things she craves: a sturdy scratching post and an elevated spot from which to survey her territory.
A cat tree isn’t just a tall scratching post, although it does incorporate one into the design. It has cat beds on several levels. Some have a curved platform on one or two levels and a barrel-shaped bed on another. Cats love little hidey-hole places where they can rest undisturbed, and they feel safer and more comfortable in a closed-in place, and sometimes kitty just wants a safe window on household activities, so try to choose a tree with a variety of platforms.
Often, the scratching posts are covered in sisal, and the beds are covered in carpet. Cats both like and need an escape route — someplace comfortable and close at hand (or paw) where they can climb and get away from it all.
Unless you want your cat to use your dining room table, breakfront, and other fine furniture, you have to give her a cat tree. You should have one even if you have other places for your cat to perch. A cat tree is safe, not slippery like furniture, so your cat won't slide all over it.
This is the best of all worlds from a cat's point of view — a place of her own, a room with a view, as it were. It also is a scratching post where she can stretch out to her full length (which is very important) without the worry of it tipping over. The cat tree is where she can safely go if you have a family dog or children who are pestering her. Or just because ...
A cat rarely meows at another cat. This sound is typically reserved for humans. Buy the sturdiest cat tree you can afford and the tallest. Like the scratching post, it needs a very solid base so it won't tip over, and as much height as your pocketbook and house can handle. This is a piece of furniture for kitty and your home. Some companies make them in quite elaborate designs and colors, and they will work in with your décor, much like an objet d'art. Think of this as an investment that should last for many, many years. And it will be used daily.
The Window Perch
All cats need environmental enrichment. While a sliding glass door can provide a wonderful version of kitty TV, with all of the birds and squirrels presenting the entertainment, a window perch offers the cat version of a luxury recliner from which to watch.
It's usually a hammock that serves as a perch, so kitty has a choice of watching the world go by or napping happily in the sun as it streams through the window. It's also elevated, so it allows your kitty to get away from a pesky kitten or puppy.