The cat tree is probably the most important piece of cat kit other than the litter box.
“Climbing, scratching and jumping are second nature to cats – like breathing” – Dr Jon of PetPlace.com. Of course, he is correct. First time cat adopters should be very aware of this, accept it and accommodate it before doing anything. When we buy a car we ask questions and do research. We make sure that it suits us. We might check that the garage is big enough, for a start! Cars are getting bigger and in the UK garages have often become too small! We make some preparations for the new purchase whatever it is. As a cat is a living, breathing sentient being we should make preparations that are more thorough and more extensive than usual. In short we should ensure that we have the mentality and facilities to accommodate our new family member.
It seems to me that it is something that often does not take place either at all or to a sufficient degree. Sometimes people approach the idea of “getting a cat” rather casually. I don’t think that it is wise to do such a big thing in a casual manner.
One of the greatest “problems” for human cat caretakers (“owners”) is a cat’s desire to scratch. A completely natural process. We owe it to the cat to allow it to express its natural desires. We would be poor cat caretakers if we didn’t – see for how to calm a cat. It goes further than that. A cat that can use facilities to enable him or her to express natural behaviour is a much more contented cat. A contented cat makes us content too. The relationship between cat and human works if we respect the cat and its behaviour.
If we try and modify the cat’s behaviour to fit in with our lifestyle and thoughts we are liable to end up with a failed relationship with our cat. Cats do what they want to do, what they need to do. We can’t force them down an unnatural route that suits us.
Declawing a cat takes from the cat an aspect of its natural behaviour. This is liable to cause distress and psychological problems. Declawing also causes a lot of pain. Do you want to put your cat through a lot of pain? Without wishing to dramatise, declawing is immoral and unethical.
Before adopting a cat, let us try and ensure that the environment is suitable. One way to do this is to buy a scratching post or cat tree. The latter is a combined scratching post and climber plus a high vantage point perch – cats like high vantage points as it gives them an advantage. This article by Maggie asks whether a cat will use a scratching post.
Here are some cat trees from Amazon and Animal Den (USA market) that might suit:
By the way, in general I don’t think it is worth our while to build our own cat tree. They are such good value, particularly in the United States that it seems pointless unless a person is a skilled carpenter or doesn’t mind a piece of equipment in their home that looks a bit amateurish. But others will have different ideas. Finn, a respected regular contributor made his own and recommends it.