Are cat trees dangerous for cats?
If you’re a cat owner, there’s a good chance you’ve considered getting your feline friend a cat tree. After all, what could be better than giving your kitty their very own place to scratch, climb, and nap?
But some pet parents have concerns about whether or not they are safe. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of cat trees and help you decide if one is right for your kitty. Happy reading!
Safety Precautions in Cat Trees to Consider
Sadly, the safety of a cat tree will depend on several factors.
According to Consumer Investigator Lauren Verno (1), cat trees are a must-have for your cats’ comfort. So, if this is our best way to keep the lovely pets happy; How do we get around the challenges of a quality cat tree?
Structure Of Your Cat Tree: Safe And Secure?
First of all, it’s important to choose a cat tree (1) that is made from stable, strong materials. The last thing you want is for your cat to topple the tree over while climbing or playing.
Furthermore, make sure that the scratching posts are made of durable materials that can withstand sharp claws.
Here are key things to consider in the structure.
If you have kittens and senior cats, shorter trees will work best for their safety and ease of climbing up and down. On the other hand, adult cats will do with a tall cat tree for a chance to explore more.
Other than the age, the cat’s personality will determine the height of the tree. Some cats love the climb and height, while others are into scratching.
2-The strength of the Tree Base
As expected, the base supports the whole tree. Thus, you have to ensure that the tree you settle for has a weighted base, which will not fall under the weight of the cat or multiple cats.
The stronger the tree base, the safer your cats will be even when getting playful on the tree.
3- The Design
Avoid any designs that feature small platforms or tight spaces where your cat could get stuck. Instead, opt for a cat tree with large, sturdy platforms and plenty of open space. This will give your cat plenty of room to roam and explore without putting them in danger.
Be sure to avoid any sharp edges or small openings that could pose a hazard.
4- The Number of Cats in the House
When you have more than one cat, your cat furniture preference is definitely different. You have to consider all the cats in the house, ensuring the safety and comfort of each.
For example, you will need a cat tree with more than one sleeping bay to accommodate more than one cat.
Safe Materials for a Cat Tree
Cat trees are made of different materials, and unfortunately not every material is safe for the cat.
Therefore, it is essential that you check on the tiniest material making up the tree.
Some of the materials for the trees include wood, plywood, and cardboard cat tree materials for the solid parts.
Then there’s carpet, sisal, and braided ropes for scratching points and resting bay.
I prefer wood due to its strength and as a durable material, not to mention that the material will always be safe for the cat.
Specifically, the real wood cat tree tops the safest building materials for the cat’s favorite point in the house.
Other than wood, corrugated cardboard makes an amazing choice for non-toxic materials for cat tree parts. The parts do not easily scrape off, and it is free of toxic material.
The scratching post and surface that is safest for the cat is a carpet material, which is solid and barely comes off. Besides, it is not toxic for the cat.
Some materials contain toxic materials that cause illness, and even worse, could be carcinogenic for the cat. as with most pet products, common toxic materials to watch out for in cat trees include;
- BPA: daily exposure affects the cat’s metabolism over time, leading to organ damage.
- Lead: causes neural health issues with long-term exposure.
- Phthalates: are toxic to the excretory organs, causing liver and kidney damage.
- Paint causes digestive issues when ingested, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
- Formaldehyde: exposure to formaldehyde is dangerous for inhalation as it causes respiratory issues, is carcinogenic, and is dangerous for general health.
When looking for non-toxic cat trees, consider the best eco friendly cat tree, made of material that is safe for the cat even when ingested.
After all, cats will ingest almost everything that sticks on their skin, due to their Attention to Grooming through licking.
Also note open cardboard and plywood are unsafe, given that a cat could easily scratch the boards into small fragments. This means that the fragments could end up in the cat’s gut, leading to digestive issues.
Other than that, any scratching material that easily strips under scratching is not suitable for the scratching posts
Are tall cat trees dangerous?
Essentially, the safety of the length of the tree will depend on the age and personality of your cat.
While tall trees are not ideal for kittens and senior sickly cats, the same cannot be said for playful cats in their prime.
Moreover, there are cats that will appreciate the height more than others. All you need is to pay attention to the behavior of your cat(s) before getting them a cat tree.
The good news is that there are cat trees for all types of cats.
So, are cat trees safe for cats? Definitely! As long as it is the appropriate length for your pet.
ALSO READ: Luxury Cat Mansion
KITTENS AND CAT TREE: Safety Precautions
It is obvious that you will be more careful with tree selection when it comes to kittens compared to adult cats. However, the only factor that is different for the kittens is the tree height, where kittens use shorter trees.
#1 Recommended Height
Usually, a kitten will do with a tree that is approximately two feet tall. While the kitten’s climbing skills are still wanting, the height is low enough to keep your pet friend safe.
#2 At What Age Can a Kitten Use a Cat Tree
Eight weeks is great for a cat to start tree climbing, as long as the tree is not more than two feet tall. However, kittens are different, and yours can be ready at two weeks younger or older.
Essentially, observing your kitten playing in the house will give you the signal on when they actually need a height for convenience.
#3 How to Get a Kitten to Use a Cat Tree
Interestingly, not all kittens will feel interested in a cat tree. For this reason, you have some coaxing to do.
Below are a couple of stuff you can place on different parts of the tree to get the cat’s attention on you;
- Toy mice
- Your kitten’s favorite treats
- A tree with dangly pieces
#4 Other Safety Precautions
Below are a few more safety tips for your cat tree for kittens;
Ensure that the tree has a stable base that is strong and wide to support the rest of the tree.
- check the tree weight accommodation versus your kitten’s body weight.
- Go for solid trees, which have shorter poles and wide perching areas to prevent falls.
- Let the kitten climb onto the tree on its own without forcing.
- keep the tree away from furniture, electrical cords, and flowers that produce toxic plant material when digested among others. If your cat loves plants, you can get an artificial plant for cats they can play with near the tree.
Can Cats Fall Off Cat Trees?
Yes, they can. Cats may be pros at climbing and perching (2), but they fall occasionally. It is therefore necessary that you consider a height that is safe for your cat to fall in such a case.
Is It Worth Getting a Cat Tree?
Yes, it is. A cat tree will save you from having cat damage and scratches all over your furniture while giving the cat a perfect house habitat and playing ground.
Do Cats Need a Cat Tree?
Well, not exactly. However, cat trees give the feline pets the vantage point they feel safest in; heights. On top of that, cats always retire to their tree whenever they don’t want people and dogs around them, so the trees are a form of privacy for them.
Are Cat Trees Dangerous For Cats? (Final Thoughts)
We may not all manage to take our cats to Luxe Meowner (3) due to distance and cost limitations, but we can definitely create a safe haven for our cats at home.
And, according to News Channel 5 (4) reports, a cat tree is the best treatment for most of your cat’s natural needs.
The better news is our confirmation; that cat trees are actually safe for cats. There are even safe tree options for your little kitty!
What are your thoughts about the topic? Please share with us down in the comments below!
- 1. Ai J. Interactive Cat Furniture Design [Internet]. www.atlantis-press.com. Atlantis Press; 2022. p. 43–8. Available from: https://www.atlantis-press.com/proceedings/cdsd-21/125969271
- 2. Bruce SJ, Zito S, Gates MC, Aguilar G, Walker JK, Goldwater N, et al. Predation and Risk Behaviors of Free-Roaming Owned Cats in Auckland, New Zealand via the Use of Animal-Borne Cameras. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 2019;6.
- 3. The Luxe Meownor: Singapore’s latest luxury boutique cat hotel [Internet]. Prestige Online – Singapore. 2022 [cited 2022 May 23]. Available from: https://www.prestigeonline.com/sg/travel/hotels-resorts/the-luxe-meownor-singapore-luxury-cat-hotel/
- 4. Consumer Reports: How to find the best pet bed to make your dog or cat comfortable and happy [Internet]. WTVF. 2022 [cited 2022 May 23]. Available from: https://www.newschannel5.com/money/consumer/consumer-reports/consumer-reports-how-to-find-the-best-pet-bed-to-make-your-dog-or-cat-comfortable-and-happy
Barry Stingmore is a British content creator living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats.
Barry works with the island’s animal charities to help manage and care for feral and abandoned animals. Alongside fieldwork, he works to support the charities with fundraising and raising awareness.