Last Updated: 2 weeks ago

Can I buy a used cat tree?

It’s natural to consider used cat furniture to see how much the best scratching posts and cat trees cost.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to find out if you should get second-hand items for your cats.

Just keep reading.

Can I Buy a Used Cat Tree?

Cats have changed very little from the first time people realized those mini tigers could be very useful around the house and started leaving food for them.

a cute kitten on a cat tree

Environmental enrichment prevents behavioral problems and is also needed for treatment of most behavioral problems.

That’s why cat trees, perches, and shelves are a must for a happy indoor cat and provide the necessary mental and physical stimulation your kitty needs to exhaust their energy.

So, can I buy a used cat tree? In general, you can buy a second-hand cat tree, but you have to consider the risks of diseases and infestations.

Let’s talk about the dangers every cat owner should know when buying second-hand cat items.

#1 Fleas

Most cat trees have a carpeted surface, an ideal breeding ground for fleas, ticks, or mites.

You never know how well the owners have cleaned the second-hand item, and even the seller might not know about the infestation.

As such, when you buy a second-hand cat tower, you risk bringing these tasty things into your home and infecting your cat and your whole house.

And fleas are more dangerous than you think because they irritate your cat’s skin.

As dr. Adam Danish explains, “That constant itching allows the skin to break open and form scabs that can get infected.”

Moreover, fleas carry parasites, which can infect your cat, while ticks can be dangerous for humans as well.

Make sure to also check our review of some cheap cat towers.

#2 Viruses

Viruses are one of my biggest worries when thinking about second-hand cat items. Some viruses stay in the environment for a month, but others are very stubborn to get rid of, even with disinfection.

For example, feline panleukopenia is quite deadly to a kitten or a young adult cat, and it can stay in the environment for up to a year.

And even fully vaccinated cats have a slight chance of contracting the disease if they contact contaminated objects.

So, a bargain cat tree can cost you more than a modern cat tower when you consider the vet bills.

#3 Bacteria

Besides viruses, bacteria can also accumulate on used items, especially those made from cheap materials, such as plastic. That’s why it’s not a good idea to use a second-hand plastic food bowl.

And objects with carpets, sisal rope, or other fabrics are harder to clean well due to all the nooks and crannies. Bacteria can embed deeply into textured surfaces and ropes.

So, there’s a slight risk that your pet might get sick.

#4 Quality

Pet owners often say that the item they’re selling is in perfect condition. But there’s always a risk you’re getting scratchers with a badly damaged base or a worn scratching surface.

If the cat scratching post isn’t stable enough, your feline friend can get hurt if they fall when jumping on/off it.

And your cat can get so traumatized by the experience that it refuses to use any scratching posts or tree towers ever again.

Moreover, if the texture is too worn, it won’t feel right to your cat’s claws, and your cat won’t use the post.

#5 Unfamiliar Scent

Finally, buying a used cat tree can be a bad idea because your cat will detect unfamiliar cat smells. And that’s one of the smells cats hate!

Felines are very territorial, and bringing an item that smells like another cat can trigger stress, anxiety, and aggressive behavior.

And cats tend to use urine to mark their territory, so they will quickly mark the second-hand cat tree in an attempt to remove the unfamiliar scent. Imagine the stink!

cute cat on a white cat tree under title Can I Buy a Used Cat Tree

Even if you clean the cat tree well, it’s no guarantee your cat won’t get mad. So, think carefully about your cat’s personality before you buy a second-hand cat tree.

5 Tips for Buying Used Cat Tree

As I said, there’s nothing wrong with buying a used cat tree. However, you have to take specific steps to ensure the tree is as safe for your adult cat as possible.

#1 Talk with the Previous Owner

Before purchasing any second-hand cat items, chat with the previous owner to determine if their cat has had any health issues. Ask about flea treatment and deworming as well.

While not all sellers will be honest, it won’t cost you anything to ask. And if the cat parent is reluctant to answer, you’ll know something is up.

#2 Inspect for Damage

Check the cat tree’s base and levels to ensure they aren’t damaged and are stable enough to withstand your cat’s weight.

If the carpeted surface and the sisal rope are too worn down, you can replace the carpet by yourself. Check this video for more information.

#3 Disinfect Well

You need to deep clean the second-hand cat tree to remove traces of the other cat’s smell and potential viruses and bacteria:

  • Use a scrub brush and a comb to remove any left-over cat hair.
  • Remove the embedded cat hair with a de-shedding tool.
  • Clean dust, dirt, and debris with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Disinfect the surface with a pet-friendly solution and enzyme cleaner to remove odors.
  • Use hydrogen peroxide and water to kill germs and consider a flea spray to kill eggs.

#4 Wait a Couple of Days

Before allowing your cat to use the used cat tree, you should wait a couple of days/weeks. As I already said, used cat furniture can carry viruses and bacteria.

Fortunately, most viruses last several weeks before they are not a danger to your pet. So, waiting a bit can reduce the risk of exposure.

#5 Consider a DIY Cat Tree

If you’re afraid of your cat getting sick from a used cat tree, you don’t have to spend a fortune on an expensive cat scratcher.

You can build a cat tree by yourself from scratch. It’s not hard at all, and you can make a basic cat tree for less than $50!


Can You Reuse a Cat Tree?

Specialists don’t recommend reusing cat scratchers because they can carry diseases from the animals that have used them. But if you disinfect the tree well, the risks will be minimal. 

Will a Cat Play on a Used Cat Tree?

A cat might be reluctant to climb and use a second-hand cat scratching post because it smells like another cat. That’s why you have to remove all traces from the previous cat. 

When Should You Throw out a Cat Tree?

How long the construction will last depends on how much your cat uses it and the quality of the material. 
But when the cat tower is no longer stable and shows visible signs of wear and tear, you should throw it away and replace it with a new one.


Can I buy a used cat tree?

You can, but you should be aware of the health risks and ensure the construction is in good condition to withstand your cat’s weight.

Moreover, not all cats will be happy with an unfamiliar cat scent in their territory, triggering behavior problems.

What do you think about this topic? Would you buy a used cat tree? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

black and white cat hanging on a cat tree under the title Can I Buy a Used Cat Tree? The Answer Will Shock You!

Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.