Last Updated: 2 months ago

Feeling frustrated because your cat ignores their cat tree after you spent so much money on it?

Cats are such fickle creatures, but there’s usually a very good reason behind their actions.

This article will outline a few possible reasons for their fickleness in regard to their new tree and offer some solutions.

Let’s discover why some cats ignore cat trees, shall we?

Reasons Why Cats Won’t Use a Cat Tree

Why Cats Ignore Cat Trees and Proven Strategies to Change That

Before we can figure out what to do when cats ignore cat trees, we have to look at some of the possible reasons behind their fickleness.

1. Fear And Anxiety

While most cats are curious creatures, some tend to be a little shyer than others and can be timid around new things, such as cat trees.

Your cat could be petrified of this hulking new structure, or he could even just be afraid of something hanging near it. Take a look at the surroundings.

Do you have a plant dangling from the ceiling, right above the top perch? Is a scent diffuser sitting on a shelf near it?

Really try to think like your cat, then remove any offending objects.

Once Kitty gets comfortable, you can consider moving these things back to their original location.

It’s all about ensuring your cat feels safe and relaxed when using their new furniture.

2. Boredom

If your cat has stopped using their cat tree even though they loved it when you first got it, boredom is the most likely culprit.

Cats are prone to getting sick of items that stay in one place for way too long.

That’s one of the reasons we love modular cat trees so much. When Kitty gets tired of it, just switch things around!

Voila, new tree!

3. Comfort and Stability

cat playing next to cat tree

The tree’s ability to offer comfort plays a huge role in whether your cat will use it.

If it’s too small, scratchy, or hard, there’s a high probability that they won’t use it. 

Think about it: would you want to perch atop something that makes you itchy or that’s way too small to get comfortable?

Cats also aren’t too fond of areas that feel unstable. If your cat’s tree is wobbly, they aren’t going to trust or use it.

It’s not hard to understand, considering humans don’t like sitting in unstable places either.

4. Underlying Health Issues

Specific health issues could make your cat unable to use and enjoy their cat tree.

For instance, joint and mobility conditions would significantly impact their ability to climb onto it. 

Adding step-in stairs between the floor and the tree’s lowest perch could help.

This addition would allow them to walk through it without putting extra pressure on their joints.

Consider purchasing a senior cat tree for them.

5. Location

Owners often undervalue how vital the tree’s location is for their kitty.

In fact, it’ll be a massive factor that affects whether or not your cat ignores their cat tree.

For instance, you must realize that cats use this furniture for three purposes: playing, napping, and being your home’s sheriff.

Cats love watching everything that’s happening inside their forever homes from high perches. It would be best to place their tree in an area where you spend a lot of time.

Some examples would be your hallway, kitchen, bedroom, or living room. But make sure there’s plenty of space wherever you install it.

6. Territorial Issues

Multiple cat owners might very well be dealing with territorial issues here. 

In other words, another one of your cats could be bullying them into not using it.

You’ll want to address these territorial problems immediately to promote a happy multi-cat household

We recommend checking out this article on PetMD for more tips.

How to Get Cat to Use Cat Tree?

cute pink cat tree

You now have an idea about what could be the underlying reason behind your cat ignoring its cat tree.

The next step is figuring out how to solve it. Here are a few tips to get the job done.

1. Move Tree to a New Location

If you suspect a location is the main issue, move the tree to a place where your cat likes to spend their time.

It should be a place where they feel comfortable and away from other cats that might be bullying them.

Multiple cat owners might need to buy separate cat trees for each of their felines.

In this situation, placing them in different areas throughout the house could ensure each cat gets equal access. It would result in a lot fewer fights.

If you don’t have a ton of space to install multiple giant trees, consider these space-saving options.

2. Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement can go a long way in ensuring your cat has a good experience with their new tree. 

Spend some time playing with your cat near the tree! Don’t force him into it; just make the surrounding area more pleasant for him.

Some excellent toys to use would be ropes, feather toys, or even shoe strings.

Anything capable of getting your cat’s paws moving around or on the structure should help them feel more comfortable. 

It’s a simple way to use your cat’s trust to encourage their acceptance of this newly purchased cat tree.

You could even place some of their favorite toys on the structure itself.

3. Gain Your Cat’s Interest

two cats playing on a cat tree

Using catnip, treats, or food is another way to make your cat more interested in the cat tree.

For instance, laying out a line of treats on the climbing area could encourage them to climb up the entire structure. 

You can also feed them special rewards on the structure’s lowest level, such as these homemade salmon treats

It would make them spend more time on it and gain a little familiarity with it.

4. Make it More Comfortable

It would be best if you made the cat tree move, inviting your cat as well.

Placing soft, comfortable bedding on it could be the very thing capable of making them use it regularly. 

On multiple-floored cat trees, you could try and put different bedding on each level.

It could ensure your cat doesn’t become bored with the tree by giving them a few options.


Even if you follow all of these tips, you could still end up with a cat that ignores his tree. Don’t force the issue.

Some cats just aren’t into them, and trying to make him use them will just terrify him.

If your cat never comes around to the tree, either return it if you can or sell it. Most cats, though, will come around if you follow the tips above! Just be patient!

Did your cat ignore their cat tree? Share what worked for you below!

Feeling frustrated because your cat ignores their cat tree after you spent so much money on it? Check out our guide on what to do!
Ben Roberts
Ben Roberts

Ben is an animal lover, blogger, and all around geek. He divides his love equally between his family, his animals, and his video games. In his spare time he is attempting to get a blog off the ground. Boy, are they heavy!