Are you having trouble deciding what to do with old cat tree towers?
I’ve often been where you are, as my cat loves tearing them apart.
As a result, I had to become an expert in dealing with old cat trees.
So I thought it’d be helpful to share everything I’ve learned to help you!
OPTION 1: How to repair/fix your cat tree
Most cat owners assume repairing is a difficult option when they are thinking about what to do with old cat tree. Because of this, they settle on throwing them away and forking over another $100 on a new one.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It only requires a little effort to turn these products back into excellent cat trees. Plus it will save you money in the long run!
I developed an easy-to-follow guide to help you repair them. So keep reading, and see how you can make them your cat’s favorite sleeping spot again!
#1 Assess Your Cat Tree’s Stability
Sometimes, a cat tree may be too far gone to fix. So it’s critical to check your tree’s condition before starting any repairs.
Looking at the cat tree’s structure is the best starting point. You’ll want to test whether it’s stable enough to stand independently when under pressure.
If it can’t, the tree will often need an entire rebuild and won’t be worth it. I once spent three times the initial price tag to repair a multi-level cat condo with structural issues. Lesson learned!
That’s why I always do this step first now. But if it’s stable, move on to the next step.
#2 Collect The Necessary Tools and Prep
Most hardware stores sell everything you need to repair their cat tree. However, it does cost some money to get these tools, so I’d advise planning a budget.
Here is the main list of materials.
- Sisal rope 
- Scissors and a knife
- Cordless, handheld vacuum cleaner
- Glue gun or Gorilla glue (any wood or fabric glue works)
- Carpet cleaner
- Work gloves
Once the supplies are gathered, look at the tree’s fabric. You’ll need to locate the areas where it remains intact and in good shape.
Grab your handheld vacuum cleaner (or a cat brush) to clean these areas. Continue using it until it removes all the fur left over by your feline friends.
This process could take a bit longer than you expect. Honestly, it was almost unbelievable how much cat hair was embedded in my old cat tree.
I also suggest using a carpet cleaner during this step. It should take care of any leftover odors or stains provided by your furry friend.
Any worthwhile carpet cleaner will offer noticeable results immediately. I couldn’t believe how much of a difference it made as my old cat condo/tree looked 1000 times better.
#3 Cut Off Any Frayed Sisal Rope
Dealing with frayed sisal rope on a cat tree’s scratching posts is tricky. In fact, I recommend putting on work gloves before trying to cut or unwind it.
I found my padded work gloves did a solid job protecting my hands. They let me cut the frayed parts of my tree’s scratching posts without any discomfort.
#4 Replace the Cut-Off Sisal Rope
Next, you’ll need to replace those cut-away rope pieces. Some owners will find it vital to buy replacement rope of the same size and color. But I wouldn’t consider it necessary.
After all, your feline friends won’t care about the sisal rope’s color. So instead, I’d suggest focusing on whether it can handle routine play without tearing apart.
Look in a hardware store if you’re having issues finding quality sisal rope online. I found a high-quality choice in a Home Depot and used it on all my cat furniture.
After buying your sisal rope, glue it and wind it tightly on the tree’s posts. But don’t use glue with a pungent odor, or it’ll need some airing out while you work on it.
I’ve found Gorilla Glue to be a solid choice when remodeling cat trees. It offers a perfect combo of excellent performance and a mild odor.
Anyone who’s a visual learner, check out this video about replacing a scratch post’s sisal rope.
#5 Remove and Replace Any Damaged Fabric
Do your best to find some fabric that best matches your cat tree’s material. But like the sisal rope, it isn’t a necessity.
I often find it fun to be a little outlandish with a cat tree’s coloring. In this case, I went with a hot pink fabric to give it a bit more flair.
Once you’ve found a suitable fabric, measure the intended placement’s coverage area. You’ll then need to cut out a square that’s a bit larger on each side.
This extra fabric is necessary to glue it onto the wood underneath your tree’s base. It provides a bit of wiggle room to ensure there isn’t a mistake.
Proceed to cut off the beat-up old carpet piece and apply glue to the tree’s post. Don’t be surprised if this part takes longer than anticipated.
It took me about 30 to 45 minutes with mine. My cat did some serious damage to it and almost all the fabric needed redoing.
After applying the glue, set the fabric on top and place some glue on the post’s bottom. But press the fabric down tightly, as I find it makes the glue hold much better.
#6 Enjoy Your Refurbished Cat Tree
Your old/new cat should now be ready for regular use. Make sure to place it in area where your cat loves to play for the best results possible!
If you want a visual aid for the entire process, look no further than this video.
OPTION 2: Repurposing Ideas For Your Cat Trees
Reparation isn’t the only answer for what to do with an old cat tree. Another option is repurposing for other uses around your home.
If repurposing seems interesting, I’ve created a list of three projects. All of them are perfect for making your old cat tree useful again.
#1 Make Your Cat Tree into a Side Table
Turning cat trees into a side table for your couch or desk is an excellent repurposing project. It’s a simple matter of knowing how to clean a cat tree, remove the carpet remnants, and stylize it.
I’ve known cat owners who’ve taken the stylizing part very seriously. For instance, some have their trees stained or put a thick round glass piece on top to provide more flair.
But I took the easier route and only painted it to match my living room decor. It has since become an invaluable side table for my books and water bottles.
#2 Turn Your Cat Tree into a Kid’s Game
I’ve come across many repurposing ideas, but none were more creative than this one. You start by taking a traditional cat tree (single post) and cutting off the top cat perch.
It ends up creating a makeshift horseshoe stake . From there, all you need is some plastic horseshoes to keep kids entertained during barbecues.
#3 Transform Your Cat Tree into a Bookshelf
Some of the coolest cat tree products are a small DIY project away from being a bookshelf. You take off the tree’s carpet, replace the condos with platforms, and it’s perfect for books.
But I’d only try this project with stable, tall cat trees. Otherwise, the cat tree tower might not be able to hold your books and other items without tipping.
OPTION 3: What If You Don’t Want to Keep the Old Cat Tree?
What does someone do who doesn’t want to repair or repurpose their cat tree? Of course, the only option left is getting rid of it, but there are even a few ways of getting that done.
#1 Give Your Cat Tree to an Animal Shelter
Every cat owner’s preferred option is to give their old cat tree to an animal shelter. It seems like a perfect way to provide neglected kittens or senior kitties with some fun.
So I’d start this process by calling your nearby shelters to see whether they take it. One should be ready and willing to use your cat tree tower.
You could also Google the phrase “donate cat tree near me.” It’ll provide several organizations or shelters looking for a donated cat tree.
But please clean the actual cat tree before donating it anywhere. If you don’t, it’ll have the smell of your furry friend, and “the cat now using it could start urine marking it.” 
#2 Sell Your Cat Tree Online or Regift it
If you can’t find a shelter, there are two other ways your cat tree can help another kitty. The most obvious method would be selling it online via eBay, Etsy, or Craigslist.
These sites will have pet owners looking for cat towers and trees. It won’t be difficult to find someone willing to pay you for them.
But I know some people are looking to dump these trees quickly. So I’d also suggest regifting your tree to a nearby cat owner who’s a friend or family member.
It’s a faster, more efficient way to ensure your tree’s helping another cat have fun. Plus, it’s always nice to help out a friend.
#3 Call a Junk Removal Organization or Recycle
Your last option is to call the nearest junk removal organization if the cat tree’s destroyed. I recently had to do this with one as my dog tore it apart.
But make sure to read the company policies before making the call. For example, it should state whether they take pet supplies, specifically cat tree disposal pickup.
If the tree’s made from Eco-friendly materials, you can also try to recycle it. Many recycling centers will take them without issue (read the guidelines to confirm).
ARE OLD CAT TREES RECYCLABLE?
Yes, most old cat trees are recyclable with their Eco-friendly constructions. But check out their materials to make sure before trying to recycle them.
There you have it! You now know what to do with old cat tree towers, from repairing to disposing of them.
Please let me know what option best suited your old cat tree in our comment section. I’d also love to continue discussing your ideas about dealing with them. Thanks for reading!
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- 2. Basic Horseshoe Rules The Courts [Internet]. Available from: https://www.csuci.edu/recreation/basichorseshoerules.pdf
- 3. How Safe Are Secondhand Used Pet Supplies? [Internet]. www.petmd.com. [cited 2022 Aug 7]. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/how-safe-are-secondhand-used-pet-supplies#:~:text=%E2%80%9CI%20wouldn