Best Cat Climbing Structures [For ALL Cats]

In order to keep your cats off your furniture, you should be providing them with a variety of the best cat climbing structures for their personalities, sizes, and preferences. Cat climbing structures are not to be confused with cat scratching posts which are only good for your cat to scratch on.

Structures are tall with multiple platforms for your cat to jump, sleep, scratch and play on. They are more practical and will keep your cats more satisfied than getting a toy that only satisfies one behavioral instinct.

Now don’t get us wrong, scratching posts are an amazing addition to your cat pleasing repertoire but it should be paired with furniture like cat trees, condos, wall mounts, etc.

The Importance of Finding the Right Cat Climbing Structures for Your Cats

Cats are the lovable, cuddly members of our family that bring a whole new perspective and variable to our lives. Their personalities, preferences, and sizes vary so much that sometimes it’s hard to really know what’s the best thing to do for them or how to make them more comfortable.

One problem that a lot of cat parents face is the dreaded furniture shredding. We spend THOUSANDS on couches, dressers, love seats, tables, chairs, and even toys for our kids just for them to be destroyed by our furry babies.

But we can’t be mad at them, we love them too much for that! Also, remember that scratching is a natural part of cat behavior albeit is still a big problem.

Sometimes we go and buy a cat climbing structure or scratching post that they’re really not even interested in. Has that happened to you?

Don’t worry, lol, its happened to me too, PLENTY of times! Then I learned that there are basically three different categories of cats and according to each category determines what sort of toys or structures they will take to.

Then after that, you need to consider other factors like their size, age, and physical condition.

For instance, if your cat is large then she’s going to need a sturdier structure than a small cat. She’s going to be heavier and likely stronger as well then a kitten or smaller breed of cat.

On the other hand, if you have a kitten or smaller cat, they might not be able to climb up a tall structure. If pushed too far they can potentially develop problems like a fear of heights or get injured if they fall off a tall cat tree for instance.

Likewise with older cats. They will likely suffer from joint issues that do not allow them to jump and climb as easily as when they were younger.

Studies have found that around 80 – 90% of cats over 12 years old will have developed osteoarthritis. In this case, you will need structures that are connected by ramps or stairs that make it easy for your cat to access and climb.

So you can see how important that you take the time to choose the right cat climbing structures for your kitties.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Your mind is exploding with questions, ‘what should you do’s and you might even be feeling a little nervous.

That’s ok! Just keep reading. We’re going to deliver the information you need to know and more!

Understanding Cat Behavior: Its A Little Different

You might not realize it, but cats are actually more aggressive than dogs. They are by nature hunters.

Think about your cat’s behavior and you will soon realize the validity of this statement.

Cats stalk, pounce, scratch, bite particularly around the neck & trip even in play. Some cats show these behaviors more than others but it is still important that you know, understand and accept this information.

Cats communicate differently depending on their upbringing and environment.

Some cats are very vocal. These are usually cats that have been raised around other cats since they were kittens.

Since cats are naturally hunt driven, they like areas where they can get a good vantage point. Different cats do this differently but the goal is still the same.

Some might like to be high and have a bird’s eye view of the area while others might like to be low and hidden. Obviously, a house cat doesn’t need to stalk their prey but they still have that instinct, therefore they still portray these behaviors.

It is important that you know how your cat communicates and behaves so that you can best help him or her. Also, it will avoid wasting money on a ‘stupid thing’ that your cat has no interest in.

Choosing the Right Cat Climbing Structures For Your Cat

Picking a Cat Climbing Structure By Your Cat’s Sizes (Sm, M, L, XL)

Cat sizes are very varied even in domestic breeds. Basically, there are four sizes, small, medium, large and extra large.

cat size chart

Small Cat

A small cat might also be a kitten. It is under 8 lbs (4kg) and under 13 in (33cm). Some small cat breeds are the Singapura and Bombay. Even if your cat is a kitten, s/he will still need cat climbing structures.

Small cats need cat trees that are low to the ground. They will still have multiple platforms and condos for them to play in. Sturdiness isn’t as important but you still want to get something decent.

Medium Cat

Most domestic cats fall into this category but some notable breeds are the American Shorthairs and Bengals. Their size ranges from 13-16 in (33-41cm) and weighs between 8-12 lbs (4-6kg).

Medium cats need climbing structures that reach above 52 inches high. This is the easiest category to find cat climbing structures for.

Large Cat

Some large cat breeds are the Ragdoll and British Shorthair. They range in size from 13-16 in (33-41cm) and weight between 12-16 lbs (6-8 kg).

A lot of large cat breeds may also fall into the extra large size category because their size ranges are so varied.

For Large cats, you need to make sure to get a sturdy cat climbing structure. Usually, these will be made from solid wood rather than compressed wood like most others.

They may also be taller since your cat will likely need to climb higher. Many models are designed like towers which means they are reinforced a lot better but there are also sprawling varieties as well.

Click here to check out the best cat trees for large cats!

Extra Large Cat

To give you a visual, an extra large cat is about the size of a medium dog. The largest domestic cat breeds, the Maine Coon and the Savannah, can both get up to 25 lbs (11 kg) naturally!

These cats also need a lot more play and jumping area than smaller breeds. This is why if you are the parent of an extra large cat you will need some sturdy, wall mounted, cat climbing structures even more so.

Extra Large Cats can be upwards of 16 in (41 cm) and, as forementioned, upwards of 16 lbs (8kg) reaching 25 lbs (11 kg). That is a lot of cat to cuddle!

Like with large cats, if you have an extra-large cat, getting a cat climbing structure made out of solid wood is not an option. You will probably also need more than a standing tree.

Adding wall mounted climbing structures is a must.

Click here to check out the best cat trees for extra large cats!

Choosing the Right Cat Climbing Structures By Your Cat’s Behavioral Patterns

In general, there are four different cat behaviors. This is what will really matter when deciding what cat structure is right for your fuzzy baby.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many variations of cat trees. for example? Its because different cats prefer different domiciles and observation settings. Sounds confusing? Here, let me explain.

Behavior 1: Tree Dwellerstree dweller

The tree-dwelling cat is probably the one that we are all most familiar with. Mainstream media always depicts the cat that got stuck in the tree or the one taking a quiet, afternoon snooze up high in its branches.

To some degree, this characteristic of cats is true. They tend to hunt in trees and get a birds eye view of their prey.

Some cats have a very strong instinct to be able to see what is around them, hence they spend more time up high. They do not and will not feel comfortable on the ground.

Cats with this behavior pattern will need climbing structures that are tall, off the ground, and parts with varying heights such as a tall cat tree with tall and short parts or/and (usually and) wall mounts that go up and down your wall. One breed that I can think of that is notorious for this is the Savannah.

Remember, if your cat starts getting aggressive and displaying bad behaviors, he might simply not feel comfortable being on the ground. One way to identify if your cat is a tree dweller is to note where she rests. If she is in a high place like on top of the fridge, TV stand, or dresser, she is probably a tree dweller.

When you think about structures for this type of cat, think HIGH off the ground!

Behavior 2: Bush Dweller

The Bush Dweller is almost the opposite of the Tree Dweller. He likes to be on the ground or close to it. He wants to be ready for his prey when it happens along. He likes to hide in a bush or tall grass much like a lion does.bush dwelling

If you are trying to identify if your cat is a bush dweller, again, notice where she is resting or relaxing. Does she prefer a pile of clothes in the laundry on the floor? or maybe she hides in the open drawer you didn’t feel like bending down to close properly.

Structures that are good for tree dwellers are low to the ground. Scratching posts and trees with boxes that are low to the ground will be perfect for your bush dweller. Remember, even though the cat prefers to be low to the ground she still wants to be hidden.

Behavior 3: Cave Dweller

This behavior is not commonly known and can easily be mistaken for bush dwelling but they are not the same. Let’s dig into the cave dwelling personality a little bit deeper.

Cave dwellers like low areas like bush dwellers but they don’t want to be found. They don’t want to stalk their prey, they want to hide out in dark, enclosed, secluded areas. This means that they tend to seek refuge under things like the bed or in your closet.dark cat

Have you ever had to really, and I mean reeeaaallllyyy, hunt for your cat to find them under the bed or behind the couch? During your search, you’re bending, crawling and moving things trying to find your fur baby?

Now, this shouldn’t be confused with a scared cat who is trying to escape a threat like another cat, a child or a dog. This is the natural, comfortable, normal behavior for cave-dwelling cats.

To keep a healthy relationship with your cat if he is a cave dweller, you will want to get cat climbing structures with fully closed in sections. This will keep your cat used to you, your family and your visitors. By doing this, he is less likely to display anti-social behavior which can be physically and emotionally draining as well as damaging.

Behavior 4: Combination

As the name suggests, a combination cat will display a combination of the above behavior patterns. This can mean that the cat portrays only two or all three.

Also, note that this type of cat varies greatly. No two cat is the same but realize that in this group, the variation is even more so. You will really need to pay attention to your cat’s habits before making a decision on climbing structures.

For instance, you might notice that your cat is sleeping in the closet and on top of the fridge or in areas that are in the open as well as really covered up. Their mannerisms might change too. For instance, they might be very sociable with you one minute and then not sociable with you the next.

Structures for this cat will be ones that include features that all cats would like. For instance, you would want a tree with varied heights that has a closed in box and another cubby of some sort.

Choosing the Right Cat Climbing Structures By Your Cat’s Behavioral Patterns

As you probably know, cats age differently from humans. In fact, their aging process is much more accelerated. Because of this, sometimes it is easy to think that you can buy an adult structure for your cat’s entire lifetime.

Although this is a pretty attractive choice, it is not the best one for your cat’s well-being. Like us, your cat has 3 stages to their life cycle. Note: The below ages are reported in human years.

  1. Baby/Adolescent aka kitten – under 2 years old
  2. Adult – 2 – 12 years old
  3. Senior – 12 years old until death

How To Tell Your Cat’s Age In Cat Years

For your information, if you want to find out how old your cat is in cat years, you can do so by using the following formula.

1st cat year = 15 people years

2nd cat year = 24 people years

Every cat year after = 4 people years

So a cat that is 12 human years is about 64 years old in cat years!

Best Climbing Structures for Kittenscat_climbing_structures_carpet

Kittens are the trickiest age when it comes to cats because a 6-month-old kitten looks pretty grown up. Don’t let its size fool you.

A kitten takes 2 years to fully develop. This includes body mass but also its structure aka bones, muscle, etc., cognition or brain development, reflexes, etc.

For this reason, we recommend that you get kitten furniture that is specifically for kittens. Look for structures that are low to medium in height and have relatively close platforms.

This way, small kittens can climb their way up and larger kittens can jump over them. In addition, if there is an accident and the kitten falls, they are less likely to be traumatized or injured.

Click here to see the best cat trees for kittens!

Best Cat Furniture for Adult Cats

Most cat furniture is designed with adult cats in mind. The biggest factor in deciding what kind of climbing structures to get for an adult cat would be their behavior preferences which we discussed in the previous section.

Always make sure the structures are sturdy to avoid accidents.

Best Cat Climbing Structures for Older Cats

Whether we like it or not, old cats are likely to have some sort of joint issues. This means that they will need specialized structures.

When deciding on furniture for senior cats, look for ones that have ramps, closely situated platforms, and low or relatively low to the ground.

Click here to see the best cat trees for older cats

What Can You Do To Get Cat Climbing Structures for Your Cat?

First of all, spend the next two days evaluating your cat’s behavior, age, and limitations if they have any. Write down where she naps, how she plays, where and how she likes to scratch if she’s having trouble moving and any other information that you think will help you in choosing the best cat climbing structures for your kitties.

Then come back and search for factors that depict your cat and situation. For instance, you might have two XL cats in an apartment building or 3 small cats that alternate between indoors and outdoors.

Next, pick up your free copy of our cat climbing structures decision making graphic. It will guide you to the exact setup that you should choose. You can grab yours below:

 

Great! Thanks so much and I hope that we can continue to provide quality information for you and your family.

Your next step is to read our blog. We will have information about all kinds of cat climbing structures and which ones are right for what kind of cats because it can be tough to really decide.

As you may know or now should realize, there are a lot of variables that you have to consider when finding the right structure set up for your cat. For instance, you have to consider size, personality, breed, behavior and even your location may have some part to play here.cat in tree

Remember, you’re not alone. We’re here to help! Click here now to check out our blog and I look forward to hearing from you. Feel welcome. Ask questions. Make requests. Communicate with us, we want to hear from you and help you the best we can!!

Happy cat climbing structures hunting and take care! Let’s save our furniture and garden beds together.

Click here to learn more info from our Blog

12 thoughts on “Best Cat Climbing Structures [For ALL Cats]

  • June 14, 2018 at 3:25 am
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    I am a cat lover and I have been one for almost a couple of decades now. I remember how unforgiving I was with felines when I was a kid. 

    During this time and in the place where I was born and grew up, close relationships with pets were not yet a common practice. For the majority, these animals were merely a companion and nothing more. 

    They fed them on whatever was left after every meal. 

    As time goes by, I’m happy that people have embraced fondness over their pets. Pet lovers openly pamper their favorite pets with different services, care, and treats as well as getting them medical attention when they need it.

    I have instilled this in myself and I have adopted stray animals whenever it is necessary and I am able to do so. 

    At present, I have two stray cats with me and a rabbit I call “Roger”. As a child I was very fond of owning a rabbit but now that I have one, I have realized how hard it can be to take care of one. 

    But just the same, I intend to keep him and get the best care I could offer.

    Reply
    • June 14, 2018 at 9:27 am
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      Wow, that sounds so interesting. Thanks for sharing some of your personal experience with us. I’ve never had a rabbit but I always assumed the cats would see it as prey so I never bother.

      I really want a guinea pig but never get one for the same reason. The funny thing is that my indoor cats seem more hunt driven than the outdoor ones, lol.

      Maybe that’s just because I see them all the time, haha! Hope you continue to give all your animals a happy and healthy environment to live in and thanks for choosing to adopt 🙂

      ~ Marlinda

      Reply
  • June 14, 2018 at 3:36 pm
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    This is great information. I do have a question. 

    My son has a cat that scratches up everything. Pretty destructive. 

    She has a few toys, but no climbing structures. Would this help keep their cat busy and stop the scratching on the furniture? 

    If so, then I will be buying a cat structure. This is a great guide!

    Reply
    • June 15, 2018 at 6:31 pm
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      Hey there!

      Thanks for the question and I’m glad you found value in this information.

      Yes, definitely get one asap! Getting his cat a/some cat climbing structures will definitely help stop his cat from scratching. 

      Cats absolutely LOVE scratching natural sisal which is what is used on most cat trees. They also love scratching natural solid woods

      One more point is that these structures give the cat horizontal AND vertical scratching room which is really important for them as well.

      If you’re looking for something not too expensive, you can go with Go Pet Club tree.

      If you’re willing to spend on a bigger, tree that will last forever and not budge and inch, try this Cat King’s tree.

      Reply
    • June 19, 2018 at 11:19 am
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      Hey Christine! Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you find the information I present here helpful. If you have any questions, requests or other feedback, please do not hesitate to leave them in the comments section of any post on this site 🙂

      Take care!
      Marlinda

      Reply
  • June 18, 2018 at 4:17 pm
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    Love the site, very interesting. I actually used to babysit my dad’s cat and he did not have any kind of scratching posts

    Needless to say my furniture took a beating. Great Information I definitely know better now. 

    I actually have some ideas to suggest to my best friend who has 3 cats after reading this site.

    Reply
    • June 18, 2018 at 8:23 pm
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      Hey Christine!

      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you found value in this information. Yeah, we’ve also had cats without any scratching posts too…not a pretty site…

      But yes, we live and we learn right? That’s what this journey is about. 🙂

      I’m glad that you can also help your friend better. Let them know if they have any questions they can feel free to drop any questions, requests, etc at the bottom of any post on our site.

      Talk to you later! 🙂

      Marlinda

      Reply
  • June 21, 2018 at 1:25 pm
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    I love your site. I did not realize there where so many different kinds of trees for cats with different personalities and sizes. 

    I have a small female lilac point Siamese. She is the first small cat I ever had. 

    I think she might be a bush-dwelling cat. She is a year old. It will be good to know what I can do for her when she is elderly.

    Reply
  • October 17, 2018 at 10:34 pm
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    This is incredible. I just thought you bought a cat tree and they are supposed to enjoy it. 

    I really had no idea that there was an actual breakdown of why they needed to climb. Enlightening to say the least. Thank you for the heads up. I will be getting one for my cats now. lol 

    IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE NOW! hopefully it will deter them/ distract them from tearing up my couch.

    Reply
    • October 21, 2018 at 6:45 pm
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      Hey Koby!

      I’m so glad that you learned a lot of information about your cat and why they need to climb.

      Hopefully your cats enjoy the one that you pick out for them 🙂

      Marlinda

      Cat Climbing STructures

      Reply

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