I’ve learned my lesson the hard way over the years that you tend to get what you pay for with cat trees, towers and posts.
I’ve had some which have literally last a couple of weeks before the scratching led to partial collapse.
Once one post collapses, it’s virtually game over for the entire cat tree. That broken post is very likely to be on at the bottom, holding the rest of the tower up.
Unless you’re a a handyperson or have one available who can help you, getting that tree to stay standing can be difficult, if not impossible. And it’s a real shame to see an otherwise usable cat tower become unusable in its original shape just because one of the posts collapsed.
The culprit and Achilles heel lies in the quality of the material that the posts themselves are made of, UNDERNEATH the rope. Yes, you cant see the posts.
But once one breaks in half after your cat has scratched right through it, you’ll quickly be able to see the true quality of your cat tree when it’s internals reveal itself.
The cheapest ones will have posts made of very thin cardboard. It goes without saying that this stuff won’t last long with one or more cats who are even just average scratchers.
The toughest towers will have much thicker cardboard or other strong material holding the whole thing up. If you can afford it, this is what to aim for.
How long a cat tree lasts will of course depend not only on its quality, but also of course on how and how often it’s used! One cat who makes light use of a cat tree is likely to be able to enjoy it for a long time.
Multiple cats who are aggressive scratchers, and who might not have many other scratching options, can easily make light work of a low quality tree.
In these circumstances, the consideration of a more sturdy, better build quality tree can pay dividends in the long run. Having multiple trees and scratching posts will naturally spread the damage around more evenly (well, that’s the goal), rather than having just one single tree bear the entire brunt.
On the contrary, a large cat tree I picked up about 11 years ago, after getting my very first cat, is STILL completely intact to this very day. Every post is still standing and it’s just a solid, well built tower. I don’t even recall where I got it from; probably from a local ma and pa pet store.
Really, those were the days before online shopping became the default. I do recall that it cost around three times more than the average similar sized trees. I think that investment paid itself off rather nicely!
So am I saying you need to spend more than you’re comfortable with to get a good cat tower? No, but as long as your expectations are in check with whatever you buy at the budget you have (and your prediction of how much love your cat will give it), then you won’t be disappointed.
For me with my 6 cats, if a tower lasts a year I’ve made a good choice. If it lasts 10+ years, like my top quality one mentioned above has – I’m ecstatic. Somewhere in between is generally a pretty good lifespan for a piece of cat furniture.
Best cat scratching posts:
There’s nothing like a good simple scratching post. You can put them anywhere. They don’t take up much room. They’re usually affordable enough to be able to have several of them around the home in strategic places (usually to distract from something else you don’t want scratched nearby)