Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to our big outdoor cat tree test 2021. Here we present all the outdoor scratching posts we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best outdoor cat tree for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy an outdoor cat tree.




Summary

  • Before you think about buying an outdoor scratching post, you should first find out what characterises one and get an overview of possible offers.
  • The decision lies above all in the choice of material. Every material has its advantages and disadvantages, you have to decide for yourself which one seems most suitable for you and your pet.
  • There are different criteria you should consider when thinking about getting an outdoor cat tree.

The Best Outdoor Scratching Tree: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should deal with before buying an outdoor cat tree

What questions should you ask yourself when thinking about buying an outdoor cat tree? What distinguishes it from a normal cat tree and what qualifies it as an outdoor cat tree?

We have tried to give you a rough overview of the most important facts about the topic of outdoor cat trees, such as the different sizes, manufacturers, brands, costs, etc.

What is an outdoor cat tree?

The cat tree is one of the most popular devices for cats. It is primarily used for sharpening the claws, but is also excellent for climbing/gymnastics, romping or simply lying down.

The scratching post can serve the cats not only as climbing fun, but also as a place of retreat. (Image source: pixabay.com / g3gg0)

The cat tree is not only for climbing fun, but also a retreat for cuddling, sunbathing or relaxing. Depending on the size of the tree, several cats can romp around on one cat tree.

Cats use scratching trees not only as a place of retreat or playground, but also as a vantage point and climbing opportunity and, as the name suggests, of course to scratch themselves.

But what is the difference between an outdoor cat tree and a normal indoor cat tree?

In principle, it is often a normal cat tree that is built the same or similar to an indoor cat tree, but it is made of a different material.

This means that the surfaces/reclining elements/shapes are made of material specially suited for outdoor use. The scratching posts, for example, are often made of solid wood or natural wood, which is then covered with polypropylene rope.

This is in contrast to indoor scratching posts, which are usually covered with plush and fur. If you are also interested in indoor scratching posts and would like more information, you can read about all the types, costs and advantages and disadvantages of an indoor scratching post in the following article:

Depending on where the cat tree is then located outside - on solid ground, under a cover or completely outdoors - you should use different materials.

For which households or cats is an outdoor cat tree suitable?

Basically, there is hardly a cat for whom the purchase of a scratching post would not be recommended. There is also no right or wrong when it comes to the age of the cats, but it is probably common sense that a baby cat could not yet climb the scratching post.

However, one can roughly say that cats from the age of about 12 weeks are definitely able to climb a scratching post.

Cats need a scratching post to sharpen or shorten their claws and would otherwise very likely try to do so on the furniture at some point.

For example, if you don't have a garden or an indoor cat that doesn't get much exercise, but you do have a balcony or roof terrace, then you should consider buying an outdoor cat tree. But even if you have a garden or a terrace, an outdoor cat tree often provides an exciting change in a cat's life.

Especially for old or sick cats that don't want to or can no longer roam too far, such a cat tree is recommended. If you also want to give your cat a great garden feeling on the balcony, you can read in this article how to turn the balcony into a cute little garden:

What sizes of outdoor scratching posts can I buy?

There are many different sizes of outdoor scratching posts. The right size for your cat depends solely on the breed or size of your adult cat.

The scratching post and the lying areas should therefore be large enough for the cat to lie down stretched out. Some scratching posts also have small caves - here it would also be advisable to look for a scratching post in which your cat can actually lie down in the cave.

How much does an outdoor cat tree cost?

The cost of an outdoor cat tree varies greatly. As a rule, however, it costs between 50-200 €, depending on the quality, brand or manufacturer, etc. Below is a brief comparison of the most popular products:
product price in €
Karlie cat tree approx. 160 €
Vesper approx. 100 €
Clevercat approx. 50 €

What alternatives are there to an outdoor cat tree?

An alternative to the classic outdoor cat tree would be, for example, a cat house or another piece of scratching furniture. Other scratching furniture includes scratching boards, scratching circles etc.. - these are pieces of furniture or equipment that have a similar function to a scratching post. With cat houses, the cats can find a shelter or a den, just like with a cat tree with a den.

However, the cat tree is considered the most popular variant, as it combines both components.

Decision: What types of outdoor scratching posts are there and which one is right for you?

There are a few things to consider when buying an outdoor scratching post. First of all, you should find out which materials are available and how you can differentiate between them.

We will then break down the individual materials including their advantages and disadvantages.

What different materials can an outdoor cat tree be made of?

While the indoor cat tree is often made of plush, artificial fur or similar materials that magically attract and absorb dust and moisture, the outdoor cat tree scores with other elements.

The demand on the outdoor cat tree is that it has to withstand the weather conditions or should be weatherproof as far as possible.

The most well-known materials when talking about outdoor scratching posts are:

  • Wood (natural)
  • Wood with additional treatment
  • Teflon coatings
  • Polyrattan
  • Plastic

There are many different materials with which an outdoor scratching post can be covered. (Image source: pixabay.com / Alexas_Fotos)

These listed substances will now be explained further so that you can hopefully decide more easily on one of the options after reading!

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each material?

Wood

Most scratching posts - whether indoor or outdoor - consist of a wooden core anyway, which is then covered with various materials to create a cosiness factor.

With outdoor scratching posts, however, it's not so much about creating a cosy effect in the warmth, but a change or bringing cats closer to nature in a way. If the cats had a free run, they would also come across wood in the meadow or forest and sharpen their claws on it.

Of course, you should check what kind of wood it is, because some wood, such as solid wood, is understandably better suited for outdoor use than soft wood. Here is a simple summary of the pros and cons:

Advantages
  • Flexible to use
  • Natural
  • Quite easy to care for
  • Environmentally friendly
Disadvantages
  • Can rot more easily
  • Not very cosy
  • Depends on the wood

Wood with additional treatment

By this we mean that the scratching post is made of wood, but it is either treated with a special protective stain or coated with another material.

This can be an oil glaze, a weatherproof glaze or a surface protection sealant. You can also easily do this yourself, for example.

Advantages
  • Very stable basic element
  • extra protection
  • rot less easily
  • quite easy to care for
Disadvantages
  • Not very cosy
  • let in regularly

Other materials

Other very popular elements to cover a cat tree are Teflon, polyrattan or plastic. Especially for lying surfaces, people like to use components that are coated with Teflon.

These materials are usually not only cheaper, but are also very suitable for outdoor use and are often used outdoors.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to care for
  • Often cosier
  • Morse heavier
Disadvantages
  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Unnatural
  • Often less stable

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate outdoor scratching posts

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible outdoor scratching posts. Below you will find the criteria that will help you to distinguish between different outdoor scratching posts:

  • Material
  • Size
  • Brand/Manufacturer
  • Weight (own weight as well as load weight)

Material

As already mentioned above under Decision, there are different substances an outdoor cat tree can be made of. Often such a scratching post is made of several different materials.

Usually, the individual components of the scratching post are covered with some other element so that the cats do not have to lie on the bare wood - although this does not necessarily have to be negative.

Roughly speaking, you can differentiate between wood and plastic, which in turn can be inlaid or coated differently and therefore have a different hand.

However, it would go beyond the scope of this article to go into every detail of all the coatings, overlays, etc. and to list all the terms.

Size (also of the cats)

The size of the outdoor scratching post should be chosen according to the size of the cats.

So don't make the mistake of getting the scratching post in the first few weeks or months if you don't know exactly how big your adult cat will be.

The scratching post should be big enough so that the cat can lie down in the den. (Image source: pixybays.com / Didgeman)

In principle, you can estimate the size of a cat well, as long as you know the breed. With the size, especially the lying areas and dens have to be considered. The cat should be able to lie down stretched out on the surface, as well as in the den.

Brand

As with most products, there are many brands and manufacturers that produce and offer outdoor scratching posts. In the section "Where can I find an outdoor scratching post?" you can find a list of some suppliers and manufacturers.

Weight

You would think that there is a difference between the weight of the scratching post, which is relevant for transport or assembly, and the load weight.

However, as a rule, only the tare weight or the weight including packaging - if it is ordered and shipped online - is stated. The load is therefore mainly made dependent on the size.

Facts worth knowing about outdoor scratching posts

Can you build an outdoor scratching post yourself?

Indeed! Many people have asked themselves this question and you can find a lot of instructions and manuals on the internet on how to make an outdoor scratching post yourself.

The easiest way is probably the wooden version, because apart from the trunk of the scratching post, which should usually be a bit more solid, you could simply use driftwood for the other parts and cut the lying areas out of wood.

Can I also buy individual spare parts for outdoor scratching posts?

Buying spare parts for your outdoor cat tree is no longer a problem. There are plenty of shops and websites that offer a wide variety of spare parts.

Picture source: 123rf.com / 99222593

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