Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Scratching trees are the be-all and end-all for cat owners - not surprisingly, since they serve the cats as a vantage point, retreat and sleeping place. However, the price and quality of different models can vary greatly.

Find out what really matters in our cat tree guide. We have done some research for you and collected all the important information that is important for a purchase decision.




Summary

  • A cat tree fulfils a variety of functions for your cat. It is used for sharpening claws, playing, sleeping and hiding.
  • The choice of models is huge. Depending on the cat, you have to make the right decision.
  • A cat tree is available in different materials. The most popular are sisal, banana leaf and natural wood.

The best Scratching Post: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for scratching posts

There are some important points you should consider before buying a scratching post.

These criteria are discussed in more detail below.

Material

In principle, cats like it when it is cosy and warm, but plush does not always have to be the first choice. Although this material quickly accumulates heat, natural wood or banana leaf are more recommended in the summertime. These materials are more permeable to air and are not quite as warm.

Another disadvantage of plush is that dirt and dust mites collect very quickly. Whereas smoother materials can be easily cleaned, or simple fabric covers can also be washed.

Of course, the cat tree should not contain any harmful substances. You should pay special attention to intense chemical odours and refrain from using these products. After all, you don't want to harm your sweet four-legged friends.

Quality

Pay special attention to the scratching posts. Many inexpensive models have poor quality sisal wrapped around them, which can quickly become detached during claw care. To prevent this from happening, you can check the quality of the workmanship yourself in the showroom.

You should also look out for attached plush or fabric on the lying surface that is only attached with metal clips or glue. The metal clips in particular pose a great risk of injury to your velvet paws. Unfortunately, injuries of this kind happen more often than you think.

Size

The size of the scratching post should be coordinated with the size and number of your cats. We assume that your cat's urge to climb can only be expressed with a cat tree of at least medium size.

In addition, you should not only consider the height of the cat tree, but also the size of the lying areas and caves. Ideally, both cats should have room on the lying surface. If you have more than 2 cats, you might consider having two scratching posts in different rooms.

Equipment

As already mentioned, your cat tree should be equipped with at least one cave and lying area. There should be either one large lying area or two, in any case both cats should be able to find space at the same time. (We assume here that at least two cats are kept, as this corresponds to species-appropriate husbandry).

It is recommended that the scratching post is upgraded with some play possibilities.

Basically, your fluffy housemates love everything that moves, from balls to feathers, plush mice and the like. Some scratching posts therefore have the option of attaching their own toys. Others already have extra toys integrated. For your cat to really enjoy it, the scratching post should have at least two toys.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about scratching posts answered in detail

In the next section, we will answer all the important questions about cat trees to help you with your purchase decision.

What is a cat tree?

A scratching post is a place where your cats can play and relax, and also have a place to retreat to. That's why a cat tree usually consists of at least one lying area, a cave and one or more "tree trunks" on which the cats can sharpen their claws.

kratzbaum-test

Place the scratching post where you like to be, because cats like company. (Image source: Roy Buri/ pixabay)

Scratching trees come in a wide variety of designs and sizes, depending on how much space you have available and what demands you place on the model.

What types of scratching posts are there?

Below we present the most popular models of scratching posts:

  • Wall-mounted scratching post: This is relatively space-saving, and offers a good climbing opportunity for your pelt-noses. There are many variations and with the right fixings, you will get the stability you need.
  • Small cat tree: This model is usually lower than 80cm, and usually only offers a sleeping place, a cave and the possibility to sharpen claws. Due to the size, however, the climbing possibility is omitted. This model is recommended for small flats.
  • Cat tree XL: This is the largest model. Here the cats can really let off steam. The model usually offers numerous climbing, hiding and scratching possibilities, as well as some lying areas. However, you really need a lot of space.
  • Sisal scratching post: These are the most common on the market, and usually quite inexpensive. They come in a wide variety of designs and sizes. However, you should pay attention to the quality of the workmanship.
  • Natural wood cat tree: This type is a little more expensive, but can convince with robustness, thorough workmanship and a natural look. In addition, their stability and weight are higher than other scratching posts.

How much does a cat tree cost?

The range of prices is very wide, there are practically no upper limits. The most important factors influencing the price are material and size. A cat tree made of plush or sisal is available from 10£. More expensive, robust materials such as natural wood, however, cost several 100£.

Furthermore, the bigger the tree, the more expensive it is. But you should offer your pets something, and you will quickly reach a price range between £100 and £200.

Model price range
small cat tree approx. 10 to 30 £
medium-sized cat tree approx. 25 to 150 £
large cat tree (for several cats) approx. 50 to 400 £

Otherwise, the brand, quality and equipment are decisive for the price.

What material should the cat tree be made of?

Scratching trees made of sisal and plush are standard. There is an almost infinite choice, varying in features, price range and size. Sisal is a natural fibre and is very suitable for sharpening claws. However, you have to be careful with the quality. Often the sisal is only attached to cardboard, which means it can quickly break.

Banana leaf scratching posts are also very popular. These are characterised by their woven look, additionally it is air-permeable and consists of a natural material, which cannot have any harmful effects. However, a model made of banana leaf is a little more expensive and also wears out more quickly. That is why we do not recommend it.

The most expensive, but most robust variant is a cat tree made of natural wood. Its solid trunks and hardwood give the model a rustic, yet modern look.

However, it also provides a lot of stability, load-bearing capacity and scratch resistance. The purchase price is higher, but you will be rewarded with a long durability. We recommend this model especially for large or heavy cats.

Conclusion

Of course, every cat is individual and has its own special characteristics. Since you are the only one who really knows your cat, you have to decide which aspects of a cat tree are the most important. Does your cat prefer toys or climbing possibilities?

Does your cat romp around a lot and should you pay attention to the stability of the scratching post? Or is your cat already older, and therefore the focus is on comfortable resting places?

Don't just look at the price, but also the quality. Ideally, you should have a look at the models in a shop beforehand to convince yourself on the spot.

Article image: pixabay / VisionOfVictor

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