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Best Scratching Posts for Cats: Cat Shelves, Cat Stands and Cat Tree Houses

Updated on May 7, 2012
Cat shelves have become very modern and sleek!
Cat shelves have become very modern and sleek!

Cat Shelves and Scratching Posts

Cat shelves will not only benefit your cat, but also you (and your furniture!). There's been a rise in the number of cat owners worldwide. More and more people are learning that having cats outdoors brings with it a vast array of dangers: feline A.I.D.S (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), feline leukemia (FeLV), exposure to poisons, other animals and traffic. The average lifespan for the outdoor cat is 5 years versus 14 to 18 for our indoor felines.

While we're bringing in our cats to stay, they are naturally deprived of their natural inclination to climb, exercise, hide, and explore. So, attempting to bring a little of the outdoors inside is optimal for your cat's mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are a number of products to fill the needs of the indoor cat: scratching posts for cats, cat condos, cat trees and cat shelves are a perfect solution.

Many cat condos and cat trees have built-in cat beds, great for the owner attempting to dissuade kitty from sleeping on the designer couch or the owner's bed... It's a great way to give your cats their own special cat bed. Naturally, there is still the constituent of cats who will choose to continue with his or her old sleeping habits, but many cats have been reformed and enjoy the comfort of their new sleeping quarters. In the end, they are still able to use their new cat furniture as a climbing, scratching, and hiding tool. Ideally, the cat will substitute the cat condo as the new scratching post in lieu of your favorite furniture.

Cat Shelves

We have a cat that MUST be high up in the air, you might have one of those, too. She will climb up on the top of our kitchen cabinets to get the best view of the goings-on up there. Her next favorite spot is the refrigerator, not only is it high, but it's also just a little warm up there. We decided it was time to look into cat shelves for her. We were amazed by the cool selection- there's way more out there than I would have imagined! You can purchase cat shelves and perches that attach to window sills, free-standing shelves and multiple layer ones for your cat's pleasure.

If you have a bird watcher you're trying to keep off your favorite chair or couch, one that attaches to the windowsill is a great option. These are great because they don't take up a lot of space, unlike some. And, they're not a blaring eyesore, either! Some are actually quite stylish.

We ended up choosing the Cat Cloud Cat Shelves because they're easy to install, they are attractive, they have both left and right orientations and they're very strong since they're made of steel. Each one has two platforms for your cat(s). They come with wall anchors and very easy instructions. I actually didn't want to pull my hair out (like I do when I'm assembling Ikea products!). My kids pretty much look like they're walking on the walls! It's awesome... They have magnetic pads so they're easy to replace should you decide you want to move your cat shelves.

Top Rated Scratching Posts for Cats on Amazon

Modern Cat Shelves

Cat Shelves, Flickr:  pixie_bebe
Cat Shelves, Flickr: pixie_bebe

Scratching Posts for Cats: A New Breed of Cat Condos

There is way more on the market today that scratching posts for cats. When most people picture cat condos, they think of the ones with one or two cubby holes covered in carpet. Now, these are definitely still on the market, but there's been quite an expansion in the options on has now when shopping. No doubt, the original design is not aesthetically pleasing, and they're often quite big. Many owners aren't willing to have this large piece of cat furniture as the centerpiece of their family rooms. Good news, the new, modern cat condos can be quite attractive.

Some are now made of metal, wood, or a mixture of both and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and designs. There are even companies that will custom make them to match your furiture. Many are still made of plywood or pressed wood. In addition to carpet covering, they are also covered in faux fur, faux fleece, and even those made with washable materials.

Cat condos are also referred to as cat trees (not to be confused with the true cat trees discussed below). Generally they're considered trees since they have multiple platforms and climbing devices like poles and ladders. They're not just a hidey hole for the cat, in other words. They also double as scratching posts for cats.

Cat towers differ from cat condos in that they don't typically have a condo (or enclosed area) for the kitty to sleep. Many, however, are combination cat tower/cat condos, the ultimate scratching posts for cats.

Cat Towers, Cat Trees and Cat Condos from Amazon

How to Choose Cat Shelves, Cat Perches and Cat Tree Houses

When shopping for cat shelves for your cat, you definitely want to focus on durability, just as you would your own furniture. You want the kitty condo, cat shelf, or cat tree to be made from sturdy materials that will last a long time and won't readily wear out, or collapse. Quality is important not only for safety, but also will save you money in the long run. Armarkat, for example, makes some very quality cat furniture and scratching posts for cats. Beware of the lure of discount cat condos, again they may be inexpensive, but not worth the safety risk or the money. No doubt you can get some great deals on the internet, but do some research on discount kitty condos! Make sure they're from a reputable company, look at the reviews, and investigate what materials are being used.

For safety reasons, choose one with a wide, stable base that cannot tip. The combination condo/tower is particularly at risk of being top heavy, so choose with care.

Cat trees are the ultimate climbing experience for your cat. They literally look like trees and have branches and leaves. They're hollow and have entrance holes providing cats a vast tunnel network. They have cat lounging platforms at the top of the tree where they can take a nest from their climbing efforts. Some are simple, some are more like pet accessories for the stars!

Ideally, for your sake and the cat's, choose one that has a vast amount of space for scratching. Many have multiple scratching posts for cats, others just have platforms for scratching. Some ultra-modern designs made primarily from metal don't offer enough opportunity for scratching. Take a close look at the design if you're trying to dissuade your cats from using your furniture as their scratching posts.

Choose a cat tower, condo, or tree that suits your cats personality. Some cats are natural climbers and prefer to be as high in the air as possible. I have a cat like this, when I can't find her, I simply look up. So, one that's tall with perches on top would be ideal. Other cats have a strong desire for a safe, hidden place to sleep or escape from the chaos of a house, so this may be the ultimate cat bed. In this case, you'll want one that has the built-in enclosed condo. Some even have built-in hammocks that many cats enjoy. Again, there's an astounding amount of variety and choice, so there's definitely one to suit both you and your cat(s).

Courtesy:  flickr, AlishaV
Courtesy: flickr, AlishaV

Building Cat Condos

There are plenty of websites offering do-it-yourself directions for building cat condos, cat platforms or cat trees. If you're fairly handy and have some expertise, then could be a great option for you. Make sure you begin with quality materials and begin with a wide base.

There are also plenty of companies that will sell you a kit. Others have cat condos plans for sale. These can be a great choice for one with less building experience. Again, investigate the materials, company and read the reviews. Make sure you're not substituting savings for quality.


Submit a Comment
  • wordscribe43 profile imageAUTHOR

    Elsie Nelson 

    8 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

    I don't blame you for not wanting to get a used one. I'd be afraid my cats would pee on it with all the other cat smells... Some of the smaller ones aren't too spendy, but I LOVE the modern one myself. Thanks for coming by.

  • glassvisage profile image


    8 years ago from Northern California

    I love the modern cat tower! I've always wanted one but was put off by the price, and I'm afraid to get a used one. Maybe I just need to make one myself :)


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