Cat trees combine multiple ways for your cat or cats to play, socialize, and relax. They can offer elevated observation posts, scratchers, places to nap, and multi-level exercise spaces. The best cat tree will fulfill a wide range of your cat's instincts for climbing, scratching, and play. They may even spare your furniture.
We conducted research into more than 50 bestselling, highly-rated, and popular cat trees, then bought 28 of the most promising and shipped them out to the homes of volunteer testers and their cats. After setting up each cat tree, our testers took photos, made observations, and followed a methodology written to provide detailed feedback. After a two-week testing period, each tester submitted their thoughts and provided scores across four different attributes. The cat trees then stayed with them and their cats for future follow-up, so we can see how each cat tree performs over time.
After testing, our favorite cat tree is the Catit Vesper High Base, which ditches the carpeting for attractive wood surfaces, easily replaceable components, and memory foam cushions.
Catit Vesper High Base Cat Tree
Memory foam pads are removable for cleaning
Replacement components available
Good mid-size for apartments
No carpeting to get torn apart
Easily assembled with an included hex key
Removable pads are not machine washable
Seagrass rope may need more frequent replacing
Most standard cat trees have carpeting on their platforms to provide cozy spots for your cat to relax, but they're also tempting targets for cat claws, and can look ratty or worn very quickly. The Catit Vesper High Base offers many of the same features as a traditional cat tree design, but in a more attractive package with laminated MDF surfaces and removable memory foam pads.
The Vesper High Base is named for its top observation platform, which is 47.8 inches off the ground—a maximum height usefully in between more compact and much larger cat trees. Beneath the top platform is a "cubed den" middle level, a lower cushioned platform, and the 22.1-inch square base, which provides access to all four wrapped pillars for scratching. Rather than the more commonly found sisal, the posts on the High Base are wrapped in seagrass, which is generally regarded as softer and more stain-resistant. While your cats will love scratching it, there's a good likelihood that you'll need to re-wrap the legs of the Vesper High Base sooner than you would with a sisal alternative.
We previously tested and reviewed the Catit Vesper High Base in 2019 (you can find a link below), and had only one complaint: it didn't feel very sturdy. It seems as if Catit has upgraded more than packaging since then, because in our most recent round of testing, the Vesper stood out for its stability, and we gave it the highest possible rating for sturdiness. This time the High Base was tested with a 16-pound calico cat, who would frequently jump from her beloved window hammock on to the cat tree—it never shook.
We also like the included memory foam pads, which attach to the top and bottom platforms with strips of hook-and-loop tape. These pads are cozy and conform well to your cat's body, plus you can remove them for washing or spot cleaning. Unfortunately, the pads are not machine washable. There's also a removable sisal scratch pad and a dangling rope with three rattan toys. Another appreciable feature is that all of these accessories are easily replaceable, with Catit selling separate plush pads, rattan ball toys, scratchy sisal pads, and even replacement seagrass-wrapped posts.
Cats who love hiding will appreciate the cubed den (which has another removable memory foam pad inside), and there's an entrance on either side, so they won't feel trapped. But while we think the Vesper High Base is an excellent all-around cat tree for most cats, we wouldn't recommend it for older cats, since there are no ramps and the cubed den requires a dexterous little leap to enter.
The Catit Vesper High Base cat tree is available in three different colors. There are also a wide range of smaller and alternative designs in the Vesper line.
Price at time of publish: $158 (Oak)
Dimensions: 22.1 x 22.1 x 47.9-inches | Weight: 40.5 pounds | Colors: Oak, walnut, black | Frame Material: MDF | Covering Material: Memory foam
Best for Multiple Cats
Frisco 72-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo
Fully featured, with multiple platforms, scratchers, and cat condos
Available in six different colors
Includes an optional wall mount for extra stability
Laborious (but uncomplicated) set up, with many pieces
Too heavy to move around easily
If you're looking for a big, fully-featured cat tree, the Frisco 72-inch Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo has it all: toys, ramps, scratching posts, a dangling rope, elevated platforms, and multiple "cat condo" hiding spots. And while we're not the biggest fans of giving over a part of our living space to a giant, carpeted, traditionally-designed cat tree, this Frisco cat tree is available in six different color schemes (including a cheetah print version!), so you can pick one that will stand out the least (or the most) in your space.
The Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo has a whopping 10 scratching posts, two condos, and three high-up perches. Crucially, while there is a single, highest perch, there are two additional perches that are nearly as elevated, so multiple cats will be less likely to constantly fight over a single perch. As the name would suggest, this cat tree towers at 6-feet high, satisfying your cat's instincts to attain the high ground to observe their surroundings.
Dimensions: 23.2 x 21.3 x 72 inches | Weight: 57 pounds | Colors: Cream, gray, brown, black, blue, cheetah | Frame Material: Engineered wood | Covering Material: Faux fur, sisal rope
Best for Small Spaces
Feandrea Cat Tree for Large Cats
Multiple levels and hiding spots
Extra large top perch, suitable for big cats
Not a lot of tall scratching surfaces
The marquee feature of the Feandrea Cat Tree for Large Cats is its massive, cushioned top perch, which is 22 by 16 inches—plenty of space for big cats. But what we also love about this Feandrea cat tree is that it crams a lot of useful features into an approximately 24 by 16-inch footprint, making this an excellent pick for small apartments or spaces, particularly those with multiple cats.
The Feandrea Cat Tree for Large Cats boasts two "condo playhouses"—which provide enclosed spaces for your cats to hide, play, and nap—in addition to the perch on top. The higher of the two condos includes two exits/entrances, so that your cat can zoom through on their way to a different platform, or simply have a place to hide where they don't feel cornered. Between the two condos, the base, and the top perch, there are four different elevation levels available on a cat tree that's only 33-inches high.
In our testing, we found the Feandrea cat tree to be sturdy enough to hold up to a cat jumping in and out of the condo doorways, with a usefully compact size comparable to a small accent cabinet.
The only real downside are the scratching posts. Though beefy, with a 3.4-inch diameter, the sisal-rope is only wrapped around the middle portion of each post, the rest is carpeted. This provides less opportunity for your cat to stretch out fully when scratching. Still, our tester cat didn't seem to mind, and eagerly used the scratching posts.
The Feandrea Cat Tree is available in three different colors.
Price at time of publish: $84
Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 33.1 inches | Weight: 24 pounds | Colors: Beige, light gray, smoky gray | Frame Material: Particle board | Covering Material: Plush, sisal rope
AmazonBasics Cat Activity Tree with Scratching Posts
Top platform has raised sides to act as a bed
Small footprint, ideal for a corner or small apartment
Comes with all the tools you need for easy assembly
Top level is a little small for large cats
No hiding place
This budget-friendly option from AmazonBasics crams a lot of cat tree on top of its 17.7-inch square base, providing multiple jute-wrapped pillars for scratching and four different carpeted levels. Its compact form combines enough height to intrigue cats (it tops out at just under 46 inches), while still being easy to tuck into a corner or in front of a window without blocking the view too much. The round top platform has raised sides, so your cat can use it like a bed or a crow's nest.
In our testing, the Cat Activity Tree didn't shake at all while in use, and its components fit together well. While we're always wary of the relative durability of carpeted cat trees, the seven different scratching posts should keep your cats claws in the right place.
There's also a smaller version of the AmazonBasics Cat Activity Tree with one fewer platform, though we prefer the larger version, since it does such a good job at providing your cat with an elevated spot without taking up too much space.
Price at time of publish: $48
Dimensions: 17.7 x 17.7 x 45.9 inches | Weight: 24.25 pounds | Frame Material: Engineered wood | Covering Material: Carpet, jute
The Refined Feline Metropolitan Cat Condo
Highly customizable, with multiple colors and configurations
Great for multiple cats
Platform with a built-in food bowl sold separately
Broad platforms for naps and play
Stepped design that's easy for cats to climb
Limited configurations available upon initial purchase, when we'd prefer to be able to customize platform by platform
The Refined Feline Metropolitan Cat Condo looks like a bookshelf, with platforms arranged in a stepped pattern, making it easy for multiple cats to hop between levels. Each platform is ample, with a 13 by 18.5-inch surface large enough for any-sized cat to lie down. But our favorite part is the sheer number of options, including four different frame colors and a wide range of ways to customize each of the five platforms.
After choosing between gray, gold, white, and black frames, your Cat Condo can be further customized with multiple shelving configurations. In addition to white, black, or walnut platform color options, your primary choice is between a configuration that includes four platform cushions and a scratchpad, and a second configuration with five faux fur covers, which make it look like your cats are napping on clouds.
After that, you can customize even further with optional parts and accessories, like a platform with a built-in food bowl, or replacement sisal scratch pads. Most platform accessories, like the cushions and scratchers, are secured to the platforms with velcro-like strips, making it easy to swap out replacements or remove cushions for cleaning.
But the Refined Feline's Metropolitan Cat Condo is a sturdy and useful option even without its impressive customization options. Its got a 31 by 15 inch footprint, which keeps it steady all the way to its 62-inch top. Designed to hold multiple cats, the Metropolitan Cat Condo also includes a wall anchor for additional security.
Price at time of publish: $299
Dimensions: 31 x 15 x 62 inches | Weight: 40 pounds | Colors: Gray, gold, white, black | Frame Material: Metal, engineered wood platforms | Covering Material: Sisal, faux fur
Best Modern Design
Tuft & Paw Frond Cat Tree
Perches can rotate for endless configurations
Lots of scratching surfaces
Very easy assembly
Perches aren't large enough for most cats to lie down
You can rotate the three Tuft & Paw Frond Cat Tree perches around its sisal-wrapped pole for endlessly unique jumping and climbing challenges. While the Tuft & Paw Frond Cat Tree looks modest—especially considering its high price—its combination of practical features and considerate design makes this one of the most attractive cat trees available.
The Frond's perches are plywood with an ash veneer, and are shaped like petals, with curves that make it look more like curio shelves than a cat toy. However, the Frond also isn't trying to disguise what it is—it looks like a cat tree, just an attractive one. Plus, it's easy to assemble and finds a nice middle ground size, with a 24-inch diameter base and a height an inch over four feet tall.
While the rotating perches lets you turn the Tuft & Paw Frond Cat Tree into a new challenge every day, the perches are limited a little by their size, since they aren't really large enough for naps. This is more of an active cat tree, suitable for high-altitude surveillance more than snoozing.
Price at time of publish: $299
Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 49 inches | Frame Material: Solid ash connectors, plywood with ash veneer platforms | Covering Material: Sisal rope
Whisker Cat Tower
Design blends in well with non-cat furniture
Available in two colors
Broad perches suitable for bigger cats
A real pain to assemble
The Whisker Cat Tower is now one of the sturdiest items of furniture we own, with a metal frame that could probably stand up to a young tiger, and will definitely hold up to years of your cats jumping all over it. From the makers of the Litter-Robot 4, this cat tree has a similar premium, well-built feel.
The Tower features four different levels, with a cat pad included for the bottom compartment. The top three platforms are each floored with felt carpet—a nice middle ground surface, which is not exactly posh, but is soft enough that our two test cats flop and rub their faces on it. The back wall is a sisal scratch pad, which looks different than most sisal scratchers thanks to its gray vegetable dye.
Built atop a 17 by 18 inch base, the Whisker Cat Tower has a squat, blocky feel, and never wobbles at all, even with two cats bickering over the top platform 54 inches off the floor. It's available in a neutral white or a "Grey Woodgrain" with a black frame.
Our Whisker Cat Tower is still as indestructible and unchanged as when we first set it up several months ago. It's hard to imagine a more durable alternative. The only real downside is the assembly, which requires a Phillips screwdriver, hammer, and an electric drill with two different drill bit sizes. While the results were worth it, we did spend nearly two frustrating hours getting it together.
Price at time of purchase: $349
Dimensions: 18.03 x 17.2 x 53.86 inches | Weight: 53.2 pounds | Colors: White, grey woodgrain | Frame Material: Composite wood, metal frame | Covering Material: Felt carpet, vegetable-dyed sisal
Best Faux Plant
On2Pets Modern Cat Tree
Foliage is replaceable and available in multiple colors
Leaves are silk and safe for a cat to munch
Artificial turf base is good for scratching
Looks even better in person
Cats love hiding among the leaves
Top platform isn't as stable as lower two
Branches pop out during rough housing sometimes
The On2Pets Modern Cat Tree may not look real, but it does look fun. Plus, it's available in a wide range of configurations, with swappable leaves that you can update with the seasons.
The Modern Cat Tree is built atop a sturdy base, which is available in either square (24 by 24 inches) or round (26-inch diameter) foundations that look like a patch of grass. From there, the cat tree rises to five feet, providing three carpeted shelves at various heights. While the Modern Cat Tree feels completely stable from a safety perspective, the highest perch sometimes got a little wobbly, and our cats mostly stuck to the lower two levels.
Each platform has little plastic ports—or holes—where you insert the branches. The branches themselves are about 18 inches long and made from PVC, with non-toxic silk leaves that cats can munch on without shedding plastic shavings. These modular branches can be easily replaced, which On2Pets offers in 8- and 24-branch bundles. Leaves come in ovate "Zen Green" or in multi-season maple leaves, with "Mixed Maple," "Orange Blaze," and "Deep Plum" allowing you to choose between your favorite shades of Autumn. Overall, we felt the On2Pets Modern Cat Tree looked even better than in product photos, and the flexibility of the branches had us spreading and dressing them for maximum verisimilitude.
While the ease with which you can change out one or every branch on the Modern Cat Tree is one of its coolest features, it also means that active play will sometimes shake a branch or two loose. While never a major annoyance, we did begin to anticipate needing to reinstall a branch or two whenever our test cats got the zoomies, or pounced on each other through some leaves.
We had two cats try out the On2Pets Modern Cat Tree, and both of them loved the combination of perch and hiding spot provided by the foliage—"it seems to make them feel more in touch with their wild instincts," our tester noted. Our cats also loved the artificial turf base, and, despite using it as an occasionally scratch pad, we've yet to notice any wear and tear.
While our test cats took to the On2Pets Modern Cat Tree immediately, we could imagine it being more daunting for older and cautious cats, who typically like an unobstructed view of exactly where they're leaping. In these situations, one or two branches on the On2Pets tree can be removed individually—or even just flexed to one side—showing your cat a clear pathway on to the cat tree. On2Pets also recommends a maximum weight of 32 pounds.
But despite some small weaknesses, the On2Pets Modern Cat Tree excels at capturing the appeal of real foliage. If your cat can't resist messing with your house plants, then this is likely to become their new favorite hang.
While we tested out a large, 5-foot version of the Modern Cat Tree, On2Pets also offers 4-foot and 2-foot versions.
Price at time of publish: $112
Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 60 inches | Weight: 30 pounds | Colors: Zen green, mixed maple, orange blaze, deep plum | Materials: Engineered wood, silk, carpet, artificial turf, PVC
Best Cat Condos
Trixie Lilo Modular Three-Story Cat Condos
Easiest set-up of any cat tree we tested
Pads are removable for cleaning
Can be configured differently, depending on your space
Top condo can be a little tricky to access, especially for older cats
Only available in one color
Each of the three cat condos in this stackable tower arrive preassembled, and include a removable cushion, plus carpeted and sisal surfaces. The bottom and top condo boxes have one opening, while the middle cat condo has an entrance on each side, allowing cats to pass through.
Totaling four feet in height, the Trixie Lilo Cat Condos uses a combination of velcro and a bolted surface to hold the three units together. They can be arranged with staggered entrances—providing more surfaces for your cat to find their footing and climb—or with the boxes squared off, requiring them to jump to higher condos. This also makes it a good option to place against a wall or even in a corner.
At 60 pounds, the Trixie Lilo isn't easy to move around once assembled, but it is extra sturdy. The interiors are plush too, making these cat condos a place your cats will seek out, and will be able to rely on for years. Though we do wish it came in a few more color options.
Price at time of publish: $130
Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 48.2 inches | Weight: 60 pounds | Frame Material: Engineered wood | Covering Material: Faux fleece, sisal
Trixie Baza Scratching Post with Hammock
Great for small spaces
Comes in two different sizes
Cozy hammock space
Durable sisal scratchers
Very easy to assemble
Hammock cover can't be removed for cleaning
Big cats might be able to topple the smaller version
If even our compact pick is a little too much cat tree for your space, then consider the Trixie Baza Scratching Post with Hammock, which offers the bare minimum elements: a place to scratch and a place to chill. The Baza balances a hammock between two sisal-wrapped scratching posts. Suspended nearly 20-inches above the base, the hammock itself has a sturdy metal rim, with a plush faux-fur "bucket" for flopping cats.
The only real downside is that the hammock cover isn't removable for washing, so it's definitely going to accrue a lot of cat hair over time.
We also recommend that anyone with a big cat—about 14 pounds or more—should consider the large version of the Baza Scratching Post, which has a larger hammock and an 18-inch square base for additional stability.
Trixie also offers a version of the Baza Scratching Post more suitable for senior cats, with two broad steps helping them up to the hammock.
Price at time of publish: $29 (16-inch)
Dimensions: 16 x 16 x 20 inches (16-inch), 18 x 18 x 20 (18-inch) | Weight: 8.02 pounds | Frame Material: Engineered wood | Covering Material: Plush, sisal rope
Our favorite cat tree is the Catit Vesper High Base Cat Tree, which is not only the perfect size, but combines a number of sensible design choices, including memory foam cushions, no carpeted surfaces, replaceable components, and hex-key assembly. For something a little more fun, check out the On2Pets Modern Cat Tree, which is covered in foliage your cats will love, and can be customized to match the changing seasons.
How We Tested Cat Trees
In total, we tested 28 different cat trees, including multiple models from popular brands like Feandrea, Frisco, and AmazonBasics. Tests were conducted with real cats in real homes, with 37 tester cats lending their expertise. We purchased each cat tree and sent it to a volunteer's home, along with a written methodology that guided them from assembly through long-term testing.
Testers first documented ease of setup, using a stopwatch to determine how long it took them to set up their new cat tree and taking photos along the way. Testers then evaluated each cat tree's quality for themselves, wiggling to determine its stability, recording how easy it was to move from spot to spot, and answering a bevy of additional questions.
Finally, our testers observed how their cats interacted with the tree over a two-week period. They noted any wear-and-tear, while also recording which features of the tree their cats used and didn't use.
After providing detailed feedback and numerical scores across four different categories, each cat tree stayed in its new home for ongoing testing.
What to Look for in a Cat Tree
Every cat tree has a different suite of features, but here are some of the most common ones:
- Scratching posts
- Dangling toys
- Climbing ropes and surfaces
- Cat condos
- High perches
- Cushioned areas
By identifying the features your cat is most likely to use, you can narrow down your search. For example, if you hope a cat tree will alleviate furniture scratching, then scratchers should be on obvious priority. Similarly, if you have multiple cats, you'll want to select for a cat tree that includes duplicates of some feature. A cat tree with a narrow top perch might become a permanent battle for king of the hill—better to find a cat tree with multiple elevated spots, so all of your cats can feel like royalty.
Almost all cat trees feature scratching surfaces somewhere in their design, most commonly pillars wrapped in sisal rope. While extremely durable, your cats will eventually pull apart the rope's threads, or even unbind the sisal from its surface. Replacement sisal is widely available, in a variety of thicknesses and colors. Once purchased, its relatively simple to re-wrap pillars for a fresh round of scratching. To wrap a pillar, begin at the bottom, using a staple gun, hot glue gun, or a combination of both, to secure the first loop of rope or twine around the base. From there, wrap it as tightly as possible, all the way to the top, then lock it in with additional staples.
Other cat tree components may be a little trickier to replace, particularly if the manufacturer uses proprietary panels, unique scratching surfaces, or other uncommon parts. We have noted throughout when one of our favorite cat trees also has replacement parts available—a cat tree with modular components can greatly extend its useful lifespan.
Cats love hiding places, as long as they feel like they can safely escape. But just because your cat tree has a built-in cat condo doesn't mean your cat will use it. To maximize the chance that your cat will use every feature of your cat tree, including its hidden nooks, you can measure your cat in advance, using the standards developed for pet doors. PetSafe, the maker of some of our favorite dog doors, advises anyone installing a cat door to first measure the height of their cat's body, from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of their chest. Add two inches, and you have the proper height for a cat door. Similarly, an opening for a cat should be two inches wider than their body. While cats are individuals, and some are more nervous entering enclosed spaces than others, picking a cat tree with size-appropriate hiding spaces will make it more likely that your cat will use every feature.
How do I keep a cat tree clean?
Most cat trees are covered with carpet, which can quickly become covered in cat hair, dust, and dirt. Vacuum the cat tree at least once a month to remove the hair and other grunge. Should your cat have a hairball or other accident while on the tree, immediately remove any solids and blot away liquids to prevent stains or odors from developing.
While several of our favorite cat trees have removable pads and other surfaces, machine washable features are much more rare. For removable items, your best approach is to typically to hand wash them in the sink and allow them to air dry fully before replacing them on the cat tree.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
This roundup was written by Andrew Whalen, an editor for The Spruce Pets with hundreds of hours of experience testing pet products, both in our labs and at home. Whalen lives with two rescue cats, Church and Wally, who have wildly different styles of play. Their input and emotional support was crucial to the cat tree testing process.
A previous version of this article was written and researched by Madeleine Burry, a freelance writer who's covered a variety of home topics for The Spruce. Previously an editor, her work has appeared on several leading publications. To make this list, she considered each pick's size, shape, toys, and cat size. In addition, several product testers shared insight.