This content has been reviewed and approved by our in-house Veterinarian for accuracy
If your cat hasn’t gotten stuck in a tree yet, they will.
Willingly. In one of these cat trees.
Even if your little baby has never seen the outside world, you can help them get a small taste of the fresh air by recreating the outdoors...well, indoors.
If you want to give your cat a little slice of nature heaven, there are plenty of ways to do so for them. One of the most popular ways is to buy toys and play areas that look like nature. For example, toys with leaves or cat trees that have greenery on them.
While we can help with the toy part, what we’ll be focusing on is your cat’s play area/personal space. We’re here to help you find the best cat trees that look like trees. I just know your cat is already excited.
In order to compile a comprehensive list for you, we had to do some digging. Seven hours of digging to be precise. For a product that so many people want, you’d probably be surprised how tough they can be to find.
If you’re crafty, there may be a market yet for you in cat trees that look like real trees.
Anyway, the products are usually so popular that they go out of stock as soon as whatever company gets a new shipment in. Pretty wild.
Once we found cat trees that actually look like trees, we began studying the materials used in their construction.
We also took some time to dive into what psychological effects are seen in cats who have an outdoor simulation, and what colors seemed to have the most beneficial effect. As you can guess, rich, earthy tones won the majority of cats’ affection.
We basically wanted to understand why cats prefer toys and towers that resemble the outdoors. Obviously, there’s the whole “natural habitat” thing, but we were curious if there was anything more to it.
It’s just extremely empowering for your cat to be able to play, scratch, and climb like they would if they weren’t indoors. It keeps their brain and body happy and healthy!
Besides the soothing effect of a natural (ly simulated) environment, cat trees are a wise purchase for eons of reasons. If you thought keeping your cat’s nails tidy was the only one, think again.
Cat trees help your cat get adequate exercise, diffuse tense situations between other cats, and provide protection and safety to shy cats. It can give them a place of their own--something they might not have otherwise.The Go Pet Club Cat Tree is our #1 pick for so many reasons. They offer the best middle-of-the-road options with their cat tower being a cross between the classic and the nature-vibe. Read on to find out why else we chose it!
As you know, seven hours of our project consisted of research. During that time, we tried to figure out what colors, materials, and shapes are safest and most favored by cats and cat owners.
Also, we tried to learn about cat tree design. Even further, what features are most cozy and exciting for your little one.
And don’t worry, we read through so many reviews that it’s not even funny.
After taking our online search to our local stores, we came to a conclusion. Three hours of passionate typing later, here are the best cat trees that look like real trees!
There are some products out there in the shape of a tree, but with bright purple fabric. Or a neon pink base. While uber cute, these weren’t what we were looking for, nor did they win over any audiences.
Not all of the best tree-like cat trees are green and brown though. There are other colors in nature
besides those two! A few of these products have color options for each season. Beautiful!
Shape/Design - You’d think this is obvious, but it’s actually not. Through this search, we learned that you can get some pretty dangerously-shaped cat trees manufactured.
The shape and design of the tower, for us, equated to safety.
We stayed far away from any products that were obviously top-heavy or were made of blatantly dangerous materials. Plus, there is a rhythm and flow to how these things are made--we wanted to stick with shapes and designs that your cat could actually kick back and relax in--not just exist.
Durability - We wouldn’t recommend anything to our readers that is just going to completely fall apart in two weeks, ya know? This is where all of those beautiful reviews come in.
When deciding on our list, we only went with the companies and products that can be trusted.
Since each cat family has different needs, make sure you choose one that’s appropriate for you. Or else, the design is irrelevant.
For example, if you have five cats and get a tree made for one cat, you’re probably going to be upset when you find four out of five of them hanging out up top as the tower is falling over.
Price - You’ll probably notice that this list boasts higher prices than you’ll normally find in other product areas. Through our experience in this project, you can’t avoid the high price tag for this type of decoration-style cat tree.
That being said, we steered away from anything completely ridiculous. If you’d pay $1,000 for a cat tree, chances are you already know what product you’re going to buy. You don’t need our help! So, no need to put them on the list!
This list is for cat owners who are shopping for cat trees. You may not have been specifically looking for the kind of cat tower that resembles real trees, but that’s okay!
You are now.
Generally, to climb up a cat tree, you cat has to be in moderately good shape.
If your cat is elderly and physically struggles or has any sort of physical ailment that could inhibit their mobility, I don’t think this list is for you. You’re going to need a play area that’s very close to the ground and has extra safety considerations embedded like a cushioned bottom.
If for some reason your cat loses balance and takes a tumble, you’d want them to fall as little of a distance as possible. That’s oftentimes why tall cat trees aren’t the best idea for older or disabled cats.
If you missed it earlier, no worries--I’ll tell you how we chose these five products.
Before taking any action with the products, we spent hours of our time learning the full purpose of cat trees. From there, we sought to understand the benefit of a cat tree that looked exactly like or very similar to a real outdoor tree.
Exiting the “real tree” category, we stepped back and learned what features need to be present in order for a cat tree to be fun, relaxing, and safe for your cat.
Finding one or two of those three things was so easy. Finding all three together was an awesome challenge.
We scavenged Walmart, Target, Petco, Petsmart, Amazon, and Chewy first. We tried smaller pet shops for this search, but were unsuccessful.
Any of the above stores that had a brick-and-mortar shop, we visited, too. We feel we’ve conducted as thorough of an analysis as we could possibly do.
Keeping durability, design, price, and appearance in mind, we began reading reviews, too. Combining all of these factors brought us to the compilation we have for you below. If you have any questions about how we chose the products, feel free to ask any time.
Some of the cat trees have emphasis on the leaves while others are made to appear embedded in bark. Pick your party!
This cat tree by Go Pet Club is the most traditional cat tree design dressed up to look like a real tree, specifically tree bark. This is our top pick and customers’ favorite product because most cats are not intimidated by the design--they’ve probably seen it before.
With multiple covered “houses” and 4+ ledges to rest on, there’s plenty of room for multiple cats. The bottom is made with real wood for stability, and the coloring makes it blend smoothly in any room (no neon pinks or purples).
Tall cats might not enjoy this one. While over 700 people on Amazon had fabulous success with the tree, some found that their XL cat made the top wobble. If you’ve got a big ole’ tub of love in your home, maybe they’d prefer something closer to the ground.
Like all cat toys and trees, the rope wore down over time. More importantly, the company sends nails instead of screws to put it together. Nails have very sharp, pointy ends that can be super dangerous for little paws. You’ve been warned.
Take extra care putting together this cat tree to avoid any misplaced nails.
Kitty Mansions Amazon Cat tree is your option if you’re looking for luxury. Compared to the cat tree above, it has more realistic coloring. In the middle, two hammocks hang from the tree.
There’s so much room for multiple cats that it’s not even funny. From its picture alone, you can count at least eight spots for your cat to choose from to lay on. Plus, there’s a box-like feature at the very bottom that your kitten will certainly love.
Where there looks to be carpet, it’s actually faux fur. A few people cited this as a con because their cat wasn’t keen on the texture. That seems like a very specific, unpredictable issue to us, but if you know your cat despises extra-soft fabrics, stay away.
The biggest headache of Kitty Mansions cat tree is the setup. Sadly, the tree doesn’t come with any instructions, but it does come with a lot of parts. And you better hope it comes with all of those parts because the word on the street is their customer service leaves something to be desired--Ouch.
On2Pets Cat Condo Furniture Bundle Deal is the bee’s knees. It just so is. For less than one of the other cat trees, you can get a full tree plus two bushes that hang on your wall. It’s absolutely adorable.
So far on the list, this is the product that most resembles a tree in your backyard. With a two-foot base, the extreme majority found the tree to be safe for their cat(s). Instead of carpet like the others, this one has a fake turf covering the base. Which. Is. Awesome.
Interestingly, a cat or two decided the faux grass felt so nice that they made the tree base the new litter box. Oh, fun.
Though this one came with directions, it was still reportedly difficult to put together for some people. Plus, things always change, but the seller doesn’t accept any returns on the product.
It’s safe to say that you might want to have your toolbox and spare screws ready to go. Maybe just for this one, maybe for all of them.
On2Pets Cat Condo furniture in Fall offers more space than the one above. It has three perches covered with carpet within the tree. It also boasts a two-foot base for stability.
Because of that, this cat tree has a weight limit of 32lbs. All of that is wonderful, but the best part about it is its stand-out color. Any time of year, this tree would make me smile. And, shy cats just adore being able to hide themselves in the leaves.
Despite the sturdy base, people say it’s not great for a cat who loves to get a running start before jumping. That’s just too much weight flying around for this cat tree.
Also, this tree is offered in different sizes and hues, so some customers felt they were misled by the picture. You can almost positively avoid this by being mindful of what size and color option you choose. Any discrepancies past that would be a shipping error.
The On2Pets Cat Condo Furniture Small is the perfect choice if you’re looking for more of a bush than a tree. It’s the ideal choice for elderly and disabled cats as well as brand new kittens.
The risk of falling from a dangerous height is removed for this product. It’s a no-fuss kind of tree. Your cat will have a clear line of sight from their seat on or under the tree. Cats who get intimidated by big, complex cat trees will feel right at home in this simple gem.
More than once though the particle board was said to have an interesting chemical odor. To be fair, the people complaining weren’t entirely sure where the odor was coming from. Yay factories.
A number of people found that the cat tree acquired wear and tear sooner than they felt was appropriate. It was a little tough to pin down when they felt it was acceptable to replace your cat tree. Without that information, I don’t know how much stock we can put into those complaints.
Again, it’s best to not get a running start on the tree (as if you can control your baby cat). It wasn’t exactly designed for that.
The best offense you have with these cat trees is defense. Maintenance doesn’t always start from the beginning, but sometimes it can. Since most of these trees come unassembled, putting together your cat tree correctly is crucial.
No matter how confident you feel, just read the directions. 🙂
As we now know, products don’t always come in the most sensical of ways. Some show up with no instructions, and others show up with loads of instructions and pointy nails instead of flat screws! Use your best judgement when it comes to taking on Project Cat Tree.
Once you’re sure you’ve assembled your product together correctly, it’s wise to regularly check on the condition of it. Make sure the scratching post rope is still attached, the carpet/flooring is still intact, and that it’s not more wobbly than it used to be.
Checking or at least observing the integrity of your cat tree should definitely be a part of--if not your daily routine--your weekly routine. They’re essentially large pieces of wood nailed together. The greatest will eventually come loose. Get your cat tree hygiene on!
P.S. Try to avoid putting your cat tree next to, let’s say, your collection of crystal or your fine china, if you have any of that cool stuff. One wrong placement of the paw, and your kitty might be the last one to see your china in one piece. Totally not safe for kitty either. Bare ground will help them land safely.
Q: Which of these can my 20lb cat use?
A: Well, technically any of them. None of them officially exclude XL cats as users. If you have an active large cat, it might be a good idea to stay away from cat trees that are super tall.
That’s no general rule, just common sense. Also, consider reinforcing the base of your cat tree somehow to make it more secure. That will help your big guy out bunches, and it’ll probably open up your buying options.
Q: Where should I put my cat tree?
A: That’s important! Where you’re not going to want to put it is in an isolated room. Wherever you and your family hangout most, that’s probably best. Of course, every single situation is different.
You might have a nervous cat that struggles with anxiety. Then, the quiet room might be their gig.
Once you decide what room to put your tree in, try to get it as close to a window as possible. You’ll be giving your cat the most natural environment attainable indoors by doing so.
Q: Is it okay if I get a tree that’s way too big for my cat?
A: Yeah, sure! Just don’t get them one that’s too small. Yikes.
Q: Will my multiple cats fight over the cat tree?
A: I can’t answer that definitively for you. Usually, a vertical tree can actually help with dominance issues. Since there are multiple resting spots available, the more dominant cat can choose their spot of dominance (usually up top) in order to avoid a physical fight. The tree can actually serve as a tension diffuser.
Now, that’s purely idealistic. Idealistically, unless your cats have some serious beef, you shouldn’t have to worry about territory wars with a cat tree.
Q: Will it harm my shy cat by giving them a place to hide?
A: We are not vets, nor cat psychologists.
No wayyy! We haven’t heard of “exposure therapy” working too well for cats, but who knows. If your baby cat is shy and loves to view life from behind (or under) the couch, that sweet baby would probably love their own cat tree.
Cat trees can provide significant protection (from perceived danger) for your anxious cat. It might actually give them the safe space they need to feel secure enough to branch out and explore.
So we’ve made it to the end of another list. Before you pick one of the above trees, think of your cat. Are they active? Large? Small? Nervous? Bold? Etc., etc., etc.
Consider all of those things before choosing which tree to buy. The trees aren’t cheap, but more importantly, buying an inappropriate cat tree for your cat can end up being dangerous for them and your family. Hopefully this list helps you avoid that situation.
Well, you know what our pick is. The Go Pet Club Cat Tree checked off all of our boxes.
We really want to know which cat tree you ended up buying. Why did you choose it? Do you like it?
Let us know!
The Benefits of a Cat Tree - https://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/the-benefits-of-a-cat-tree/
Whitney is a south Louisiana native who stopped fishing after she got her first pet fish. Her love of animals only grew stronger as her family began to have room for other friends like birds, cats, dogs, horses, and…a few more cats. She has experience handling a pet problem or two, and she spends her days either talking or typing about it. If you have any fun pet stories to tell, you can write to her at @WriteWhitney