Our four-legged family members have become an integral part of our lives and we’ll do almost anything to make them happy.
And by “them” of course, I really mean “us”.
Here’s a statistic that will blow your mind. In 2011, in the worst economy in decades, US households spent $50.96 billion on their pets.
Of course this includes everything – from food & veterinary bills to treats, toys and yes – cat trees.
So what’s a cat tree?
Cat trees are pretty much a “jungle gym” for cats. You can buy them ready-to-assemble in all shapes and sizes. When “Ridiculously Big HUGE Cat Trees” turns up in your Google search, you just KNOW you have to check it out to see exactly HOW RIDICULOUSLY BIG & HUGE cat trees can be.
Any cat-fancying DIYer can build a custom cat climber with a few tools and the right materials. And there’s no shortage of design inspiration for any size you want.
Most cat trees are sturdy wooden structures covered with pile carpet, jute or sisal rope. While the carpeting may not be your first choice in home decor, remember those few little claw picks in the couch are just the beginning of a life-long kitty-workout regimen that’s guaranteed to end badly – for your couch.
There are a bunch of good reasons that cat trees & climbers have become incredibly popular in cat-loving households:
- Many cats now live exclusively indoors
- Cats need to sharpen their claws regularly
- Cats need daily exercise
- Cats like heights & small spaces
- It’s fun to watch them play
In a nutshell, it all comes down to encouraging healthy exercise that will prolong the life of your cats (and your furniture).
Buy or build?
If you just want one to magically show up on the doorstep in a couple of days you can likely find what you want at Amazon.com. They’ve got an amazing variety of designs and sizes at prices ranging from about US $25.00 to several hundred dollars.
If you’re looking for something a bit different be sure to check out catsplay.com. They have a wide variety of unique designs including a eco-friendly natural cedar tree that would suit even the most elegant home decor.
If you’re itching for a DIY project you can do with your feline friends, there are plans available to guide you through the process. CatTreePlans.com offers 10 designs + 2 bonus scratching posts for $9.95.
Or check out these free instructions at showcatsonline.com for building a cat tree.
Besides a few pieces of lumber and plywood, look around for recycling opportunities – you can use up leftover sections of concrete form tubes, PVC pipe, sisal rope and carpet remnants.
If you just can’t live with a carpet-covered jungle-gym or don’t have a big budget, there’s no reason you still can’t draw inspiration from top designers.
These simple and beautiful trees, shelves and scratch pads from squarecathabitat.com would be relatively easy and inexpensive to recreate by substituting poplar, pine or recycled lumber for the $200.00/ sheet Plyboo.
These nifty metal “cat clouds” wall shelves from therefinedfeline.com could also be adapted in wood for a DIY project if you have the proper tools.
Whether you buy or build, providing a playground for your frolicking feline is a great way to keep her (and your furniture) happy and healthy. In return, she’ll reward you with hours of crazy-cat entertainment & dangling cat napping sessions.
Of course, if you REALLY loved her, you’d fork out the $9500.00 for the real deal.