What's an attractive tree for an oversized cat?
June 24, 2013 1:52 PM   Subscribe

I have two cats. The larger one is 3' tall standing, 16 pounds, and growing. He desperately wants to stand and scratch, and currently, the only available thing that's tall enough is the chair. I'd like to find him something else.

In a continued saga of trying to have everything I want in life, including cats, I've finally gotten tired of telling the cat to not scratch the chair. The girl cat is happy to scratch on the cardboard, but the boy cat seems to want to stand and scratch. The ~4' tall chair seems to be perfect height for him. I would prefer that he uses something else.

I've looked online for various cat condo/trees, but have found none that I particularly like. I'm open to a DIY option but would like to have more input before putting significant resources into it.

Here are my requirements for my ideal cat condo/tree:

1. Has a fat, straight vertical column that the cat can scratch. This should be 4' or 5', ideally uninterrupted.

2. Considering the cat is heavy (but not actually fat), the tree/condo should be very stable.

3. We live in a 820 sq ft house. So the condo should have a small foot print. We're willing to screw things into the floor and/or 8.5' tall ceiling. I'm also willing to screw things into the wall.

4. I would like something attractive, since there will be no way to hide it. I like something more along Modern Cat style, but maybe not that modern. Our home is more traditional/French provincial style, i.e. more elegant than starkly minimalist.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
posted by ethidda to Pets & Animals (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's not as tall as you want but my giant fat cat and my smaller but very long cats all like this scratching post. No one has been able to knock it down either.
posted by jamaro at 1:58 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Buy a cheap pole dancing pole or portable joist on eBay, wrap it in sisal, and you have a floor to ceiling scratchy climbing post.
posted by cromagnon at 2:03 PM on June 24, 2013

Get a 2x4 at the hardware store along with a spool of sisal. Wet the sisal, then wrap it tight around the post, overlapping the first loop, finally tucking the last bit into the final loops. As it dries it'll shrink, wrapping itself down. You now have a perfect scratching post, which you can either attach to the floor/ceiling, the wall, some other furniture, etc.
posted by Runes at 2:09 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

This Martha Stewart number looks like fun, and you can get it at PetSmart.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:13 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can use a concrete form (a big, fat, thick-walled cardboard tube) and the aforementioned sisal rope to make the mother of all scratching posts. Rundown here.
posted by jquinby at 2:15 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Could you just wrap sisal around the existing chair?

There also are wall mounted sisal scratching boards.
People use the Ikea stolmen post for cat trees. Both require minimal space.

Some cats just don't like cardboard for scratching. Other things that work might be carpet, wood, sisal. My cat likes outdoor wood tiles for example.
posted by travelwithcats at 2:34 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Armarkat Cat Trees are awesome.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:52 PM on June 24, 2013

We have two Armarkat cat trees, and they've withstood a ton of abuse in the last 3 years while still looking great. Recommending them!
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 3:27 PM on June 24, 2013

seconding Armarkat trees. My girls aren't the size of yours, but our tree has survived 18 months so far with a lot of use every day, looking none the worse for wear. And surprisingly well priced. Ours has several platforms, a hutch, sisal wrapped poles, carpet wrapped poles, etc etc etc. It's kitty heaven.
posted by janey47 at 3:27 PM on June 24, 2013

What I have. As a bonus you can see the babies. Including the MetaFilter debut of Nyx.
posted by theichibun at 3:37 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you have a big stair railing, you can wrap sisal rope around it, and your cat can jump onto it and scratch. Make sure you use untreated rope.

I've done this and it's really nice. For cats, that is.
posted by amtho at 4:14 PM on June 24, 2013

The Drs. Foster and Smith Spiral Penthouse is very sturdy and well-made. It may not be the exact model you're looking for, but assuming that the quality is representative of that line of cat furniture then you'd probably be happy with something from the same manufacturer:

posted by Jacqueline at 4:24 PM on June 24, 2013

Best answer: My cat hates sisal but I had success with gluing a carpet remnant to the side of a non-fancy bookcase.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 4:41 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: jamaro: "It's not as tall as you want but my giant fat cat and my smaller but very long cats all like this scratching post. No one has been able to knock it down either."

The mister made a scratching post quite similar (but taller) to the one posted by jamaro. One of my cats is nearly 25 pounds and huge, not fat. There is no way he can knock down the post. He can even jump to the top of it (the platform on ours is bigger) and it wiggles only slightly. If you decide to make your own, make sure you get untreated sisal rope.
posted by deborah at 4:42 PM on June 24, 2013

jamaro got it in the first comment. Nosy Parker is a big boy - 17 lbs or so and TALL - and he's never come close to knocking that post over.

Seriously, he's devoted to his scratching post.
posted by Space Kitty at 7:53 PM on June 24, 2013

Nthing the Armarkat cat trees. I have two large cats 15 and 22 lbs and the tree has had daily use for over 4 years. They both run up an down it and scratch the sisal posts hard. I have had to rewrap a couple of the sisal posts that they attack most vigorously.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:29 PM on June 24, 2013

Nthing Amarkat. I've only had mine for 1 year but we have 4 cats that leap all over it, scratch wantonly at it, fight over it, fall off of it, fall up of it (one of them is very clumsy), you name it. I've found it to be a great use of vertical space as well.
posted by buteo at 11:56 PM on June 24, 2013

Our beasties have and love their Purrfect Posts. They aren't cheap, but they've survived years of kitty claws, and they fit in nicely with our d├ęcor.
posted by evoque at 6:17 AM on June 25, 2013

The same people that make the freestanding post jamaro linked to make this wall-mounted post. You can, of course, mount it at any height. Find a stud and it will be secure. It will eventually wear out, but you can replace it and use the same screw for the new one. We are on our second for our 16-pound cat.
posted by payoto at 10:02 AM on June 25, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks to all! We're training our cat to use the new scratching post and may come back for the Amarkat. (While attractive for a cat tree, it would overwhelm my living room with cat stuff, so we opted to only buy that if absolutely necessary.)
posted by ethidda at 3:20 PM on August 22, 2013

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