Please note: This post is intended to educate cat parents with declawed cats but we do not support declawing cats. Still, it’s a complex topic and if you want to learn more about both sides of the argument, I highly recommend this article from the BBC.
Just because a cat is declawed doesn’t mean they can’t still enjoy a cat tree! Cats almost universally love tall perches that give them the chance to survey their scenery from high up. And if heights aren’t their thing, the cubbies and cat caves make for the perfect nap location.
But do declawed cats need a different kind of cat tree?
While most declawed cats can happily make do with a regular tree, if you’re looking to purchase a new cat tree specifically for a declawed cat there are a few additional things to consider. Cat trees with ramps make a great option since it allows declawed cats to start the climb without having to rely on their non-existent front claws. You’ll also want to consider cat trees that are wider than they are tall. While declawed cats can still have some serious acrobatic skills, the lack of claws gives them a lot less room for error.
We’ll be looking closely at each of these considerations within the buyer’s guide below, along with reviews of each of our favorites, but if you want to just skip ahead and see what made the list you can see it here:
- Best Overall: ZENY 33.5” Cat Tree Tower
- Taller Runner Up: Hey-Brother 43.3 Inch Multi-Level Cat Tree Condo
- Best on a Budget: FEANDREA 26.7″ Cat Tree
- Best for Multiple Cats: Amolife Heavy Duty 68 Inch Multi-Level Cat Tree
- Budget Alternative For Multiple Cats: Go Pet Club 62-Inch Cat Tree
- Most Unique: On2 Pets 43 Inch Cat Tree with Leaves
But before we dive deeper, let’s answer an important question.
Do Declawed Cats Need A Cat Tree?
Absolutely! Just because a cat doesn’t have claws doesn’t mean they don’t need a cat tree! Cat trees satisfy a declawed cat’s need for safe and secure territory along with their desire to climb and scratch. Just because a cat loses their claws doesn’t mean they lose these hard-wired instincts and needs that have been developed over millions of years!
What Does “Declawed” Actually Mean?
In many ways, describing cats as “declawed” is a bit of a misnomer. That’s because these cats have actually had a lot more than just their claws removed. As the folks at the Humane Society of the United States explain, “The standard method of declawing is amputating with a scalpel or guillotine clipper. The wounds are closed with stitches or surgical glue, and the feet are bandaged.” In other words, a veterinarian has to surgically remove the last part of the digit (equivalent to your finger).
It’s not that much different from your own nails. In order to actually remove your nails, you’d need to chop off the last part of your finger. Otherwise, they’d just go back no matter how much of your nail you removed.
While I 100% don’t support declaw surgery there are thousands of declawed cats making their way into shelters every year. Many of these cats are luckily able to find homes and these cats still deserve the chance to enjoy a cat tree!
But a cat tree for a declawed cat can look a little different than your usual tree.
What To Look For In A Cat Tree For Declawed Cats
While the most obvious difference between declawed cats and other felines is the lack of claws, this can end up having a big impact on their overall comfort.
The fact is, declaw surgery can cause long-term discomfort in cats years after the surgery. While many cats will power through and continue to climb cat towers using their back claws for traction it’s important to still try to make things easier for them.
For starters, ramps can make a great accessory to any cat tree because they allow potentially painful paws to easily access the cat tree. While sometimes cats are excited to exercise on a cat tree and climb to the top, declawed or not, other times they just want a comfortable spot for a nap! Having a ramp makes it easier for them to shuffle up to a comfortable cat cave without the hassle of climbing.
A ramp certainly isn’t required though and many cat trees have cubbies and platforms that are low enough for cats to easily start the climb without jumping.
Height vs Width
While many declawed cats are perfectly capable aerial acrobats the fact is that not having their front claws can really set them back. Sometimes, it’s probably better to skip the giant 6-foot cat tree in favor of something that’s wider instead of simply tall. This way, declawed cats can still have plenty of room to play without having to risk a fall from high up.
Still, some cats just aren’t going to be happy without something tall to climb. Famous cat expert, Jackson Galaxy, argues that cats usually fall into three categories or styles. There are the cats that like to hang out in the middle of the floor, kitties that like the hide behind objects and then there are the “tree dwellers”. Galaxy explains, “Tree Dwellers can be found anywhere off of the ground. These cats get their confidence from being up high and seeing what’s going on, preferring to be on a chair or on top of the couch.”
If you’ve got a feline that loves heights and is declawed you’ll have to make your own assessment as to whether or not your cat still has the climbing skills to handle heights. In most cases, cats are well aware of their abilities, and even without claws if they’re naturally tree dwellers they won’t have too much trouble making the climb.
Since we can’t expect declawed cats to consistently scale straight up the cat tree (although many will) we want to consider the placement of the platforms. Ideally, there isn’t too much space between any two platforms that will require a cat to make any major leaps.
We want to look for trees with a clear walking path to the top instead of requiring that cats grip the cat tree and climb vertically. Luckily, most cat trees squeeze in as many cubbies, caves, and platforms as they can which means there are several routes for declawed cats to take.
Cats are going to be cats- claws or not. Part of that means jumping onto cat trees…sometimes at full speed! For declawed cats that might have a harder time gripping the cat tree material, we’ll want to look for larger platforms that give our cats plenty of runways to make their landing without running out of room.
Wait a second…scratching posts?
I thought we were talking about declawed cats! Just because cats are declawed doesn’t mean they don’t need scratching posts. That’s because scratching does a lot more than just sharpen your cat’s claws. It’s also an important way for cats to mark their territory and just get a good stretch in among other things.
Scratching is a hard-wired habit for our housecats and even declawed cats need a scratching post so don’t leave this out of your list of features to look for in a cat tree.
Selecting The Perfect Spot For Your Cat Tree
It’s easy to get excited about finding the perfect cat tree for your feline friend but then ask yourself…where am I going to put this thing?
Well, at least for me.
That’s why it’s worth considering where you’re going to put your new cat tree (and that includes measuring) before you buy. Especially because some of the trees on this list are extra wide to give declawed cats plenty of room to roam. So keep in mind that while many folks like to put tall cat trees in the corner, some of these wider trees aren’t going to fit neatly in the corner.
Best Cat Trees For Declawed Cats
With all the background information out of the way, it’s time for the reviews! Let’s start with the best overall pick!
Best Overall: ZENY 33.5 Inch Cat Tree Tower
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My pick for the best overall includes all the features we’re looking for in a declaw-friendly cat tree. There’s a small ramp that can allow cats to comfortably walk to the second level which is about one foot above the ground. Once there, kitties can decide to take a nap in the 10-inch tall cat cave or use the same cat cubby as a step to reach the jumbo-sized and super plush 18.9″ by 16″ platform at the top.
This is one of my favorite trees across the board and makes a great addition for not only declawed cats but it’s also the number one on our list of the best cat trees for older cats thanks to all the extra assessability of the ramp and big platforms.
The size and height of this cat tree is also kind of a “sweet spot” for most people. At almost 3 feet, it’s tall enough that cats are certainly interested but not so tall that it requires you to rearrange your entire home to squeeze it in. The 2.5 to 3 feet range also has plenty of budget-friendly options and this tree is no exception.
You can read more reviews from other cat parents and see today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: This cat tree has everything we want to see in a declaw-friendly cat tree: a small ramp for extra accessibility, tall but not giant and ideal platform placement for easy access. All while not taking up too much space in the home or breaking the bank.
What I Wish It Had: I love the plush faux fur material but when it comes to declawed cats, it might be a bit more slippery than the traditional carpet used in most trees.
Taller Runner Up: Hey-Brother 43.3 Inch Multi-Level Cat Tree Condo
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Our runner-up option is taller and while it doesn’t feature a ramp it still includes absolutely huge platforms with plenty of room for even declawed cats to stick the landing. This 43.3-inch cat tree has such huge platforms that it’s actually the best overall pick on our list of cat trees for big Maine Coon cats.
But just how big are these platforms?
The top sleeping area is 19.6″ by 19.6″ and includes super-thick plush bedding that most cats will just love. The other cubbies are only a few inches smaller to leave room for the wall. This cat tree also has a hanging sleeping hammock that can be adjusted to whatever height makes sense for you and your feline. Most cats love these hammock-style beds and with a 13.7″ diameter there’s enough room for even hefty feline friends.
Like our best overall pick, this cat tree is backed by hundreds of reviews from happy cat parents. You can read some of the reviews and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: The giant platform on top is definitely my favorite feature on this cat tree. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a bigger and more comfortable top platform!
What I Wish It Had: While I’d love to see a ramp, this cat tree still features a cozy bottom cubby that makes up for the lack of extra accessibility.
Best On A Budget: FEANDREA 26.7 Inch Cat Tree
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Our best on a budget option is a versatile and compact cat tree that’s taken a “one of each” approach to design. You’ll find one large and super-plush 13.8″ by 13.8″ platform, a comfortable cat cubby, and a floating cat hammock. All in a compressed 26.7″ inch package that will fit just about anywhere without breaking the budget. They’ve also managed to squeeze in a scratching post, even if it is a little small.
Because of its compact size, there’s less of a need for a ramp or other extra accessibility features but the platforms are still close enough that it’s easy enough for cats to easily climb up to find the perfect spot.
While this simple tree from FEANDREA doesn’t have one stand-out feature it still makes a great budget option for declawed cats. You can read more reviews from happy cat parents and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: I love how they’ve been able to squeeze every great tree feature (large plush platform, big cat cubby, and hanging hammock) into one budget-friendly and compact cat tree.
What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see some larger platforms but at this height, it’s unlikely that cats are going to be making any great leaps onto this tower.
Best for Multiple Cats: Amolife Heavy Duty 68 Inch Multi-Level Cat Tree
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If you’ve got multiple cats, whether they’re all declawed or not, and you want one cat tree to rule them all then this large (and wide) cat tree from Amolife makes a great option. At 68 inches, it’s definitely tall and that may be a deal-breaker for some declawed cat parents that are worried about falls but it’s also nice and wide. This gives cats plenty of room to spread out in the tree without having to battle it out for the perfect sunspot but it also means that declawed cats can get a lot of use out of the cat tree without having to only take vertical routes.
The higher platforms are extra-large (16″ by 16″) so there’s plenty of runway for declawed cats that decide to make the climb. There’s also a 23-inch ramp that will give declawed cats some access to heights without having to make a single leap.
You’ll find all the other features you’d expect to see in a cat tree this size including multiple floating hammocks and dangly toys that can be changed out with your cat’s favorite. They also added extra-thick 400g/m plush cloth to the top platforms which makes them pretty darn thick! And comfortable!
While most cat trees don’t list a weight capacity, Amolife does and they list the weight capacity at 44 pounds. That’s a whole lot of feline and 44 pounds is just under the Guinness World Record for the heaviest cat so unless you’ve got a world record feline on your hands it should be plenty. This extra weight capacity also makes it even better for multiple cats that will be sharing the tree.
I’m certainly not the only one that likes this cat tree, and as you can see in the image above there are a TON of positive reviews on Amazon for this cat tree. You can read more reviews and check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: It’s extra-wide! Most cat trees increase the surface area by going straight up and while this cat tree is tall the extra width makes it great for multiple cats.
What I Wish It Had: Some of the hanging hammocks may actually get in the way of declawed cats that are looking to crawl instead of climb. Still, these hammocks are adjustable and could even be removed once you see your cat’s preferred route.
Budget Alternative for Multiple Cats: Go Pet Club 62-Inch Cat Tree
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Go Pet Club is one of my favorite cat tree brands and their 62-inch cat tree makes a great budget alternative for multiple cats. If you’ve got three or more cats you might look at our previous pick but if you’ve got a dynamic feline duo this cat tree could be a great option.
While it’s not as wide as the Amolife, this cat tree still has large platforms, a ladder for easier access, and a handful of other features that you’re not going to see on other cat trees.
The bottom ladder leads to a platform with a cylinder cubby and a drop down into a large hammock. This hammock is very cool and one of the more unique features that I’ve seen on a cat tree. There’s also a floating tube just under the top platform that can safely be reached from the giant platform below it.
While some cat trees come in a variety of colors, most stick with a beige or off-white color and I don’t always understand why this is the go-to color for cat trees. Like many cat trees from the folks at Go Pet Club, this cat tree has more colors than the usual and I really like the black option. Not only does it bring more style, but it’s also less likely to show dirt and debris. That is unless you have a white cat!
This cat tree is very budget-friendly, especially when you consider the overall size of the tree, while still checking all the boxes we’re looking for when it comes to declaw-friendly cat trees. You can check out more reviews from cat parents and see the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: It’s a budget-friendly tree with a premium height and plenty of room for multiple feline friends. I also like the unique ladder instead of a ramp that some cats will really enjoy.
What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see an easier path to the giant platform below the top but most declawed cats will still be able to pull off the climb.
Most Unique: On2 Pets 43 Inch Cat Tree with Leaves
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I can’t help but include this super-unique cat tree from On2 Pets on this list. While it doesn’t have some of the accessibility options that we might want to see with a declaw-friendly cat tree, it’s still got large platforms that are easy for any cat to get to.
There’s also the much more notable feature…the leaves!
This cat tree features faux leaves that give this cat tree a stylish and unique look. But it’s not just about style, many cats will love being able to hide and simulate the hunt from the cover of the leaves. Cats are ambush predators, which means they prefer to hide in wait while they watch their prey, and this cat tree is a perfect way for cats and cat parents to tap into this instinct.
The lowest platform is 15 inches off the ground and measures 24″ in diameter. It’s also got a small opening on one side that gives cats clear options when climbing this cat tree.
While there’s nothing really standout that makes this cat tree specific for declawed cats, there’s nothing that won’t work for our clawless feline friends and some cat parents will really appreciate adding some cat furniture with real style instead of the usually big beige wall of carpet.
There’s also an established weight limit from the manufacturer of 32 pounds which makes this a great option for bigger declawed cats or feline roommates that might want to share a perch. You can read more reviews and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love About It: It’s obvious! This cat tree has a ton of style with unique leaves that not only look cool but let cats play out their natural predator instincts!
What I Wish It Had: There’s no sisal scratching post which means you’ll need to have other scratching options (even for declawed cats).
Even declawed cats can enjoy cat trees! While there are a few extra things to consider when it comes to cats without claws, the basic idea is the same. Luckily there are also dozens of great options that feature huge platforms, ramps, and ladders that are perfect for declawed kitties!
I hope you found exactly what you’re looking for but feel free to reach out if you’ve found the perfect cat three that I’ve missed!