What Kind Of Glue Is Safe For Cat Trees?


what kind of glue is safe for cats

Cats can be pretty tough on cat trees! After all, cat trees are meant to be climbed and scratched so it shouldn’t be a surprise when we see the corners of the carpet start to peel or parts of the scratching post falling off.

But it certainly doesn’t make sense to just scrap the cat tree for another one because of some wear and tear. There’s probably still a lot of life left in your cat tree…but it does need a touch-up and one of the best tools for the job is glue.

So what kind of glue is safe for cat trees? Your best option is going to be Elmer’s Wood Glue. Most cat trees are made of wood and the bond this glue creates is super strong whether you’re using it for the sisal rope or the carpet. It’s also non-toxic and easy to clean up but you should still avoid allowing cats to eat it. 

It’s also easy on the budget and certainly cheaper than buying an entirely new cat tree. You can check out today’s price on Amazon by clicking here. You can also click here to read reviews from other folks who have used the glue to repair their own cat trees.

But just because it’s non-toxic doesn’t mean you don’t need to be careful still and you’ll want to keep your cat away from the tree while it’s drying. If your cat (or other pet) ingests a large amount of glue it can have problems passing through their GI tract. So even though the glue is considered non-toxic, it’s still certainly not safe to consume.

How To Use Wood Glue To Repair A Cat Tree

The process is pretty simple- just apply the glue to the cat tree then add your sisal rope or carpet. The great thing about Elmer’s Wood Glue is that the excess can easily be wiped off with water so it’s not a big deal if you go a little overboard.

You can see the application in action here:


You’ll probably notice that the person in that video is also using hot glue for portions of the cat tree. While that is an option, if you’re doing minor repairs it’s not necessary as the main benefit of hot glue is the fast drying time. When you’re building an entire cat tree, fast drying time makes a big difference but when it comes to only a small section it’s not nearly as critical.

Once you’ve applied the glue you’ll want to press down on the area for a few minutes. Most folks recommend a clamp time (the amount of time you put sustained pressure on the area) of 20 minutes for Elmer’s Wood Glue. You can probably get away with a bit less for a cat tree but you’ll still need some way to put pressure on the area.

If you have an actual clamp, that’s obviously going to be best. But if not, feel free to get creative and use a bag of litter or something else heavy to help the bond form.

While the glue is considered non-toxic, you still don’t want any pets to try and consume it. You also don’t want your feline performing any acrobatics before the bond is secure so it’s best to keep pets away from the cat tree while it’s drying.

After it’s had time to dry, give it a little test and make sure you don’t need to add and more glue!

Replacing Carpet

Typically, the carpet on cat trees gets loose and some quick wood glue in the corner will do the trick. But if you need to replace a bigger area, you can pick up carpet scraps from all over the place. Whether that’s leftovers from a renovation in your neighborhood or from a big store that’s going to throw them out anyway, carpet scraps are everywhere. You can also pick up a 9″ by 9″ square on Amazon which should be more than enough for a small repair.

Replacing Sisal Rope

Most cat trees and scratchers use sisal rope which is the stuff you see wrapped around the supports of a cat tree or the main part of a scratcher. According to some surveys of cat parents, sisal really is the favorite material for scratching and luckily it’s pretty easy to get.  You can grab some off Amazon but if you’re in a pinch you can use any kind of similar twine or rope material. Just make sure whatever you use is safe for pets.

Is Elmer’s Wood Glue Considered Non-Toxic To Pets?

Yes, Elmer’s Wood Glue is considered non-toxic for pets and people. The glue also has a near-zero VOC score which means it releases little to no Volatile Organic Compounds. While these two things combined make it a great pet-friendly glue it’s still not something you’d want to let your cat eat. If they consume enough, it could block their GI tract and act as a foreign body.

However, your cat would need to eat a lot of this glue to cause this to happen.

What Glues Should I Avoid?

While you don’t want your cat to eat Elmer’s Wood Glue, there are other glues out there that present a much more significant risk. These are glues that contain diphenylmethane diisocyanate (sometimes known as MDI). This ingredient causes the glue to rapidly expand as it dries and while this can be useful when it comes to certain types of carpentry and it can be disastrous if a pet consumes it.  Or as veterinarian Denise Colgrove explains, “The glue expands quickly once it comes in contact with gastric liquids, resulting in a stomach foreign body. Usually, the glue can’t leave the pylorus before expansion occurs although in this case.”

Gorilla Glue is one of the more popular types of glue that contain diphenylmethane diisocyanate and should generally be avoided with pets. However, pay close attention because Elmer’s also has a foaming wood glue called “Pro Bond” that foams. Again, you can find the non-toxic wood glue from Elmer’s on Amazon using this link.

As if that wasn’t enough reason to avoid Gorilla Glue, the stuff also seems to be very appealing to dogs who will quickly try to eat it. While cats are less likely to do this, it’s still a big risk for multi-pet households.

What About Hot Glue?

Hot glue is another good alternative to the wood glue option. According to the folks at GlueGunDirect, “When used correctly, hot melt glue and glue sticks aren’t toxic, and they shouldn’t release toxic fumes.”

While that’s great for pets, I didn’t include it as the main recommendation simply because hot glue requires more gear to pull off. In other words, not everyone has a hot glue gun ready to go and for most folks that want a quick and simple answer grabbing some wood glue from the hardware store is a good option.

But if you’ve got a hot glue gun ready to go, that makes a great option for cat tree and cat scratcher repair. While wood glue is generally stronger, hot glue dries almost instantly which means can you can complete your repair in just a few minutes.

Closing Thoughts

Most cat trees are pretty simple pieces of furniture and while they’re not immune to some wear and tear it’s easy to fix with some glue. Several types of glue will work, but wood glue is usually the best option for most folks.

Logan M.

Logan has always loved everything about cats! Growing up with a family full of pets and a lifelong passion for animals he pursued work in the veterinary industry. After 10 years, he started BetterWithCats.net to help cat owners learn more about their feline friends.

Recent Content