Okay, you’ve decided it’s time to get a cat tree for your feline friend.
But now you’ve got to figure out where to put this thing!
So where is the best place to put your cat tree? While it can be tempting to tuck your cat tree off to the side somewhere, the best place to put it is in a socially significant part of the house that has a clear view of a window.
That means areas like the laundry room aren’t a great option. That’s because most cats will want to be in the mix and not hidden away in a small room. Even if your cat isn’t super outgoing, they likely still want to know what’s going on with their humans and by placing your cat’s tree in the living room they’re sure to feel like a part of the family. Your cat will also appreciate having their tree near a window where they can chirp at birds or just observe the outside world.
While those are the basic considerations, let’s take a closer look at why placement matters and everything else you need to think about when finding the best place for your cat tree.
Location, Location, Location!
When it comes to real estate you’ve probably heard before that it’s all about “location, location, location”!
It’s not that much different when it comes to finding the perfect place for your cat’s tree and rather just putting it somewhere that it fits, consider the significance of the area to your cat and your entire family.
Starting with the most important factor.
How’s The View?
You probably wouldn’t be excited to have a room without a single window and your cat wouldn’t either! No one wants to live in a laundry room!
So one of the first things to consider is what will your cat be able to see when they take a comfortable position on top of their perch?
The perfect location should have access to a window. The cat tree doesn’t have to pressed up against the window (which could lead to other issues) but they should be able to see what’s going on outside from their tower. This is one of the easiest ways to provide critical enrichment to your cat– especially if they’re indoors full time. They’ll get regular mental stimulation as they watch people and animals go about their day outside.
They’ll also get a chance to enjoy some sunshine and find the perfect sunny spot for that afternoon nap.
Social Significance Is Important
Cats will usually prefer to have their cat tree in a socially significant area of the house…but what does that mean exactly?
It simply means the spot where humans are most likely to hang out. While this is going to depend on your individual household, it’s most likely the living room or a game room. It’s the spot that you and your family spend the most time in.
Why does this matter?
For starters, even if your cat isn’t a lap cat you’ve probably noticed that they like to follow you around the house. It can be pretty subtle sometimes but maybe you go into the kitchen and then notice that your little feline friend is hanging out in the dining room. Or you go to brush your teeth for the night and find your cat casually sitting behind you.
Most cats want to know what’s going on in the house and by placing your cat tree in a socially significant room, you give them a great place to both mingle with the family and enjoy their own space!
Your Cat’s Territorial Habits
But social significance has other values too. Your cat is also a naturally territorial creature and by placing the cat tree in an area of social significance you’re giving them access to prime real estate that they can claim.
Cats mark their territory in a variety of ways including rubbing their cheeks on you and objects around the house but also by scratching. Scratching can be one of the most problematic behaviors for cat parents but it’s a deeply ingrained part of how our cat’s behavior. Not only does it keep their claws sharp but also lets the world know about their territory. So much so that declawed cats will continue to scratch even after a decade without claws!
As the folks at Cat Friendly Homes explain, “Scratching produces both a visible mark and a scent mark which cats use to avoid conflict when sharing space, especially with other cats.” Part of the purpose of a cat tree is to redirect a cat’s natural desire to scratch to a more appropriate area. So instead of scratching the couch, we want our kitties to scratch their cat tree.
But where do you think your cat’s preferred territory is going to be?
The laundry room…or the part of the house where everyone hangs out and there’s a ton of interesting smells? (Hint: It’s not the laundry room!)
By placing your cat tree in a socially significant area, you increase their interest (and value) of their little piece of vertical property. You also stand a better chance of getting your cat to actually use it!
Consider Where Your Cat Already Likes To Hang Out
All the talk of complex territory marking and social significance might sound like a little too much to some people. So if you just want an easy way to place your cat’s tree, the easiest way to figure it out is to just ask them!
Okay, while you can’t actually ask your cat, you can get pretty close just by observing their favorite locations to hang out. For example, my cat Debbie loves hanging out in my room by a specific window. She clearly letting me know that that’s her spot and she certainly appreciates a quick renovation to the property.
While it might not always be possible to put the cat tree in the exact spot that your cat likes to hang out, your cat’s habits should give you a good idea of what the best room might be.
Are You Trying To Fix Behaviors?
Are you purchasing a cat tree because you’re trying to fix some unwanted behaviors?
Behaviors like finding an elevated perch or scratching are just part of cats being cats and no matter how many times you try something silly like spraying them with water or shaking a can at them they’re still going to want to do it. That’s because those techniques generally don’t work since they don’t actually change the root of the behavior.
Instead, you can redirect the behavior to something more appropriate. Rather than scratch the furniture, a cat tree can encourage cats to scratch their new piece of feline property.
But it’s not always that simple and you still need to consider the location where the unwanted behavior is occurring.
If your cat is climbing counters for example, you’ll not only want to make sure that the cat tree is taller than the counter but also in the same area. That’s because your cat’s urge to counter surf could be about the awesome window they can look through or because it provides a great location to sneak attack the dog’s tail!
Whatever it is, you want the cat tree to represent a better option compared to the counter in order to get them to stop.
The same can be said for scratching. Studies have shown that cats actually prefer the sisal rope scratchers that are so common on cat trees and while that increases the chance of redirecting the behavior, remember that it’s also about location and territory.
Cats aren’t going to want to claim the equivalent of Antarctica in your home. Instead, share some of that prime real estate and encourage them to scratch the cat tree.
Avoid Conflict With Other Pets
While high action areas are often a good option, you still want to avoid creating conflict with other pets. While the rules of feline territory are pretty complex, you’ll want to start by making sure the cat tree isn’t near any particularly high-value resources like food and water, or at least make sure there are plenty of alternative locations for anything important.
However, things can get a little more complex when you consider that the cat tree itself is a resource and if you’ve got multiple cats it’s probably best to get at least a small tree for each of them instead of expecting them to share.
How’s The Weather?
Cats love to find the perfect sun spot and in general, really enjoy finding a warm spot to cozy into. While finding a location that’s close to a window will usually improve the “weather” of the cat tree you still want to make sure that the tree isn’t too close to any kind of cold area like a door that’s frequently being opened.
While you don’t need to worry about your cat freezing or anything because of a drafty door, they might decide that the chilly air isn’t worth it and find somewhere else to hang out instead.
How Stable Is The Location?
While cat trees are designed to be stable stand-alone kitty condos, there are many cats that want to put this to the test.
Their favorite method?
The full-speed run and jump into the side of the tree! When you consider the speed that your little cat can reach and the overall height of the cat tree, it’s no surprise that they can seem a little unstable sometimes. Especially if you’ve got a bigger cat like a Maine Coon that might even need a larger tree.
While there a lot of tricks you can do to stabilize a wobbly cat tree, one of the easiest is to plan on placing the cat tree firmly in the corner. It’s something to consider when you’re doing research, especially since not every cat tree will fit squarely in a corner.
Many cat trees (especially taller ones) also come with stabilizers that you can mount into the wall. While this can certainly increase the safety of the cat tree not everyone is going to be excited about getting some fresh holes in their wall so consider that as well when you select a location.
Putting It Altogether – Where’s The Best Location For A Cat Tree?
Okay, we’ve covered a lot of information about how to find the perfect cat tree location.
Probably more than you were expecting!
So with all this in mind, what are the best and worst spots to put your cat’s tree?
Best Spots: Living Room, Dining Room or Bedroom
The best spots in the house are going to be one of the main rooms where people are spending the most time. Usually, that’s the living room, dining room, or bedroom. These areas will also have windows and plenty of corners to place the tree for extra stability.
Even more important, these are also the areas with the most social significance!
Worst Spots: Laundry Rooms and Garages
While the laundry room is a popular space for pets and their supplies, it’s certainly not one of the best. Not only is it a bit boring with no windows (in most cases) it’s also loud. Consider how loud a washer and dryer can get along with the various buzzers associated with it. This can keep shy kitties from ever wanting to hang out in there and more outgoing cats are just going to be bored.
Garages have some similar problems and while many cats might enjoy the warmth that a garage will bring, they’ll probably skip it during the winter.
There’s a lot that goes into finding the perfect location for a cat’s tower but at the end of the day, it’s all about understanding what your cat wants. Your cat wants to hang out and claim thier territory in a socially significant area. But they also want an area that’s actually interesting!
Once you understand these things, it becomes a lot easier to find the perfect piece of kitty real estate.