How to Choose a Rustic Cat Tree

Complex rustic cat tree with feline occupant

Cats are natural climbers and prefer to spend much of their time above the ground, which makes rustic cat trees perfect play areas for them. Given an opportunity to be in the outdoors, cats not only climb trees, they use them as a safe haven, secure from dogs and other animals. Tree bark also provides cats with a place to trim their nails, scratch their backs, or simply rest while viewing the world from on high. They also seem to enjoy the smell of wood and the shelter of a tree's foliage.

Why Cats Like Rustic Cat Trees

Rustic cat trees provide cats with many of these same amenities indoors. These trees usually feature climbing surfaces made of natural, unfinished wood. They are available with the natural tree bark intact or with the bark removed from the trunk or branches. Some cat trees even feature artificial foliage in which cats can hide.

Why Select a Rustic Hideaway for Your Cat

Cat owners enjoy offering their cats places to play and exercise. A cat tree provides a multitude of opportunities for climbing, tag, hide-and-go-seek and other games cats enjoy. Some trees feature tunnels, bridges, and hiding places, such as a hollowed out tree trunk. Cat experts report that indoor cats survive much longer than those allowed to roam in the outdoors, so a rustic tree house is especially appropriate for a cat that has been outdoors in the past and is now being kept indoors for his or her safety. A rustic tree provides the cat with an almost natural play environment.

In addition to giving your cat a great place to play and exercise, a cat tree may help protect your furniture, carpet, wall trim, and doors from clawing cats attempting to groom their nails.

Kinds of Rustic Trees

Rustic cat trees vary in size, construction methods, material, and features. The bark may be left on the wood to encourage clawing or stripped off for an easier to clean surface. They range in size from three or four-feet high to over six-feet tall. They can be very simple, consisting of a single climbing pole and a platform, or complex with an intricate arrangement of branches, platforms, cradles, and baskets. Platforms are usually cloth or carpet covered, but cradles and baskets are often made of wood, reeds, or other natural materials. Many rustic trees are handmade, and sellers, such as Furwood Forest, promise one-of-a-kind designs that are never reproduced.

Selecting the Right Cat Tree

There are many things to consider when selecting a tree for your feline friends:

  • The number of cats who will use the tree can determine the size of the tree.
  • There should be sufficient resting and hiding places for all of the cats in a multi-cat household.
  • The style of the tree should complement the décor of the room where it will be placed.
  • The tree should be sturdy and very stable; if a tall tree falls over, it will be a danger to humans, as well as cats.
  • Tree bark may shed as cats claw it; if tree bark on the floor or other surfaces is a problem, select a tree with the bark stripped away.
  • The wood from which a tree is made may be aromatic, such as cedar, or essentially odorless, such as oak.
  • Sisal rope and other hanging toys may dangle from the tree; these could be a potential safety hazard for a young child.

Where to Find the Right Tree?

There are many online sources for these trees. Furwood Forest and CatsPlay.com provide a wide range of cat trees, many of them rustic designs. Even Amazon.com features a number of cat trees from Furwood Forest. Local pet stores and large pet store chains usually sell a variety of cat trees; however, the selection of rustic designs may be limited.

Furwood Forest and some other companies design custom tree-like habitats that meet the needs of both their feline and human customers.


Cat trees come in a wide range of designs. It may take a bit of searching to find a rustic design that meets all of your needs, but the right choice will give the trees' future inhabitants years of wonderful opportunities for play and exercise.

How to Choose a Rustic Cat Tree