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This is our review of the best cat trees for senior cats in 2023.
Older cats have particular needs when it comes to cat trees. Stiff joints mean they can’t leap high, and balance problems mean they need a sturdy and stable structure.
I’m a lifelong cat parent and I’ve cared for many senior cats of my own. I’ve researched the best cat trees available to help you select the best tree for your cat.
I found that the best cat tree for senior cats is the Cyclysio Pet Perch.
It features large, low level perches to protect an older cat’s joints from high impact jumping. It is robust and sturdily built so it doesn’t wobble and unbalance your cat, and it has plenty of space for cats to stretch out and watch the world go by.
All situations are different however, and you may want additional features for your cat tree, so I’ve also included the best budget option, best option for multiple cats and the best option for small apartments.
Read on to find out more!
Our Best Cat Trees For Senior Cats
- Cyclysio Pet Perch (Overall Best Cat Tree For Senior Cats)
- Tiger Tough Tower Playground Corrugated Cat Tree (Best Senior Cat Tree For Multiple Cats)
- Eheyciga Cat House Cube Bed (Best Budget Cat Tree For Senior Cats)
- Trixie Valencia Plush Cat Tree (Best Senior Cat Tree For Small Apartments)
- MidWest Curious Cube Cat Condo
- FluffyDream Cat Scratcher
Best Cat Trees For Senior Cats Reviewed
Here are our detailed reviews of the best cat trees for senior cats. They have all been assessed as suitable for older cats.
(Overall Best Cat Tree For Senior Cats)
This inventively designed cat tree has a rustic, stylish look and is available in a choice of colors to complement your decor. It features a large, 18” x 18” perching area which gives elderly cats plenty of room to stretch out. It’s ideal for larger cats too. The perch is surrounded by a raised lip to stop your cat accidentally falling off or to accommodate a cushion for extra comfort, and it also incorporates a storage drawer to keep your cat’s accessories tidy.
The steps to the perch are wide and shallow (no leaping required), and the build is sturdy and solid. Older cats can be confident of their footing when using it as a step to higher places such as beds or couches.
There are a variety of holes and entrances to stimulate your cat’s curiosity and keep them entertained, however there is no scratching area. The unit itself comes in 2 parts which can be arranged multiple ways and moved around the home easily, making it versatile for everyday use. There are carpets on the steps and perch which are removable for easy cleaning. These are quite thin and prone to coming off, but this is easily solved with a few pieces of strategically applied carpet tape.
The cat tree comes flat packed and requires assembling. Tools are supplied but assembly takes 1-1.5 hours.
- Large perch for older cats to stretch out
- Rustic, stylish, quality look to it. Available in a choice of colors to complement any decor
- Incorporates storage so you can quickly tidy away your cats toys when entertaining visitors
- Shallow step levels, ideal for elderly cats who can’t jump
- Sturdy Build – Older cats can be confident of their footing when using it as a step to higher places such as beds or couches
- Removable mats for easy cleaning
- Variety of holes and entrances to stimulate your cat’s curiosity and keep them entertained
- Comes in two parts, can arrange multiple ways and move it around to different spots easily
- Raised ledge surrounds the lounging area to stop cat accidentally falling off
- Great for large cats
- Requires assembling. Tools included but takes 1-1.5 hours to put together.
- Carpet pieces included are flimsy and prone to coming off. Solve this by adding extra carpet tape.
- Choice of sizes potentially confusing – double check you have ordered the size you require. We recommend medium for an elderly cat, height is 21.38″
- No scratching area
(Best Senior Cat Tree For Multiple Cats)
This cat tree is made from heavy duty corrugated cardboard, and includes three horizontal cardboard scratching posts. These are perfect for older cats who may find it too much strain on their joints to stretch and scratch vertically. The softer cardboard scratching surfaces are also better for their brittle claws. An added bonus is its construction from recycled materials which supports sustainable pet care.
The tree is supplied with catnip to sprinkle on the scratching areas. This encourages your cat to scratch the tree and not your furniture. It features multiple levels which are close together with no need for your cat to jump – a huge benefit for older, arthritic cats. The multiple levels also make it suitable for multi-cat households.
The relatively small footprint of the tree (H: 33”, W: 22.83”, D: 17.72”) is ideal for less roomy homes, and it is easy to assemble – perfect if you dislike DIY, and it means your kitty can enjoy it sooner. The instructions are in the roof or there is a video on the sellers website. Being made of cardboard, this cat tree can also be painted to match your decor.
Some purchasers have questioned this cat trees’ value and durability with it being made of cardboard, and expressed disappointment that the scratching pads aren’t replaceable. The roof is also a bit flimsy, but it can be removed altogether to give your cats more room.
- Best Buy for multiple cats
- Horizontal scratching posts made of corrugated cardboard – great for older cats who may find it too much strain on their joints to stretch and scratch vertically. The softer cardboard scratching surfaces are also better for their brittle claws.
- Eco-friendly materials support sustainable pet living
- Supplied with cat nip to encourage scratching on the tree and not your furniture
- Multiple levels – ideal for multi-cat households
- Levels close together and easily navigated by older cats – no need to jump
- Small footprint – Great for smaller rooms/apartments
- Easy to assemble – ideal if you dislike DIY, means your kitty can enjoy it sooner! (The assembly instructions are inside the roof)
- Exterior can be painted to match your home decor
- Pricey for cardboard
- Flimsy roof which you may prefer to remove and give your cats more room on the top level
- No replacements available once the scratching areas wear through
- Small lounging areas
- Not as durable as wooden or plastic trees. If your cat likes chewing or scratching the outside of the tree it won’t last very long
- Unsuitable for very large cats over 18lbs
(Best Budget Cat Tree For Senior Cats)
All the requirements of senior cat trees can make them expensive but we rate this one as the best budget buy. It meets the needs of senior cats by being sturdy and durable so it doesn’t wobble and unbalance them when they use it. With a height of 12.5” it can be easily scaled by an older cat without the need to jump, and the large 16” x 16” perch gives them plenty of space to stretch out and sleep.
The multi-purpose, versatile design keeps your cat stimulated and entertained. It has a scratching post, a plush ball toy to play with plus a choice of sleeping areas – cat cave below or vantage point above. The cushion is reversible with fur on one side to keep an older cat warm in winter, and smooth fabric on the other to keep them cool in summer.
This cat cube is quick to assemble and folds away for storage or travel. It also has removable covers which can be machine washed to remove pet stains etc.
Some owners report that the cube had a “manufacturing” odor when it arrived, and that the cool side of the cat cushion lacked padding. The vertical scratching area might not suit older cats, and many reported that it was too low for their cat to use.
- Best budget buy
- Sturdy, durable construction which is built to last
- Multi-purpose, versatile design gives your cat lots of choices. Includes a vertical scratching post and plush ball toy for additional enrichment for your cat, plus a choice of sleeping areas: the cat cave below or the vantage point above.
- Removable covers can be easily be machine washed to remove pet stains etc
- Stable lounging area which is easy to reach. Only 12.5” high – perfect for older, less athletic cats.
- Large 16”x16” sleeping area, suitable for older cats to stretch out
- Quick to assemble, ideal if you don’t like D.I.Y. Means your cat can start using it straight away
- Folds away for storage if you need to create extra floor space or for travel
- Modern, neutral styling to suit any decor, will complement your home
- Reversible cushion on top to keep your cat warm in winter and cool in summer
- Edged sides to the upper platform to keep your cat safe from falling/rolling off the top
- Vertical scratching areas too low for some cats
- ‘Cool’ side of the reversible cushion lacks padding and could be uncomfortable
- Has a strong “manufactured” odor when new which your cat might find off putting
- Not strictly a cat tree
(Best Senior Cat Tree For Small Apartments)
The small footprint of this cat tree (17” x 13”) made it our pick for small apartments. Its 28” height makes it safe for senior cats, and it features a sturdy wooden design that won’t wobble and unbalance your older cat.
It has multi-level perches, close together with a low rise so your cat doesn’t need to jump, as well as multiple ways to keep your older cat entertained. There is a cat cave with multiple entrances to encourage your cat’s natural instinct to explore, as well as vertical scratching posts covered with sisal rope for durability. There is also a plush ball to encourage play.
- Best for small apartments
- Total height 28” – lower level cat tree keeps your senior cat safe from heights
- Choice of colors to complement your decor
- Mulitple ways to keep your cat entertained. Cat cave with multiple entrances to encourage your cat’s natural instinct to explore. Vertical scratching posts covered with sisal rope for durability. Plush ball to encourage play.
- Multi-level perches, close together with a low rise so your cat doesn’t need to jump
- Sturdy wooden design that won’t wobble and unbalance your senior cat
- Faux fur covering provides comfort and warmth for your cat
- First level (condo roof) is 13.5” high, which may be too high for a very elderly cat
- Unsuitable for large cats
Senior cats need lower level perches that they can climb onto easily without straining their joints. They often prefer horizontal scratching areas if they find vertical stretching uncomfortable.
The MidWest Curious Cube Cat Condo is only 11.42 inches high, so can be easily negotiated by an older cat. Its sturdy build means cats can be sure of their footing, and it has a large perch (17.52” x 13.39”) where an older cat can lounge and stretch out.
This cat tree/condo can be used by cats as a hideaway bed, vantage point or a step to a higher surface so gives them options to explore. As a bonus, it is easy to assemble and can be folded away for storage or traveling.
Some users have found that it lacks padding and have added an extra blanket, and some found that the scratching area was too small for their cat. It will only suit small to medium sized cats as the entrance to the hideaway doesn’t accommodate large cats.
- Low height, ideal for arthritic cats
- Sturdy Build – Older cats can be confident of their footing when using it as a step to higher places such as beds or couches
- Large lounging area, ideal for older cats to stretch out their limbs
- Horizontal scratching area, ideal for older cats who find vertical stretching uncomfortable
- Folds away – ideal for travelling or storage
- Multipurpose – cats can use it as a hideaway bed, vantage point or step
- Very easily assembled, perfect if you dislike DIY, means your cat can use it straight away.
- Lacks padding, some cats find it uncomfortable. You can add a blanket as extra padding
- Small scratching area, may need additional scratching posts
- Unsuitable for large cats who may not fit through the entrance
Whilst not strictly a cat tree, this design has proved extremely popular with cats and has many advantages for an older cat.
The horizontal cardboard scratching area is ideal for senior cats who can no longer reach up to scratch vertically. The softer material of the cardboard is also suited to their brittle claws. It encourages scratching in the right place, redirecting your cat away from precious furniture.
At only 10.5” high it is safe for older, less mobile cats to climb, and is just high enough to give them that sense of being off the floor.
The design seems to really appeal to cats. Once they have entertained themselves and expended their energy scratching they are happy to lounge and fall asleep on the comfortable, curved design.
- Horizontal cardboard 34″ x 10.5″ scratching surface. Suitable for older cats who find vertical scratching uncomfortable, and prefer cardboard for their brittle claws.
- Stylish futuristic design to complement your home
- Recycled materials which support sustainable pet care
- The design seems to really appeal to cats. Once they have entertained themselves and expended their energy scratching they are happy to lounge and fall asleep on the comfortable, curved design
- Low level structure. Easy and safe for older, less mobile cats
- Reversible design. Scratcher can be flipped so it lasts twice as long
- Encourages scratching in the right place. Redirects your cat away from precious furniture
- Cardboard less durable than other materials
- Sheds fibers and debris
- No padded lounging area
- Starts to look tatty after extensive use
- Not really a cat tree
Guide to Buying the Best Cat Tree For Senior Cats
Older cats have specific needs when it comes to cat trees. Here’s how to choose the best cat tree for your senior cat.
Aging in cats
When does a cat become a senior? According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, cats used to be considered old at eight, but improvements in nutrition and veterinary medicine mean cats are living longer. A cat is now considered old at between 12 and 14 years of age. To understand how this relates in terms of human years, we can view the graphic below.
In order to understand the needs of the older cat, we need to consider the physical changes they undergo as they age*. These include:
- Stiff, painful joints. Just like in us humans, daily wear and tear from everyday activities can lead to a loss of cartilage, causing painful joints. Signs of arthritis include reluctance to jump up or down, difficulty negotiating stairs, reduced levels of activity and stiffness after sleeping.
- Feeling the cold. Senior cats can have difficulty regulating their body temperature, making them more susceptible to heat and cold.
- Balance problems. General degeneration coupled with muscle wastage and weakness can make older cats lose their balance more easily.
- Brittle claws. Changes in circulation in older cats can cause their claws to become thick and brittle. Older cats may be reluctant to use scratch posts due to discomfort from arthritis.
- Reduced vision and hearing. Usually a normal part of the aging process.
*Note: if you are worried about any symptoms experienced by your cat, you should seek advice from your vet.
Why do cats need cat trees?
Years ago, your cat’s ancestors lived in trees so they could watch their prey without being seen. Your cat has inherited their ancestors’ love of heights and vertically placed vantage points. Viewing from on high makes cats feel safe; they can see without being seen.
Indoor cats in particular get a lot of entertainment from climbing something high to oversee what is going on. If they can no longer reach their favorite vantage point to watch the world go by they may become bored and depressed.
Jumping and climbing keeps cats exercised and helps offset age-related muscle wastage. It is still important to provide enrichment for older cats to keep them active and interested in life. Age related problems like joint stiffness and pain, failing eyesight or hearing make them less likely to engage in play or exercise. It is therefore hugely important that older cats have an enriched environment that encourages them to remain active.
What to Look For When Choosing the Best Cat Tree For Your Senior Cat
In view of the physical changes that older cats experience as they age, the following elements should be included in cat trees for older cats to make their lives easier and more comfortable.
- Horizontal scratching pads. Senior cats may find it uncomfortable to stretch and scratch vertically, and often appreciate being able to scratch horizontally.
- Cardboard scratching pads. Older cats sometimes prefer softer scratching surfaces like cardboard, as their claws are more brittle.
- Low perches. Older cats can lose their balance more easily; lower perches are safer to prevent injury if they fall.
- Stable structure. Older cats need to be sure of their footing. Avoid tall wobbly structures or unsteady hammocks so they don’t lose their balance.
- Non-slippery surfaces where the cat can gain traction, such as carpet or sisal as older cats can be more unsteady on their feet.
- Large perches. Stiff limbs mean older cats stretch out more when asleep, rather than curling into a tight ball like younger cats
- Wide steps/levels which are close together. These are easier to traverse for an arthritic cat. Ideally there should be a rise of 6 inches or less between levels so your cat doesn’t have to jump.
It can be difficult to find cat trees that feature even some of the elements suitable for older cats, but our list of the best cat trees for senior cats should help you choose the best cat tree for your senior cat.
Senior cats have certain needs when it comes to cat trees. They require large low level perches that are easily accessed. Other features such as horizontal scratching posts will make their lives more comfortable, but it is hard to find a cat tree with everything. We feel that The Cyclysio Pet Perch is an excellent choice of cat tree for senior cats. Click here to buy now.