How to Find the Best Cat Scratching Tower for Your Cat
Samantha Marsh – Founder of Tigga Towers Ltd
This is a subject close to my heart and the reason that my company, Tigga Towers began nearly 10 years ago. It started with my first Maine Coons, Basher and his partner in crime (my little princess), Mia. I then began breeding Maine Coons and I quickly learnt that cats require a cat scratching tower designed to suit their needs. This meant considering their breed, size, agility, age and of course their feline intelligence. Finding the best cat scratching towers for my cats has not been easy but believe me, I have learnt a lot over the years.
Buying my first cat scratching tower
Where do I start? “Let’s start at the very beginning”, as Mary Poppins would say! Before I even brought Basher and Mia home I was very excited to see what cat scratching towers I could find online. During my search, I came across a large floor-to-ceiling cat tower with all different types of beds on it and it did not take me long to decide that it was ‘the one’. It may have been one of the most expensive cat towers on the market but I was very proud of it because I felt that it covered everything with its tall height, variety of platforms and soft lush cat napping areas. Let’s just say as a new owner of a 4.5 kilogram (kg) 3-month year-old kitten (soon to be 10kg Maine Coon) and petite Mia (who turned out to be rather sickly), boy was I wrong.
What to think about before buying your cat scratching tower
Considering your breed of cat
Basher quickly taught me about Maine Coons. Being one large and determined Maine Coon, it did not take me long to find a very upset Basher hiding around the corner from his tower. I found the tower on the floor along with a big chunk of my ceiling. It seemed that the tower’s ceiling fixing had not held his weight when he had hung out of the round fabric hammock.
Firstly, I had not covered the basic rule when it comes to cat scratching towers, which is knowing the traits of your breed of cat. Maine Coons can be clumsy and uncoordinated compared to some breeds. They are also the largest domestic breed of cat. Thus, I recommend either speaking to your breeder about the traits/characteristics of your breed of cat or doing some online research.
The research should guide you with:
- The height of the poles on your cat scratching tower – they should allow your cat to fully stretch up when scratching (I recommend a minimum pole height of 60cm).
- The distance between each bed on your cat tower. For long-bodied cats I make sure the distance is up to 50cm between each bed. However, for breeds that are short-bodied or older I recommend making the distances closer (30-40cm).
- Stability i.e. the tower should be a decent weight and the beds need to be evenly distributed. This is especially important if you have a heavy breed of cat or a multi-cat household.
Choosing what materials are best on a cat scratching tower
I came across my second problem with my first cat tower when Mia started projectile vomiting from one of the highest beds on the tower. This led to many evenings where I was scrubbing down the faux fur platforms to remove the smell and stains. Also, unbeknown to me, the chipboard on my platforms was soaking up the water and swelling over time. Let’s just say it did not take many evenings of scrubbing for me to realise that I needed a cat tower with removable, machine-washable beds and washable platforms.
Other material choices are more about personal preference and what you would like in your home. Here are a few of my recommendations:
- If you buy a cat tower with sisal rope on the poles, make sure there is a guarantee on the wear and tear of the sisal rope. I found that the rope moved on some of the towers I had brought particularly when I was breeding Maine Coons and there were lots of them using the cat tower.
- Non-bleached sisal rope because I do not like the idea of chemicals on my cat tower but again, that is personal preference.
- Thicker poles that simulate a decent sized tree trunk rather than a branch.
How to decide between different types of beds on cat towers
For me, having the largest domestic breed of cat meant I wanted beds on my tower that were large enough for Basher to both stretch out fully and curl up warm and snugly. Over the years, I have found that my larger Maine Coons preferred square basket beds because they offered a bit more space. However, the females were quite happy curling up on round baskets and fabric platforms.
Deciding whether to have hammocks on your tower is often a difficult decision. At Tigga Towers, we suggest having hammocks if your cats are young, especially if they are kittens because it allows them to grow up with the hammocks and thus, use them as an adult too. However, older cats who are not used to the movement of a hammock are less likely to use them. This very much depends on your cat’s personality though!
I definitely suggest learning what position your cat tends to sleep in (i.e. curls up nice and tight or stretches out fully). You can let this information guide you when deciding what type of beds to put on your cat tower. Additionally, it is good to have regularly placed platforms on your cat towers to allow your cats to climb up and jump down from the tower. This should mean, if you have more than one cat, that you avoid any kamikaze feats like my lot.
Where to place the cat scratching tower in your home
No matter what your choice of cat tower is, nothing will put your cats off from using it more than placing the cat tower in a dark dingy corner away from the hub of the home. I learnt that as a breeder. In my old house, it took me a while to figure out why my new Double Tigga Tower with a granite base, stood in my hallway looking lovely but it never had any of my cat gang curled up on it. It was only when visitors arrived that hey presto, it was full of cats playing or posing on it whilst we stood in the hallway chatting.
When I moved to a new house I placed that tower in my bedroom because I knew my cats loved being near me at night. Every evening they would curl up on it and when I woke up I would find them watching the wildlife from the bay window. I soon realised it was not the tower design but position that made this tower one of my most popular with my cats. I must add that cats always love it when their tower is near a window!
Where my searches led me
After learning from Basher and Mia with my first cat tower, I quickly began to search again for another one. My search led me from the USA, to a Danish company in Europe and finally to France where I decided to make a purchase. The towers there were unreal! However, it was not quite so simple and after many attempts, my French failed me so I decided to make the trip to Paris to purchase one.
Three years into breeding Maine Coons and putting cat scratching towers to the test, I finally decided to create my own and thus, Tigga Towers began! My first creation is actually still with me nine years on!
After reading this blog you may well be thinking that some but not all the above points apply to your cat or kitten. The points on cat scratching towers are of course all my own opinion and some aspects of a cat tower are very much according to personal taste. Equally, my greatest knowledge lies with Maine Coons as even now I am still owned by three of them. However, I have learnt about other breeds after my nine years with Tigga Towers. It is also worth remembering that my lot are indoor cats only and cats who have a safe outdoor area will have different tower requirements.
Of course, I will always recommend Tigga Towers as I guarantee something unique, long lasting and a family business service (but I am slightly biased). Equally, I know there are many cat tower manufacturers out there. The best thing to do is to research them all with your list of what you are looking for.
Feel free to ask questions below, I would be delighted to answer them as well as hear and see photos from owners about their experiences with cat scratching towers. The more we hear from owners the more we can all understand exactly what a cat wants and perhaps we can even stop that feeling that the ‘box’ the tower arrives in is more popular than the tower itself!
Whatever you chose I hope that you enjoyed this little insight into my own personal experiences and I look forward to hearing yours.
Founder of Tigga Towers Ltd