By Clare Hemington DipCAPBT
I’m sure at some point you’ll have seen a cat walking either confidently or precariously along a fence, or shooting up a tree to escape a more ferocious feline, or simply sitting for hours on an indoor windowsill watching the world go by. And there’s a good reason for this. Cats live in a 3D world. Unlike us humans who generally only move backwards and forwards, cats also travel up and down.
Their need to do this is based on the fact that, as well as being top of the range predators, in the wild they are also prey to larger animals. So being able to get up high allows them to escape threats such as dogs, children, overly demonstrative owners and other cats, and view their territory from a position of safety whilst the jumping up and down also gives them a bit of exercise.
It’s no wonder then that manufacturers of cat activity centres have been producing ever larger creations which if you’ve got the room, can be great addition to your cat’s environment. However, not everyone is lucky enough to have the space for monster cat trees and this is why, when I was asked to review the Monkee Tree Cat Ladder, I was intrigued.
This is a very different looking cat tree. Designed to be fixed to the ground or to a wall it has a single central ‘trunk’ made from tough UV resistant Polypropylene with adjustable steps or ‘branches’ winding around it, a truly space-saving design.
The tree comes in two starter pack sizes. The 12 Trunk Starter Pack comes with 4 Branches and is 48.5″ (124cm) tall and the 18 Trunk Starter Pack comes with 6 Branches and is 71″ (181 cm) tall. For the Edmund Hillarys of the cat world, there is also a 6 Trunk Extension with 3 Branches which can be added to the 18 Trunk Starter Pack to extend the Monkee Tree to even greater heights (approx. 22.9″, 58cm). You can also buy a separate Branch Pack consisting of 2 branches.
I had the 18 Trunk Starter Pack and seeing all the pieces laid out I was a bit concerned that this might end up like those notoriously difficult- to- put-together pieces of flat-packed furniture…
… but I needn’t have worried. This was a doddle! To build the trunk all I had to do was screw the first of three threaded metal rods onto the base or ‘stump’ and then slide six sections of trunk onto the metal rod (there is one metal rod for each six sections of trunk). I then fitted the first of three green connectors into which the second rod is screwed. The next six sections of trunk are then fitted and so on. All the sections fit very neatly on top of each other – it really is a breeze.
Once I had built the trunk to the required height, I fitted the top cap and set about adding the branches. What I would say here is that before attaching any branches it’s a good idea to move the trunk to the place where you’re intending to locate the tree and either fix it into position on the floor or in a wall or have someone hold it in place whilst you arrange the branches.
Attaching the branches couldn’t be easier, they simply clip into the slots provided in each section, and for the slots which aren’t used there are covers, which gives the tree a sleek look.
The branches can be arranged as you see fit. For older cats or those with mobility issues you might want to fit the first branch into the lowest slot then have subsequent branches at narrow intervals. On the other hand, for cats that like to jump the first branch can be fitted higher off the ground. This is the beauty of this tree unlike traditional scratching posts it can be adjusted to fit your cat’s particular requirements.
My cat Billy is getting on a bit, and starting to suffer from arthritis, but nevertheless, with the branches down low, he was able to climb on board and explore!
There is one thing you might be wondering about, particularly if you want to keep your furniture scratch-free. The fact that this tree isn’t covered in sisal twine and therefore cats can’t scratch it. The clever Monkey Tree makers have come up with a solution. A durable carpet scratching pad called the ‘Scratch Patch’ which zips around the base of the trunk.
You might have guessed by now that I’m impressed with this tree. Its genius lies in its versatility. It’s scalable, so that if you purchase it for your kitten, by simply adding sections the tree can grow as he grows. Its slim design makes it suitable for those who are spatially challenged and it’s very easy to assemble. It’s durable and likely to outlast the sturdiest of sisal cat trees and can be installed inside or outside on concrete, wood, sloping decks and paving stones. All this whilst providing invaluable enrichment for your cat. What’s not to like?
For further information visit: https://monkeetree.com/
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I am an accredited Cat Behaviourist and freelance cat writer. running one of the very few cat-specific Behaviour Practices in the UK.
I have own and run Honeysuckle Cat Toys, an award-winning small business selling toys for cats made from Tatarian Honeysuckle wood. My slices of Tatarian honeysuckle wood are a fragrant and completely natural toy which offer wonderful enrichment for all cats, young and old, and provide a great alternative to catnip and valerian toys. Now available to buy for the very first time anywhere in the UK, Honeysuckle Cat Toys has been voted Best Cat Toy in the Your Cat Magazine product awards for 2018/19.