This modern cat tree will change the way you think about cat furniture
"Stylish" and "cat tree" aren't often used in the same sentence, but this product could change that
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I don’t think anyone has ever looked at a classic cat tree—you know, the ones that are covered in carpeting and held up by sisal-wrapped poles—and said, “Wow, that’s so pretty.” They’re just not attractive pieces of decor, but most cat owners (including myself) suck it up and get one to give their feline friend(s) somewhere to play, lounge, and scratch.
But AutoPets, the company behind my beloved Litter-Robot and Feeder-Robot, is hoping to change all that. The brand recently partnered with Sauder furniture to create a new line of modern cat furniture, including a Cat Tower, Cat Side Table, Cat Shelves, and more—and dare we say the pieces are actually pretty?! We needed to know more, so we got our hands on the Cat Tower to see if it was too good to be true.
What is the AutoPets Cat Tower?
The AutoPets Cat Tower is a new iteration of the traditional cat tree—it’s bigger, sturdier, and more attractive to display in your home. The unit looks like three stacked cubes, and it’s quite large at around 18 inches wide, 17 inches deep, and 54 inches tall. (Seriously, it’s almost as tall as me!)
The Cat Tower features several climbing holes, sisal scratch pads, and a cat bed on the bottom level, and you can choose between white or “Mystic Oak Woodgrain” colors. However, the Cat Tower certainly isn’t cheap, retailing for a cool $269—pricey, even for a cat tree.
How is it different from a regular cat tree?
The main appeal of the Cat Tower is its appearance. I’ve also tested a Frisco Cat Tree, which costs just $53, and it was quickly relegated to a hidden corner of our apartment, as its gray fuzzy platforms don’t exactly scream “stylish.”
The AutoPets Cat Tower, on the other hand, is designed to look like a piece of modern furniture. It has a metal frame with durable wood composite sides, and it resembles a modern bookcase more than a piece of cat furniture. Basically, it’s not nearly as much of an eyesore.
The Cat Tower is also substantially bigger than the Frisco Cat Tree. One of my main qualms with the traditional cat tree was that its platforms were too small for my cat, Nugget, to comfortably lounge. The Cat Tower solves that issue, providing spacious areas that will accommodate even the largest felines.
Be warned: Assembly is a chore
Most cat trees require assembly, but putting together the Cat Tower is more akin to assembling a piece of IKEA furniture. The package itself is unbelievably heavy—we’re talking 50 pounds and an unwieldy shape. I couldn’t carry it myself, and my boyfriend was less than pleased to be tasked with the chore.
Assembling the unit was just as unpleasant. First you have to build the frame, then attach the various platforms. It took me around two hours from start to finish, and more than once I realized I put on a piece backward and had to backtrack to correct my mistake. My best advice to streamline the process is to use a power drill to tighten the screws, as it’s quite challenging to do by hand.
My cat is obsessed with this cat tower
Sweaty and a bit disgruntled, I finally situated the Cat Tower in the corner of our apartment, arranging it so that Nugget would be able to see out the window. I had to bribe him to get onto the tower with treats, and I also showed him how he could use the climbing holes to get from one level to the next.
For the first few days, Nugget only climbed on the Cat Tower when there were treats present, but then, on day four or five, I got up in the morning to find him sitting on one of the ledges, watching birds hop around outside. From then on, he couldn’t get enough of the Tower.
Whether morning, noon, or night, Nugget now spends a lot of his time loafing on the Tower, either watching us putter around the apartment or observing what’s going on outside. I lined the middle cubby with a soft blanket for him, and it quickly became his favorite snooze spot, especially because it gets warm sun in the morning. (The bottom cubby is supposed to be the “bed,” but our dog will bother him if he sleeps down there.) The platforms are the perfect size for him to lounge comfortably, and he has no problem climbing from one level to the next.
While Nugget likes scratching his old cat tree, he never spent much time hanging out on it, as it’s a bit too small for him. Just the simple fact that he willingly uses the Cat Tower makes it a worthwhile splurge in my book, and it’s an added bonus the unit is nice enough to display in our main living space. Plus, the Tower is incredibly sturdy and well-made, making me think we’ll be able to use it for many years.
I can only think of one thing that’s “wrong” with it
One of my favorite aspects of the Frisco Cat Tree was its sisal-wrapped poles, which Nugget uses to sharpen his claws on a daily basis. This scratching post has helped to keep him from terrorizing my furniture, and I was disappointed to find that the AutoPets Cat Tower doesn’t have a great clawing space.
The back panel of the unit is lined with sisal scratch pads, but the multi-level design of the tower doesn’t provide enough vertical space for Nugget to adequately stretch up and work his claws. It’s a small woe, though, and probably wouldn’t be as much of an issue with smaller cats.
Should you get the AutoPets Cat Tower?
As with many AutoPets products, the Cat Tower is priced higher than its competition—you can find many cat trees available for between $50 and $150, while the AutoPets Tower is $269. However, the price reflects the quality. This piece of cat furniture is extremely well-made and durable, and it’s also pretty stylish and would blend in with modern decor. Plus, it has generously sized platforms that are great for larger kitties.
I would definitely be willing to spend more on a piece of AutoPets Cat Furniture, simply because it’s a better size for Nugget and not a total eyesore. However, if your cat likes regular cat trees and you don’t mind their appearance, the extra cost might not be worth it for you.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.