When it comes to cat trees, bigger may be better most of the time, but I can think of quite a lot of circumstances where this rule of thumb does not at all apply.
What are a few of those circumstances? If you have a kitten, or especially if you regularly foster kittens, you may find having a smaller cat tree more helpful than a big one. Domestic cats jump as high as five or six times their own body length, and since kittens are pretty wee, they will probably find it a lot easier to jump lower distances and shorter heights on smaller cat trees for quite a few months until they mature.
Live in a house with a lot of rooms? It can be ridiculously impractical to have enormous cat furniture everywhere your cats wander – and that’s not even considering the enormous expense, which if you’re planning on buying a tree for every room can become absurd pretty quickly since massive cat trees aren’t cheap (though there are some inexpensive ones).
If you live in a small apartment like me, you could opt for a tall, narrow cat tree, but things can get tricky real quick if you’re also doing your best to keep your cats off high surfaces like the tops of counters or worse yet – bookshelves they can tip over with too much weight and aggression, thus hurting themselves and anyone else in their wake in the process. Or there’s the issue many European and British pet owners have with a lack of window mesh – you don’t want to make it easy for cats to jump out of a window, so typically you’ll want a lower tree to prevent them from getting direct access to the top row of windows you can viably leave cracked open.
Many tall cat trees are also not sturdy enough to handle the weight of heavier or more active cats (though there are of course sturdier cat trees that are the exceptions to this rule). But the closer a cat tree is to the ground, the less it has to fight against gravity to stay up, and thus the less tipsy it will be even if it’s comparable quality and weight to a taller tree. An added benefit of course is that, if an accident does happen, say because you happen to have a bit of a clumsy cat, your feline’s less likely to get hurt as he or she will only fall a short way before being bumped.
Small cat trees and towers can solve all these problems in one go. They’re usually very good at generating interest, and actually come in quite a lot of unique designs that include hides/houses, perches, hammocks, and even play areas like full sized cat trees.
The only glaring difference between a smaller cat tree and a bigger one is the height a cat can use a tree to jump on. And while creating vertical spaces for cats to hop high onto is incredibly helpful for keeping cats happy and passively entertained indoors, it’s also unnecessary to have a tall cat tree to create high spaces for cats to jump up to. Instead, you can always group human furniture together, so kitty can jump, say, from a side table to a sofa to the top of a tall dresser, then onto a window ledge.
There may actually be benefit to getting a few smaller cat trees over getting one large one in terms of bang for buck as well – you can place them in different rooms, move them around the house regularly to create a feeling of novelty (which cats love!), and if one gets destroyed, you have a backup, and some time to replace the shredded tree, or DIY a new wrap out of sisal rope.
So yes, I can see enormous benefit in small cat trees. Now let’s get into what I think are some of the best ones available right now.
My Picks: Some of the Best Small Cat Trees & Cat Towers
I absolutely love the look of this cat condo. It’s got two resting spots – a perch and a circular house/hide, and a scratching post right near the bottom of it. It isn’t very tall, and not quite big at all, so it might not be advisable if you’re looking for a tree that could accommodate a larger cat. Still it seems to be very comfy, and there have been large Maine Coons who have crammed themselves into the top to get a snooze in, albeit the tight quarters.
This is probably the most perfect cat tree of all of the ones on this list for those who live in small apartments like me. Why? If you want more cat furniture around day-to-day, then want to be able to put some pieces away whenever you have company over, this is the most compact cat tree you could grab that’ll fold off neatly to be placed away in a cupboard or closet. Completely love that about it, as well as the fact that it has incredible appeal for cats since it’s got a hammock, a scratch post, a triangle cat house at the bottom, and a few little dangle play balls to top it off. For that price? I think it’s totally worth it, even if not as main cat tree.
When we first moved into this studio apartment with our cat Avery, I was seriously considering getting the Vesper V-Box cat tree. It’s sleek, it’s modern, it’s gorgeous, and it fit my white-and-wood furniture pretty darn nicely. With two office desks and a lot of human furniture brought into the room, I didn’t find there was enough room for any cat tree in our work-from-home space, but if there was, I still think this would’ve been my first choice.
This cat tree is what I imagine is one of the most ideal for kittens. It’s got fun and engaging dangle toy features, a little rounded scratcher for kittens to jump on top of or hide out beneath, and a little perch, so nothing too over the top, but it did strike me as more or less the perfect toy to drag a kitten toy over to make playtime more fun and exercise intensive, and help remedy all that crazy energy kittens have.
This is probably one of the biggest cat trees I dared to put on this list. It’s more of a medium size, but I thought it unfair to have so many “fun” and engaging small cat trees on a list that suit a kitten’s needs and not even one that would suit a larger adult cat’s needs. I think this incredible playground cat condo does the trick filling that void. And with that amazing double decker cat house – I can’t imagine multiple cats in one household having a problem with this tree either.
In my article on toys cats can play with on their own and when home alone, I mentioned a few pieces that were almost hybrids between cat furniture and cat toys – my main example being the ever-so-popular Ripple Rug. The humble cat tunnel also qualifies, and I think On2Pets has made a unique hybrid piece as well here. Imagine waving a feather toy in front of this cat tree while your kitty’s inside – I’d expect immediate engagement, even from a lazy cat like mine, who’s exceptionally hard to engage in play. There’s just something about hiding and peeking out to grab from behind bushes that cats love.
This is such an adorable concept, I had to feature it, even though it’s more miniature than most small cat trees, and maybe is more or less just a scratching post attached to a cute cheese wedge playtime feature. The bottom section is like having a cat toy box built right into a mini cat tower. I love the idea of this so much I’m strongly considering getting one once we move into a house.
I’m not going to lie, I hate the cream colour that most cat trees come in – I absolutely wish more cat trees came in pure white like this one. This is your standard run-of-the-mill type of design, but it looks well built for such an affordable price. And my god is it impossible for this piece not to match your human furniture – which is ever so important to someone like me.
If you’re looking for a cat tree for your feline friend to hang out in more than one he can actively play on, this is a great small cat tree to grab. A little step that takes a cat straight to a hole into an open tunnel to snooze in? Awesome. The only downside I can see is if you have multiple cats, they may be fighting over who gets to sit in that scrumptious spot!
Looking for a small cat tree for your large cat to hang out in? This is where it’s at. As much roomy comfort as you could need, plus, I’d imagine this tree would be great if your cat likes it when you pad his or her furniture with blankets and towels. And if you’ve got two smaller cats who like to snuggle, they should have plenty of room to do so in that top bed. Killer item for that purpose.
A bare bones cat scratcher tree, but one that’s gaining in popularity because of how affordable and durable it is. There are some who recommend only buying this “medium” sized version for smaller cats, and sticking to the large version of the same cat tree for regular to large cats, so keep this in mind while making your decision.
Speaking of cat toy boxes being integrated into cat trees! This Furhaven Homebase cat condo looks like another great option for a larger cat, or for a couple small to medium cats who like to snuggle together. While I don’t think the top sections would be ideal for large or aggressive cats to be up on, I do think being in or on top of the hidden cat condo section would be a-ok.
I featured this one in my article about cat trees with hammocks on them. It may not be much to look at, but it’s affordable, it’s pretty enough (at least to me, since it’s that lovely white colour instead of that horrible beige), it certainly seems to be big enough for a large cat or two small to medium sized cats to snuggle up together. Yes, it’s more or less a couple cat scratching posts with a lounging area, and not really a small cat tree, but I think for what it is and considering it’s low price, it’s an amazing buy.
While it’s not got all that many reviews yet, I absolutely love how modern and sleek this small cat tree looks aesthetically, so I had to add it to the list. There’s just something about that dark brown sisal rope, the dark grey carpeting, and the minimalism of this cat tree that makes me desperately wish more modern looking cat furniture existed on the market. Hopefully more companies will take a cue from these little ones that attempt to push the boundaries into transforming the humble cat tree into something just as much for people to look at as for cats to use, but we’ll see how long it takes the big brands to catch on!
In my opinion, there’s no way a cat wouldn’t fall in love with that hanging hammock just beneath the first step on this cat tree. I feel it’s a little difficult to find cat trees with hammocks on them when you’re looking for small cat trees in the first place. Hanging hammocks? A whole other ball game in terms of difficulty.
Your Experience with Small Cat Trees?
Have you ever bought a small cat tree before? Ever thought of grabbing one over a larger condo or tower? What was your reasoning behind wanting a smaller tree?
If you’ve any experience, positive or negative, with any cat trees of small-to-medium size, please do us all a favour and leave your thoughts below! Same with letting us know which brands you’ve found made better or worse products when it comes to cat trees in general. We’d all love to make wiser decisions with purchases and that always means being better informed!
And if you’ve ever managed to snag the purr-fect cat tower for your purpose: please recommend your particular tree below! It’s not always easy to come by cat furniture that fits all your needs just right.