You have spent a small fortune to buy your pet a cat tree. After spending the whole morning assembling it, your cat gives you a blank stare before moving out of the room. All your time, money, and effort wasted on a cat tree your pet will not use.
How to get a cat to use cat tree
You can get a cat to use a cat tree by placing the cat three in a suitable location, enticing your cat with treats and toys and by makin sure that the cat tree is stable and secure. Lets look at each of these in more detail.
Place the cat tree in a suitable location.
Sometimes, a cat will not use his cat tree simply because he does not like the area where it is currently located. Unfortunately, there is not one perfect location for a cat tree. Instead, you have to take into account your pet’s likes and dislikes.
If your cat is ignoring the cat tree in its current location, consider relocating it to one of his favorite areas in your home. For homes with multiple cats, getting separate trees for each individual is advisable.
You should also consider placing the cat tree in parts of your home where your family members usually stay. Although cats tend to be solitary creatures, they sometimes like to be where their humans are.
However, you should avoid placing the cat tree in areas where toddlers and young children frequent. Ditto with areas that tend to get noisy or have a substantial amount of foot traffic.
Entice your cat with treats and toys.
Take advantage of your feline’s love for treats and toys to coax him to check out his new cat furniture. Place his favorite toys near and around the cat tree to attract him to the area where it is located. And when he comes near the cat tree, offer him a few treats so that he can make a positive association with the furniture.
Some cat owners have reported a high degree of success in getting their cats to try a cat tree by using catnip.
When your cat begins to explore his cat tree, praise him for his efforts. This is particularly important if your cat tends to be timid. Cats are known to respond well with praises.
Make sure that the cat tree is stable and secure.
Perhaps your cat tried exploring his cat tree but got upset by something and is now ignoring it. One of the first things that you need to do is to check the structure. Perhaps you may have missed one of the instructions and you did not assemble one part properly. That may have made the furniture wobbly and unstable for your cat.
Your cat may also feel insecure using the furniture because your pet is bothered by the members of your household. As such, you should talk to your loved ones so that they will leave the cat alone while he is using the cat tree.
Why your cat is ignoring the cat tree
Cats have a natural affinity for high places, preferring to sleep and lounge in such areas when these are available. As such, it comes as a surprise when your pet ignores the cat tree that you bought for him. But as with most puzzling cat behaviors, there is an underlying reason that you should identify to arrive at a suitable solution.
1. Your cat is stressed.
Cats can be stressed by even the most trivial things, including the addition of new furniture in a room. Cats tend to prefer the familiar. And when they encounter something new, they succumb to stress. Your cat might be avoiding the cat tree because he is stressed by the unfamiliar addition to your home. Give your pet some time to adjust before encouraging him to investigate his new cat furniture.
2. The cat tree is in a bad location
The area where you place the cat tree can be the underlying reason why your cat is ignoring it. Consider changing the cat’s tree location and see if that changes your pet’s mind about using the furniture.
3. Your cat is not capable of using the cat tree.
Maybe you have a kitten or perhaps a senior cat with mobility issues, rendering him unable to climb the cat tree.
4. Your other pets are stopping your cat from using the cat tree.
If you own other cats, they might be exhibiting territorial behavior which can spook your cat. Take these possible reasons into account before finding a solution that works best for your pet.
Why invest in a cat tree
Is a cat tree even necessary or can your pet do without one? Before deciding, consider the benefits this type of cat furniture offers.
1. Provide an outlet for your cat’s climbing instincts
Cats seek high places so that they can survey their surroundings and hang around in a place far from the rest of the household. A cat tree can provide those needs for your pet.
2. Protect your furniture
When your cat has his own furniture to play and explore, the chances of him damaging your own furniture decreases.
3. Exercise for his mind and body
Many bad behaviors stem from a lack of physical and mental stimulation. This is particularly true if you keep your pet indoors exclusively. Giving your cat something that will help him play and stimulate his mind boosts both his physical and mental health. And when these needs are met, the likelihood of your cat engaging in destructive behavior is lessened. Engaging in physical activities can also prevent a few diseases and disorders, including obesity.
4. A haven for your feline friend
Although your cat may like hanging with you, he might still need some space and time alone. Cats tend to be overwhelmed by constant exposure to stimuli. By buying a cat tree, you are giving your pet a haven that he can call his own.
5. Entertainment for cats
If you are away from your home for a substantial time during the day, your cat can get bored and lonely when you leave him alone. You can minimize these by giving him something that will entertain him just until you get back home to shower him with affection.
6. Expanding your cat’s territory
The drive to expand his territory is strong in cats. This instinct can often drive felines to go outside and even quarrel with other cats they encounter. At home, a cat tree can answer your cat’s need to expand his territory. If space is limited in your home, a cat tree can remedy that by adding vertical space.
Be patient with your cat and his cat tree
Cats can be reluctant to try new things. If your pet seems to be ignoring the new cat tree that you bought for him, do not be disheartened. With patience and a few tricks, your cat will soon overcome his initial aversion to his cat furniture.
Image: istockphoto.com / Danai Jetawattana