Sam Jackson

The Evolution of the Cat Tree

Or, how we got to the "Refined Feline Lotus Cat Tower"

Cat trees were invented in 1968 by Frank Crow. He described his invention as a structure that would "provide a clawing surface of maximum appeal to a cat", "provide a climbing structure of high appeal and good exercising facility", and finally "provide a facility for playing, feeding and sleeping".

What he didn't describe is an insane mess of platforms, ropes, and hidey-holes, all covered in piss-soaked carpet. Let's explore how we went from a relatively benign plaything intended to keep the family pet from tearing up the human upholstery to the monstrous, room eating structures we commonly see today.

Cat tree-lite

Following a classic two column layout, this simple cat tree gets the job done simply and effectively, as per Mr. Crow's vision. We have two different surface options for clawing in the pillars and the base carpet, climbing to get to the upper platform, and a nice surface to sleep on.


This model corrects for the deficiencies in the previous model, which were arguably that the "Lite" model did not provide enough facility for climbing or playing. With the added height, the introduction of a rope toy, and the little cave to hang out in, Mr. Crow's vision is realized here.

Bigger is Better

Here we start to go off the rails... This overgrown version of the Standard model offers no new features outside of increased square footage and two times the fake birds to practice slaughtering.


This one is hard to look at. We've continued with the "bigger is better" trend and added the most of basic architectural aesthetics by making everything perfectly symmetrical. While potentially a promising development for OCD cats, owners might find that this structure framing living room televisions to be less than optimal.


Eschewing symmetry in favor of grandeur and replete with two toned carpets, extensive fake foliage, plush sleeping hammocks, this is the Trump Tower of cat trees. Super luxury!


While this is a cat tree that sucks for cats, it doesn't look like it emerged from the depths of a hoarder's garage. Perfect if you want a horrible compromise of interior design and cat utility.
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