After reading many a book about cats, and observing many cats as a foster parent for the local humane society, I learned that different cats like different surfaces to scratch on. We observed our cats inside and out, and could tell that most of them liked scratching on the trees.
So when one of our trees was cut down. We used a branched section that was very stable and placed several pieces of plywood at different levels on the branches. Usually these pieces were placed between two branches to make them more stable.
We had 3 levels and each level had a different texture or activity. One level was carpet, we used an old bath mat and used glue and staples to hold it to the plywood. Between 2 of the levels we wrapped the trunk with sisal rope. Then placed a cat bed on one level. We stapled the bed to the level so it wouldn't fall off.
On the lowest level we hung several toys so that they can bat and play with them. This was much more stable and cheaper than any cat tree we found in the store. All the cats loved it.
Source: Brandon and Ericka W. who were my roommates and helped with the design
By Stephanie from Bay City, TX
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