“ Brand: Zooplus / Type: Cat Tree „
I was never a cat person. As a child, I had loads of animals free ranging about the house, but never a single soul of the feline variety. But, like Haribo Tangfastic and heroin, cats are an addiction that slowly takes hold of you and, before you quite know what the hell's happened, you've acquired 3. Kitty the first, Minou, was a rescue and I'll cheerfully admit that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and just bought whatever the pet shop told me to. Kitty the second, Jellybean, was also a rescue (of sorts. Although the truth is more that he sort of barged his way into my life and then point-blank refused to leave, a bit like that psycho flatmate in Pacific Heights). Kitty the third, Dudley, was a Maine Coon whom we'd long since planned to buy after having found out a bit about the breed. Now, there are a few things you should know about my kitties:
- Minou was a loony kitten but has settled down and is now the queen of the house. She is far too dignified to race up and down cat trees unless a) she wants to slap one of the boys around or b) she wants to jump off one at 4am onto my head to remind me to feed her.
- Jellybean is an unfortunate combination of ridiculously lanky, incredibly athletic, stunningly clumsy and utterly stupid.
- Dudley is a heffalump who weighs in at over 5kg at 7 months old. Coons aren't fully mature for 4 years, so by the time he's fully grown he'll be like a well-muscled, furry tank.
Although only two of them really get full use out of a cat tree, all three of them absolutely love hammocks, so I thought I'd get a floor-to-ceiling cat tree for downstairs. As I already have one upstairs and there's limited space in my living room I wanted something mid-priced that would be tall and quite slender. This one looked as though it fitted the bill and I duly ordered it.
~*~What does it look like?~*~
This is a multi-platform cat tree with a suspended tunnel and one hammock. The base is square and has three legs leading to the next platform. Between these three legs hangs the suspended tunnel which opens out onto the level above. Above this are two sleeping platforms and then the top half of the tree is made up of single sisal poles separated by the hammock and 2 platforms. I opted for the navy and cream colour scheme which, whilst it doesn't exactly 'go' with my décor, doesn't look horrendously garish or anything.
~*~Was it easy to build?~*~
The front two legs are angled backwards which was a bit of a sod, but otherwise it wasn't too bad. It's a long time since I made it but I don't remember the instructions being particularly awkward and a lot of the time it's blindingly obvious as to which bit should go where. I do remember that it's quite heavy and, if you're assembling it on your own (like I was) it's quite a work-out to get all the parts screwed on and then heft the thing into an upright position. On that point, it did come with an adjustable, plush covered 'foot' which can be fixed to anchor it securely against the ceiling, but my ceilings are too low and so I just didn't add on that piece.
~*~Do the cats like it?~*~
Cats are, fundamentally, little sods who decide how much they will like something based on an inversely proportionate rate to the amount of time and effort you put into procuring the damn thing for them. So: scrunched up balls of paper - they fecking love. This, which cost me around 50 quid, was shipped from Germany, took over an hour to build, required the shifting of heavy furniture out of the way to accommodate it - their attitude was very much 'oh, that? Well...meh'
In fairness, I can't say I blame them. It's not the worst cat tree in the world but it's far from the best, either. The tunnel at the bottom is clad in navy blue plush which makes the inside really dark and it looks and feels insubstantial which may explain why not one of them has ever ventured into it. The bottom legs are angled and aren't quite long enough to allow the cats to get a really good stretch and so they don't use this either, much preferring to sharpen their claws on the armchair or the legs of visitors. The two sleeping platforms aren't padded and so, whilst the cats will sit on them or use them to climb onto the higher levels, they never curl up and sleep there. The one roaring success is the hammock which they all like using. This has become something of a bone of contention between Jellybean and Dudley, who both believe they have a God-given right to it. Back when he was little, Dudley was easily sent packing by Jellybean; now that the Dudster is the heaviest cat in the house by a good kilogram and a half he just climbs to the platform above the hammock, lowers himself over the edge and bellyflops onto JB's head and sits there, purring beatifically until Jellybean chooses escape over asphyxiation.
The biggest problem with this cat tree is how unstable it is. I've taken it apart and rebuilt it a couple of times thinking that I must have made a horlicks of the construction, but the problem lies with the fact that two thirds of the tree is made up platforms supported by a single pole. This means that no matter how much you tighten the poles, it lists alarmingly to one side like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It wasn't so bad when there were just two relatively small cats using it, but now that Dudley hurtles up and down it whilst 'playing with' (read 'beating up') Jellybean it's starting to look decidedly wonky. Granted, it's never actually toppled over yet, but Jellybean likes to poledance around the top platform (think Kate Moss in that White Stripes video, but with more fur, less cocaine addiction and about the same amount of psychosis) and every time he starts his routine I'm convinced that the angle of the tilt is going to send him plunging back to earth.
~*~Should you buy one?~*~
No. My pudder tats get enough use out of it for it not to be a total waste of money but if I were to buy another cat tree I wouldn't even consider this one. It's too unstable, too expensive for what it is and not sturdy enough to stay upright if energetic or large cats are using it.
If you are mad enough to buy one, they're available on Zooplus for £59. I'd strongly advise you to save your money and put it towards a better quality model.