Cat trees - what about the indoor kind?Having a cat is much like having a room mate - they come with their own quirks, routines and furniture that needs to go...well somewhere. Unless of course you want them to use your furniture for their needs. So what exactly is it that your kitty needs to keep their claws sharp, their territory marked and their climbing abilities up to speed? And how do you pick the right gear from all the crazy options out there? Lastly, what is the best spot for each piece and why?

Why cat scratching furniture is essential

So why is it that cats need a scratching post?

The first reason is the need to remove the dead upper layer of their nails. For this, your kitty will need something they can scratch vigorously without the fear of it tipping over on them.

Then there is the need to stretch their muscles after a nap - so get a scratching post that is tall enough and heavy enough  for your kitty to fully stretch out on.  

Lastly, there is the need to mark the perimeter of their territory. While this is usually done with facial marking if the cat feels confident and safe in your home, scratching is an additional way of doing so - and a preferable one to say, spraying, for both of you.

Your standard scratching post

Often, people get the classic scratching post with a sleeping nook attached and a seat on top. It's basic, looks cute and it is perfect for kittens. And therefore often sold as the part of the typical kitten starter kit. Your kitten(s) will enjoy it tremendously for the first few months - after which they might move on to your couch. These posts are often not heavy enough to resist the full body weight of a growing kitty, nor allow for the full stretch they so desire, due to being relatively short.  So, while this is a perfect beginner's scratching post, you may want to put a new post on your list of things to get within a few months in order to pre-empt any bad habits forming.

Or, alternatively, you can start out with a scratching post that will hold up against your kitty's growing spurt, such as the basic example below.

Tall, sturdy and no frills, this is a scratching post that has the potential of fulfilling all the basic needs. If you place one at the front door and the back door, you're pretty much good. It is made from sisal, a rope-like material that most cats find irresistible to scratch and is highly resistant and suitable for their relentless scratching onslaught.

SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post
Amazon Price: $74.99 $41.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 11, 2015)

The horizontal option

A small percentage of the cat population prefers to do their scratching horizontally. Typically, they're the ones that will go for the top of your couch if they cannot find a suitable alternative. Also, your doormat may get it - which can be a viable option if that is something you are good with as they're often located exactly where your cat needs them to be. Just make sure you get the sturdy, bristled kind so they can take the wear and tear. 

Alternatively, you can get some scratching pads that will also double as a sleeping spot. This particular one is made of sturdy carton - a favourite to claw open and sleep on as it isolates well. They won't last as long as sisal ones, but for being made of carton and being usually economical in price, they do a pretty decent job.

The Original Scratch Lounge - Worlds Best Cat Scratcher
Amazon Price: $34.99 $19.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 11, 2015)

Basic scratching pads

Scratching pads can be handy and versatile additions to your household. Typically, they are mounted to the wall, near places where your cat wants to scratch. It can be a quick fix - a compromise, really, between you and your cat if you are unsuccessful in persuading them to relocate their scratching behaviour elsewhere. 

Often, it means that that particular corner holds special significance. Somehow there is more of a need to mark that corner. And at that point, a wall mount can both cover up the damage and give the cat a proper place to scratch. 

On the other hand, they are also really handy if you do not have the room to actually place a full blown scratching post in a spot that clearly needs one. For that matter, some people prefer the clear floor space that scratching pads provide. Just make sure you mount it to a wall that is solid and put it up high enough so your cat can really dig in and stretch. 

Lastly, these versatile babies can also be used as horizontal scratching pads and attached in that way if your kitty prefers that direction. They're the ultimate fix-it in a pinch while usually being very reasonably priced. 

That said, they work best as additions - not as the main target for your kitties enthusiasm.

SmartCat Bootsie's Combination Scratcher
Amazon Price: $34.99 $15.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 11, 2015)

Cat tree climbing

Cat trees are wonderful contraptions. They'll allow your kitty to be in the middle of the action of your living room, while having their own seat and safe haven. If properly placed, they make for the perfect bird watching perch. And especially in multiple-cat households, they can be the item that allows for peace negotiations as they add vertical space to the horizontal territory already available. Indoor cats in particular will benefit greatly from a cat tree, as it will tend to their scratching needs, sleeping needs and aid with environmental enrichment - also known as not going nuts with boredom. 

There are many kinds and models, ranging from the basic sleeping pad and scratching post mounted together to the most outrages cat castles you can imagine. Feel free to shop around and find the perfect one for your home and kitty.

Armarkat A7202 72-Inch Cat Tree, Beige
Amazon Price: $159.00 $94.60 Buy Now
(price as of May 11, 2015)

Beyond the basics

If you want to truly take the term 'cat furniture' to heart, you can get your cat their own couch. Or chair. Or whatever you desire. Most of these beauties are made from 'scratchable' carton, making them lightweight yet durable and attractive. You'll find them in the shape of cat couches and towers- even as book closets, side tables, coffee tables and shelves, effectively merging cat and human furniture in one. They make wonderful additions to your basic scratching post, and your kitty will likely love them. And, many of them are in fact quite stylish, allowing you to perfectly merge your cat and human furniture for a cohesive look in your home.

PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge (Walnut Brown)
Amazon Price: $99.95 $46.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 11, 2015)

So you see, there are many options out there to explore. Just make sure you cover the basics for your kitty so you both can live together in peace and go from there. The world is your oyster - and your cat furniture shop. Who said that cat furniture had to be an eye sore and a constant irritation?