Cats are born great climbers, so why not get your kitty her very own cat ladder!?
A quick view of a few ladders over at Amazon :
- PawHut Floor to Ceiling Cat Climbing Tower
- SmartCat Cat Climber
- Aeromark International Armarkat Pet Stairs Ramp
- Excellent ideas here on Pinterest
The other day I was outside calling my young (and endlessly energetic) cat Lucy to come in for the night.
I searched in all her favorite spots:
- the basket we keep outside our door
- under her favorite bush
- behind our house in that little space created by the ladder, I’ve asked my husband to move a thousand times.
I couldn’t find her anywhere… until I found her up in a tree!
Because she loves to climb so much, we decided to make our own cat ladder… a nice little addition to the new home we’re renovating!
There are so many great climbing ideas for your wild and adventures kitties.
So, let’s take a look at some of the best cat ladders (and maybe I can decide which one I want to buy or make!)
Cats And Ladders…
How Do I Know If My Cat Is A Climber?
Before deciding to invest in or build a ladder for your cat…
One very important question that needs addressing is:
Can your cat climb a ladder?
There’s no point spending your hard-earned money and valuable time to assemble something your cat simply won’t use.
Kind of like that cat-tree your cat abandoned when they decided a brown grocery bag was cooler.
As I said, cat’s are born to climb.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve “lost” my cat to find her on top a tree in our yard, or thought she was outside when really she was perched in a cubby of our entertainment center.
Outdoor cats are forever climbing trees, and many are successfully scaling walls and pipes too.
While indoor cats are climbing up on counters, cat trees, and even kitchen cabinets!
Are there any reasons my cat wouldn’t or couldn’t climb a ladder?
- medical conditions such being blind or missing a limb will obviously hinder your cat’s ability to climb
- having weak bones from old age or other medical conditions might also stop your cat from her love of climbing
- declawed cats might have an issue as well
Other than that, most cats will love to climb wherever and whenever they can, so most cats will love any kind of cat “ladder” you get them!
Could be a tree to climb or a staircase or even a tunnel to the ladder.
Another equally important question is: does your cat want to climb a ladder?
Cats can be notoriously stubborn.
They’re not like dogs who, with training, will do whatever you tell them.
Cats are too clever for that and need coaxing to do most things (even if it’s something they love to do like climbing, you may find yourself needing to coax her into it at first).
Offer them a treat and they’ll think about it.
You’ll likely catch them climbing around on their new toy when they think you’re not looking.
Let’s look at how you can get your cat going up and down that ladder like an energetic window cleaner before checking out some of the best ladders for purchase or DIY projects.
Another idea I love for indoor climbing fun for your cats is the Cat Mod system.
I love it because you can really modify it to be a nice looking part of your home and your cats will love it!
What is the Best Idea for a Cat Ladder? (Indoor & Outdoor Use)
From climbing the stairs, to somehow get on top of your fridge (true story, again, our youngest wild child cat Lucy), there are tons of ways you can incorporate climbing into your cat’s life even if she is primarily indoors.
Indoor Cat Ladders For The Stealthy
For indoor cat climbing ladders, I’d have to say that the SmartCat Cat Climber takes the cake for me.
The idea of incorporating the cat stairs into your home as something that looks nice and is functional and fun for them is the dream!
This 82 inch tall set of stairs can be put basically anywhere in your home and is easy to move from room to room if you need to.
Using four extra-wide platforms attached to a natural sisal rope post, this is a great ladder-style toy for scratching, climbing, exercising and taking the occasional nap.
The post attaches with a spring loaded bracket system so it can be easily moved from one room to another.
Although they’re not traditional ladder rungs, the platforms use the same mechanism and could be a way of getting your cat accustomed to a climbing ladder.
On the other hand…
For something as simple as helping your cat onto their favorite spot on your tv stand or helping an elderly cat get onto your bed to sleep at night, consider something like the Aeromark International Armarkat Pet Stairs Ramp.
Three simple steps allow your cat to safely and comfortably get to where they need to be!
If you’re looking for something that is a little bit more fun, something can be a permanent play place for your kitties and something that is geared specifically to cats, I love the idea of Ollieroo Cat Tree Scratcher Post Furniture.
I like that it like a nice piece of cat furniture (not just plain like the ramp or stepping stairs for cats).
Outdoor Cat Ladders For The Adventurous
Let’s say you have a rambunctious and curious kitty like our Lucy and you want to make sure she can get up onto her favorite tree limb or get up to the spot she’s claimed on that old patio set.
For a longer outdoor ladder for your cat, you might consider using an actual ladder (the one you might use to climb up and empty your rain gutters this fall).
Something like this Aluminum Ladder would work perfectly as you can fold and bend it in a few different ways, making it reach wherever she wants to go.
If you’re looking for something smaller to allow your pet to get into spots that aren’t as high as a tree branch, maybe consider something like the PetSTEP Original Folding Pet Ramp, which can also be helpful if you have a cat who loves to travel in the car.
If you’re looking for something a bit bigger and better, you can always bring out your inner DIY Queen and make something like this man did when he actually built a cat ladder on the side of his house.
(Okay, I’ve decided – this is what I’m convincing my husband we have to do!)
Different Kinds of Cat Climber Toys
If your kitty loves to climb, a ladder isn’t the only thing she can use! There are tons of cat toys and products that can give your kitty the height she loves and train her to be a great climber, too!
Consider getting a really tall cat tree that has a ladder on it.
I really love the Activity Climbing Tree Playhouse Condo.
This 67-inch cat condo (that my husband has yet to agree to set in our living room) has ladders, cubbies, more ladders and comfy laying spots at the very top.
It’s definitely my dream cat tree. Yes, I have a dream cat tree (in true crazy cat lady fashion.)
Check out this little video of some cute kitties enjoying this ladder climbing cat tree!
Another option is incorporating a cat climbing area into your decor.
For me, this pick would have to go to the PawHut Floor to Ceiling Cat Climbing Tower.
This one wins my vote for best cat ladder because of the height and the ease it takes to set up and take down if you need to.
This allows your cat to explore the entire vertical landscape of your living room or playroom without taking up much space into your home where you would need to put other furniture.
I love this idea of my cats lurking above us while we watch Stranger Things on Netflix.
In fact, your indoor cat ladder might not even have to have stairs!
If your cat is a tree climber like our Lucy is, something like this cat climber scratching post with perches on each level is for her!
Watch this cat climb up this scratching post tower to get to the perch on top!
The ladder in the video above is only available in the UK.
The DIY Cat Ladder Solution
Here at catveteran.com, we are all about the Do-It-Yourself, if you feel so moved (which I usually do)!
If you’re interested, you can check out some more paw-some cat ladders and climbing toys here!
Just like many of the other projects we have looked at like cat stairs or cat enclosures, a DIY cat ladder can often be more cost effective and allow you to get more creative.
The following instuctables.com site is a good place to start if you want to have a go at building your own cat ladder.
There are also resources like this video below which shows how a DIY outdoor cat ladder could help your cat to reach the higher windows outside your home.
One last thing…
This Cat Ladders website makes custom-made cat ladders to fit your interior (and they are really lovely), so feel free to check that out, too!
This company creates a range of ladders with three to eight steps in a choice of six attractive finishes. The steps are extra wide for your kitty to sit on and are covered with a soft carpet, the color of which you can choose.
Your cat will not only love climbing this ladder but will probably end up sleeping on it too!
If you’re interested, you can check out one of their videos below!
Why Train Your Cat to Use a Ladder?
An old joke in many movies references old ladies who call the fire department because their cat is stuck up a tree.
Many people actually do call the fire department to help get their cat down to safety.
In the state of Washington, where there are many trees over 30 feet tall, a lot of cats like to climb the trees.
Because of this, a unique organization known as Canopy Cat Rescue was created, and they save on average 400 cats a year.
Wouldn’t it be better if your cat could climb down a ladder, instead of you or somebody else having to climb up one?
A ladder on the outside of your house is a safe way for your cat to reach their desired high spots without having to call the fire department to get them down again.
For older cats, much in the same way as pet steps or stairs, a ladder could help them reach their favorite spots (like the bed, a sofa, or a window ledge) – you know, the spots they find it a bit more difficult to jump to.
We’ve noticed this with our eldest cat Tessa.
A rescue cat I’ve had in my life for almost a decade now, we aren’t sure how old Tessa is but I know she’s at least 10 and it shows in the way she moves sometimes.
I know she loves the little empty space we save for her next to our television, but jumping up and down from her spot I can tell gives her a bit of trouble sometimes.
Buying a cat ladder for fun, it’s not so much about teaching your cat to use the ladder, they know how to do that already, but rather motivating them to climb it.
I’ve seen it on the news, a cat gets stuck in a deep hole and when they lower a ladder down so they can go get the cat, only to have the cat quickly run up it.
Fear can be a great motivator, but we don’t want to scare our cats into climbing at home.
We want it to be something they enjoy.
That’s where the treats come in!
Let’s talk logistics!
There are loads of questions about cats, ladders and climbing posts – so let’s get into it!
⚙ How Do I Train My Cat to Climb a Ladder?
When training a cat to do anything, it needs to seem enticing, so here’s how you can do it:
- Putting the ladder up in a safe place of the house and covering it with an old cloth or carpet will make it a more attractive climb to the cat.
- Your cat is more likely to climb something which it can comfortably grip. It may even view it as a new sleeping platform.
- Leaving the ladder out, your cat will become naturally curious and may try to climb it unprompted. Mine definitely would; we can’t even leave the attic ladders down in our household. Otherwise, our cat will be in the attic!
- Letting your cat approach the ladder without prompting makes them more likely to climb it. If they seem hesitant, you might try climbing up and down the ladder yourself because your cat might be interested enough to follow you.
If your cat still hasn’t attempted the climb yet, it’s time to try enticing them.
The simplest way is to climb the ladder and try calling your cats name. If your cat just looks at you and refuses to move, then try putting some treats or toys at the top of the ladder to encourage him.
TIP: If you’re afraid of heights, just put the treats on the highest step you can reach, and then try tapping the step.
⚙ Can Clicker Training Work In Helping My Cat Climb a Ladder?
Clicker training with treats can also encourage your cat to climb.
Here’s how it works…
- Teach your cat to associate the sound of the clicker with a tasty treat, and then lure the cat to the first step of the ladder.
- When your cat puts its paws on the ladder, click and reward them with a treat. Eventually, as your cat learns that they get a reward for stepping on the ladder, you could progress further up the ladder. Baby steps!
- Finally, try helping the cat to climb the ladder. Gently pick them up and manually move your cat’s legs up the ladder one rung at a time. Don’t force the cat, and don’t give up if he should struggle. Just try again another time. Practice makes perfect!
⚙ How Do I Keep My Cats From Climbing on (and wrecking) My Furniture?
While a cat ladder or cat climbing toy is a great idea to help your cat serve those climbing urges – you might still have a problem with your cat climbing on other furniture (or curtains)…and this is a common problem.
Here are some solutions to help redirect your cat’s climbing habits to her own toys, towers, and ladders:
- Clicker training (as mentioned above) can be helpful in redirecting bad behavior in cats.
- Use furniture covers.
- Have specific areas for your pet (like a cat tent, scratching posts, beds, etc)
- Spray calming spray (or use cat-nip oil) in areas you want them to play in (like on their new cat ladder or tower!)
- Be consistent with the rules (if your cat is not allowed on your furniture, don’t allow it “sometimes” because this will confuse them).
⚙ Do Cats Really Like Being up High?
Cats usually love climbing, because they really like being in higher vantage points.
(Towering over us humans, as per their destiny as cats.)
This is interesting…
“Our cats climb for safety and just for the fun of it. They will sprint up and down a tree, or your draperies with the same skill their ancestors used in the forest. A cat’s flexible musculoskeletal system gives them exceptional coordination and balance and enables them to jump up high. Strong muscles in the hindquarters and back enable a cat to leap several times his own length, either horizontally or vertically. A cat’s claws are as important to them for anchoring and leverage as grappling irons and crampons are to rock climber.”
– Pet Assure
⚙ Why Does My Cat Climb Trees? (And Why Can’t She Come Back Down Herself?)
Well, if you notice your cat is climbing trees in your backyard, it could be for two reasons:
- the high vantage point, as we talked about earlier
- to get away from a potential threat
Cats can scale a tree within mere seconds if they feel threatened.
A dog barking, a leaf blowing in her direction or something as simple as a feeling that someone is watching her can make our cat Lucy scale the nearest tree.
Because this is usually a base instinct, you wouldn’t want to punish this behavior (even if it is annoying that your cat may need help down every time she does this).
Instead, consider setting a ladder against the tree she enjoys climbing most and show her that this is a safe way to go up and down.
As for why they aren’t so great at coming down from the trees…
A cat’s retractable claws are curved, and their hind legs are stronger than their front legs. This means that it’s super easy for our girl Lucy to scale a tree in seconds to get away from the toddler who wants to cuddle with her, but that same physiology makes it quite a bit harder for her to come back down on her own.
Which is why cat ladders are important!
When your cat starts climbing ladders, be sure to get a video and share it with us, because who doesn’t love cute cat videos?