Three things you can do when your kitty refuses to use their cat tree, according to an expert

Young gray, silver and white Siberian kitten lying on cat tree
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the TikTok post cited below.

Have you just spent ages researching the perfect cat tree for your kitty, purchasing it and getting it all set up only to find that your beloved bundle of fluff refuses to use it? If so, you're not alone! 

While some of our feline friends will take to the best cat trees like ducks to water, others become highly suspicious of this curious structure that has just appeared in their environment. 

But with cat enrichment being so important for your kitty's mental and physical health (especially if they live solely indoors), it's worth persevering and encouraging your cat to try out their new tree. 

With that in mind, the feline experts over at Tuft + Paw have put together a handy video explaining some simple things you can do to get your cat to love their new tree. 

Whether you've already taken advantage of one of these fantastic Black Friday cat tower deals or you're still on the hunt for the perfect tree, you'll find the below tips useful in helping your kitty get the most out of their new gift. 


♬ Curiosity - Danilo Stankovic

1. Positive reinforcement: "Any kind of language that makes them feel good and isn't putting them down is really great to do when they are interacting with their cat tree," says the team at Tuft + Paw.

So be sure to use plenty of praise to help your fur friend form positive associations with their new tree. 

2. Use treats: "Try exclusively giving them treats when they are interacting with the cat tree and avoid giving them treats in regular scenarios. This will help them associate the cat tree with treats and will make them want to hang around that area more often." 

Our guide to the best cat treats has plenty of tasty tidbits your kitty is sure to love.

3. Play with them: Once again, the Tuft + Paw crew recommend you engage in play sessions exclusively on and around the cat tree until your cat begins to use it willingly on their own. 

"But whatever you do, don't place them on the cat tree or yell at them for not using the cat tree as this will make them associate the cat tree with feeling uncomfortable or doing things they don't necessarily want to do. It may even cause them to associate the cat tree with getting in trouble, which is the last thing we want."

Check out our guide to how to play with a cat where an expert vet shares their top tips for engaging your feline friend if you'd like to incorporate their tree into your play sessions.

And if you're looking for any other products and accessories for your kitty, be sure to take a look at these early Black Friday pet deals and bag yourself a bargain!

Pefilos 60-inch Cat Tree for Large Cats 
Was $150.00, now $79.99 at Walmart

Pefilos 60-inch Cat Tree for Large Cats
Was $150.00, now $79.99 at Walmart
Super cozy and plush, this large cat tree comes with nine sturdy scratching posts as well as a soft basket, perches, and roomy condo.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.