The History of Cat Trees and Scratchers: A Journey Through Time

The History of Cat Trees and Scratchers: A Journey Through Time


The cat tree and scratcher, now ubiquitous in homes with feline companions, have a history that intertwines with the domestication of the cat itself. From rudimentary beginnings to the sophisticated and varied models available today, the evolution of cat trees and scratchers mirrors changes in human society, attitudes towards pet care, and advancements in material science. This comprehensive exploration traces the journey of cat trees and scratchers through time, highlighting their development and significance in the lives of cats and their human companions.

The Origins and Evolution

Ancient and Medieval Times

  • Early Domestication: As cats were domesticated in ancient societies like Egypt, they were revered and provided with comfortable living conditions, although specific structures like cat trees were not yet in existence.
  • Medieval Attitudes: During medieval times in Europe, cats were often misunderstood and not given the same level of care as in other societies.

The Industrial Revolution and Beyond

  • Shift in Pet Perception: The Industrial Revolution brought a change in how pets were viewed, with a growing middle class beginning to see cats as companions rather than just rodent controllers.
  • Early Cat Furniture: Basic forms of cat furniture began to appear, primarily as simple bedding or resting places.

The 20th Century: A Turning Point

The Mid-1900s

  • Rise of Pet-Friendly Attitudes: As cats became more popular as indoor pets, the need for cat-specific furniture became more apparent.
  • First Commercial Cat Trees: The mid-20th century saw the introduction of the first commercial cat trees. These were basic structures, often made from wood and carpet scraps.

Late 20th Century Innovations

  • Diversification: The 1970s and 1980s saw a diversification in design, with manufacturers experimenting with different shapes, sizes, and materials.
  • Introduction of Scratching Posts: Cat scratchers, initially standalone pieces, began to be integrated into cat trees, offering a solution to unwanted scratching behavior.

The 21st Century: Modernization and Specialization

Technological Advancements

  • Improved Materials: The use of more durable and cat-friendly materials like sisal and corrugated cardboard became more widespread.
  • Design Innovations: Modern cat trees and scratchers became more aesthetically pleasing, designed to fit seamlessly into home decor.

Specialized Products

  • Customization: Custom-made cat trees and scratchers started to cater to specific needs, such as for multi-cat households or cats with special needs.
  • Themed and Luxury Models: The market expanded to include themed designs, luxury models, and eco-friendly options.

The Role of Cat Trees and Scratchers in Modern Cat Care

Behavior and Health

  • Understanding Cat Behavior: Increased understanding of feline behavior emphasized the importance of cat trees and scratchers for mental and physical well-being.
  • Vet and Behaviorist Recommendations: Experts in feline behavior and health began to recommend these products as essential for indoor cats.

The Human-Cat Bond

  • A Sign of Changing Relationships: The evolution of cat furniture reflects the deepening bond between humans and their feline pets.
  • Enhancing the Human-Cat Relationship: Providing designated spaces for play, exercise, and rest has become a recognized aspect of responsible and loving cat care.


The history of cat trees and scratchers is a testament to the evolving relationship between humans and cats. From rudimentary structures to the sophisticated and specialized products of today, these items have grown to become essential components of feline care. They represent not just a response to the practical needs of indoor cats but also an acknowledgment of cats' complex psychological needs and their cherished status as family members.

In summary, the development of cat trees and scratchers over time mirrors changes in societal attitudes towards cats, advancements in understanding feline behavior, and innovations in design and materials. These products are more than just furniture; they symbolize the love, care, and respect that we hold for our feline companions, contributing significantly to their quality of life. Discover Australia's most affordable range of premium cat trees and towers at where we bring joy to your feline friends with Australia's best cat trees and towers!

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