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What Is a Cat Jungle Gym?

By Patti Kate
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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A cat jungle gym is a type of climbing equipment for cats to exercise on. These gyms for active cats range in size and are generally multi-tiered. Cat gyms are sometimes referred to as cat condos or towers, while some styles are sometimes known as cat playgrounds. Jungle gyms for active cats may resemble a tree, and will often include attached toys. A cat jungle gym or playground may also be used as a scratching post, as most are carpeted or include sisal rope.

Cat owners purchase or make their own homemade cat jungle gyms for a few reasons. Climbing equipment for cats is essential, as cats are natural climbers. Therefore, a cat playground will provide the exercise a cat needs, while satisfying its natural instinct to climb or even forage for treats and toys. Toys or treats may be hidden in enclosed alcoves of certain styles of jungle gyms. Many of the cat playgrounds have little cubicle spaces for a cat to hide or nap in.

For napping, a cat jungle gym may have soft sleeping mats for comfort. Not all cat jungle gyms are matted, however. Some are more basic and created for the sole purpose of activity and exercise. It is important, however, for a cat playground or climbing tree to include some type of cushion to cause less impact on joints as the cat lands on the structure. Most of the climbing tree cat gyms are about 5 feet (1.52 meters) to 6 feet (1.82 meters) tall.

Many options and designs are available in a cat jungle gym structure. From the very basic, to the more elaborate and spacious, these products may be purchased at pet supply stores or online. A tree house cat gym is one of the more extravagant designs. This style typically features a tall base with a few platforms, and an enclosed house design at the top of the structure.

A cat jungle gym may also be large enough for several cats to play on at once. These styles are convenient for those who own more than one cat. Some of these styles are created with various tunnels for hiding. Cats living in a multi-cat home often like some solitude and this type of gym generally provides that. Some styles of cat jungle gyms also have a small cat bed attached at either the top or bottom of the structure.

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Discussion Comments
By KoiwiGal — On May 10, 2014

@clintflint - You might be right about the earthquake risk, although I'm sure there are ways to make it safe enough. But I don't think the worries about being able to access your cat would prove true. As long as it's well designed so that the cat can't avoid you, it might actually make it easier to secure, because cats generally feel safer when they are able to get up high.

By clintflint — On May 10, 2014

@pastanaga - My concern with that would be, for starters, what if something happens? What if the cat is scared by a thunder storm or a car backfiring or hurts themselves in some way and can't get back inside? I doubt those tubes would fit a person in to go and get them.

I would worry about that with cat tree furniture and walkways as well. They look nice, but they don't really seem like a safe addition to the home. If there's an earthquake or some other emergency and you need to get hold of your cat quickly, they will only be a hazard and a barrier.

By pastanaga — On May 09, 2014

The best cat jungle gym I've ever seen was one that was built so that it ran all the way around the outside of the building, in an enclosed tube, so that the cats could get some sun and watch the people below without technically leaving the safety of home.

I've seen others that were home made and fairly extensive, but that was the best idea.

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