Furniture for cats is a huge market in the US. With many of America's eighty million cats living exclusively within the safety of the indoors, owners literally furnish them with everything they need for a great feline life.
The term "cat furniture" covers a variety of products, from plush cat beds to sturdy "naked" shelves attached to one's walls. In the middle of this wide spectrum, you can find fairly large constructions, usually several stories high (well, consider that terms in relation to cat height, please). These are known by various names, including cat trees, cat gyms and cat towers. In a category all of its own, one can find the cat house, also known as cat condo.
Cat condos are usually largish furniture, often made of wood. In many instances, they are mounted at the top of cat trees, above ground level. Basically, cat condos are semi-closed mini-spaces, where your cat can enjoy the perceived safety of a small cave.
Many cats find this arrangement extremely appealing and not because of the decor either. You see, our domestic felines retain their wild instincts which send them upwards, towards the safety of a hidden enclosure, preferably up in the tree branches, or, in the case of cat furniture, at the top level of a cat tree.
The common setup of a cat condo simply meets your cat's need for a secret little cave, all its own, where it can feel secure and protected. A good cat condo should meet the following criteria to please most cats:
1. It should be solid and stable - One thing your cat would hate is a wobbly house. This should be a house, not a rocking chair.
2. The internal space should be large enough to allow the cat to comfortably stand inside, turn around and snooze in a variety of positions.
3. Height is a bonus - high above ground feels safer and is usually better. The exception to this rule may be with older cats and those suffering from arthritis. Depending on the cat's condition, you may consider adding pet stairs that lead up to the condo.
4. It should be easy to access and to leave - this is particularly true in multi-cat households, where your cat may need to have clear lines of vision as well as accessible escape routes to deal with an oncoming adversary.
You may note that design and decor are not listed among the criteria for cats. They certainly may be relevant when it comes to the owners. Cat trees and cat houses are where cat furniture designers really go wild. Anything from semi-natural looking trees to medieval castles and Victorian terrace houses - any fantasy can come true, when it comes to feline housing arrangements.
If you're not happy with existing models, why stop there? Some companies offer a unique service where you can design your own cat house from their basic building units, while other artisans will be happy to cooperate with you and work on that one-of-a-kind cat condo of your dreams.
Of course, that also means the sky is the limit in terms of pricing. Expect to pay several dozens of dollars even for the more basic mass-produced models, and hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to the larger or more uniquely designed ones.