Top positive review
324 people found this helpful
Great for kittens
on May 14, 2009
This climber is great if you live in an apartment and want to give your cats a dual scratching-post/climber without sacrificing space. I have two small kittens (11 weeks old) that took to it in no time. We will come home from work and find both of them on the top platform looking down at us. Note: If you have small kittens, you might want to initially help them figure out how to get down from the lower perches before leaving them alone with it - it is a little easier to get up than down.
The review critiquing the construction is correct. The unit would benefit from a solid back (after I move, I will be looking into a way to create my own backing for the climber), and the platforms, while large enough for two small kittens to sit on with each other, may be too small for large cats. The climber does sway a bit when the kittens initially jump on it - this is not for skittish cats. If you have a cat that would have no issue climbing a tree branch, then they'll have no problem with the climber. Unless you have a very well oiled door, the climber works just as well with an open door as with a closed one.
The actual material (sisal rope) is great for the cats to scratch, although they will not be able to stretch out to their full length to scratch when they get bigger. I would highly recommend the Smart Cat Ultimate Scratching post for that.
Declawed cats may have issues getting up and coming down from the climber, and due to their more precarious situation (missing the last joint of their paws - think of it as loosing your finger from the last joint up), may feel more nervous about the non-rigid nature of the climber.
We got it on super-clearance ($65) from a PetSmart, but, if you are concerned about space issues or appearances (it looks great!), the climber would be worth the Amazon price. If you live in a larger home or have larger or older cats, you might want to look into getting a similar priced cat tree instead.
As it is, I couldn't imagine leaving our kittens at home without this climber to help entertain them. We'll keep using the climber for the rest of our cats hopefully very long lives.
We also have the Smart Cat 3835 Bootsie's Bunk Bed and PlayRoom, and can say that Smart Cat makes very nice looking and (generally) sturdy cat furniture.
Update 2/1/10: My cats are larger (about 1 year old and 11 pounds) and they still love to use the climber. Acclimating cats when they are young might be the trick to this thing. Again, if you don't have a lot of space or are planning on moving a bunch (as we did), it is worth the $85 and better than a larger floor climber. If you hold on to the box, it is a cinch to pack up and move, and sturdy enough to toss all your other belongings on top of.
I never did end up putting a backing on the climber. Some cloth wedged behind it prevented most of the noise issues while allowing the climber to easily be packed and moved. Another issue you might have, however, is if the door itself does not tightly close. If this is the case, then when the cats jump on the climber it can make a racket. Again, some cloth padding to create a soft seal on the door took care of that for us, but again, we don't have to open the door often.
Surprisingly the cats are still using it as a scratching post despite my earlier assumption that it would be too short. While their legs hang off of the climber when they are lounging on the steps, it doesn't bother them. One of our cats has taken to leaping straight up to the third platform.
In summary, if you live in a small place and space is important to you, then this climber is definitely worth 4 stars and $85. If, however, your cat is older, declawed, or overweight then buy something else.