We all want to keep our cats happy and healthy but don’t necessarily have the time to make sure they are adequately stimulated throughout the day and staying out of trouble. If that’s the case, a cat playhouse, also referred to as a kitty condo, may be the perfect addition to your home. Playhouses offer a safe place for cats to play and relax and can ensure that they are getting their daily dose of exercise and entertainment.
Our Picks for the Best Cat Playhouses
1. MidWest Nuvo Cat Playhouse
The MidWest Nuvo Cat Playhouse is a solid choice with multiple playing features, hiding nooks, and scratching posts. It’s also one of the most sturdy options we reviewed, while still being easy to assemble in 10 minutes.
- Multi-tiered playhouse, with two level cubby hole and hiding nook
- Sisal wrapped support beams for scratching, and faux fur on the base and perches
- Multiple features including flexible arms and dangling balls
- High perch with a lookout
- 61.5 inches tall (about 5’2”)
- Sturdy construction, weighing in at 55 pounds
- Easy to assemble (most have said 10-15 minutes total)
- Depending on their size, can handle multiple cats at the same time
- Highly reviewed, with owners responding that their cats immediately loved it
- Reasonable price for the size of the playhouse
- Only comes in one fabric design, and dark blue color
- Excessive scratching of the fur portion can lead to wear over time
2. Trixie Cat Playhouse and Scratching Post
If you’re looking for a compact playhouse that takes up less space, but still packs a number of play and scratching features, check out the Trixie Cat Playhouse and Scratching Post. While this playhouse is suitable for all ages, we’d recommend buying this for small to medium sized cats only, given the size of the holes.
- Fur wrapped playhouse with 12 different “peek-a-boo” holes
- Sisal wrapped rope for scratching
- Dangling pom pom ball for playing
- Compact playhouse with dimensions of 18 x 27 x 26 inches
- Comes with a one year warranty
- Suitable for all ages
- Well priced; one of the most affordable options on our list
- Durable and sturdy
- Large cats may have trouble getting in and out of the entrance holes, more suitable for smaller cats
3. Bewishome Activity Tower & Playhouse
The Bewishome Activity Tower has it all for your cat, including two hideaways, two platforms, a hammock, sisal rope, and dangling play toys. It also comes with a wall strap that can be used to reinforce the tower for many cats to play at the same time.
- Multi-tiered playhouse, cushioned and covered in plush material
- Sisal covered vertical poles for scratching
- Two different hideaways for cats to lounge
- Two platforms, including a high cushioned lookout
- Just under 5 ft tall
- Suitable for all types and ages
- Made to withstand multiple cats, and can be further stabilized with an included wall strap
- Quick and easy to assemble
- Well cushioned platforms for lounging
- Only comes in light grey and dark grey
- Hammock is smaller than it appears, and may not be suitable for larger cats
4. MidWest Curious Cat Cube
The MidWest Curious Cat Cube is the perfect playhouse for those looking for an easy to assemble, low-profile option. This three story cube has two different hideaways that can fit larger cats, topped with a full cushioned “penthouse” level for lounging. Better yet, the tower can be easily folded and stored away if needed.
- Three-tiered playhouse, with two hideaways and a cushioned top
- Brown faux suede blends in easily with most home decor
- Comes with sisal scratching pad
- Suitable for multiple cats
- Dimensions are 14.6 x 14.72 x 30.39 inches
- Fits both large and small cats
- Very easy assembly, basically just unfold
- Includes one year warranty
- Able to folded up and stored away easily
- Manufactured in the USA
- Not as many features and levels as other options
5. ASPCA Cat House & Scratcher
Don’t let the fact that the ASPCA Cat House & Scratcher is made of cardboard fool you. It’s one of the most highly rated playhouses, with cats loving to play and sleep inside of it. The house comes with a scratching floor as well as organic cat nip to help entice your feline to check it out. The best part: it’s also the most affordable option on our list.
- Cardboard cat house with a scratching board interior
- Includes organic catnip
- Dimensions are 19.5 x 14 x 11 inches
- Most affordable option on our list
- Easily foldable to be stored away when not in use
- One of the most highly reviewed playhouses, with cats loving to play/sleep in it
- Full money back guarantee
- Made of cardboard, so not nearly as durable as other permanent options. However, is priced appropriately given materials.
6. Vesper Cat Playhouse
The most stylish of the cat playhouses on our list is the Vesper Cat Playhouse. This tower contains a large cubed den with multiple exits, as well as seagrass scratching columns, and memory foam cushions.
- Well designed “cat furniture” with multiple features
- Seagrass columns for scratching
- Cubed den with multiple exits
- Dangling pom pom balls for playing
- Memory foam cat bed cushioning
- Dimensions are 21.9 x 22.1 x 32.1 inches
- Available in two finishes (oak and walnut laminate)
- Memory foam pads are machine washable
- Aesthetically pleasing – meshes well with most furniture
- Seagrass rope can come apart from vigorous scratchers. Of note: replacement parts can be ordered from the manufacturer
7. K&H Outdoor Heated Cat House
The K&H Heated Cat House is the top outdoor choice for a cat playhouse. The durable material is fully insulated and weatherproof, meaning it can withstand rain and cold. The included heating pad provides additional warmth inside the house for your cat.
- Insulated and waterproof outdoor cat house
- Included heating pad is removable and washable
- Two exits with clear door flaps to protect from the weather outside
- Dimensions are 4.8 x 14 x 22.6 inches
- While the house is made to withstand the outdoors, can also be used to provide extra shelter for cats sleeping in colder parts of the house, such as a garage, porch, barn, or attic
- Tested and certified by Met Labs to US & Canadian safety standards for both indoor and outdoor use.
- Easy to assemble
- One year limited warranty
- Some owners have reported that they prefer to use this outdoors for most of the year, but not during extremely cold weather, as the heating pad does not get hot enough for sub-zero temperatures.
Buying Guide for Cat Playhouses
Cat playhouses come in many different shapes and sizes and range in cost from DIY to downright opulent, so there is certainly one to suit you and your cat’s needs. Below, you’ll find guidance on things to consider when purchasing a cat playhouse, such as:
- Indoor or outdoor playhouse
- Enclosed or open
- Age of your cat(s)
- Materials and appearance
- Size of playhouse
- Type of scratcher
- Where to put your new playhouse
Why buy a cat playhouse?
Cat and kitten playhouses provide a spot for felines to climb, rest and play, and the benefits for you and your cat are plenty.
Benefits for cats
Whether your cat is indoors or outdoors, they require enrichment and activity to stay happy. Cat playhouses give kitties endless stimulation when outfitted with toys, scratching posts and perches. Playhouses also provide a safe haven for cats to escape other pets, the vacuum, children or outdoor predators when they feel threatened or need some space. Playhouses are essential for outdoor cats who may need a place to seek cover in the summer and winter months.
Benefits for owners
Not only will a playhouse keep your cat(s) happily occupied, it can help curb destructive behavior such as scratching carpets and jumping up on furniture. Playhouses offer a wide variety of scratching options that will save your curtains, furniture and rugs from being destroyed. They also allow cats to play on their own, which means they won’t always come to you for attention and stimulation.
Additionally, by choosing a vertical playhouse model that will appeal to a cat’s natural interest in height, you’ll open up floor space previously taken up by cat tunnels and toys.
Types of cat playhouses
Cat playhouses come in a myriad of shapes and sizes. One important thing to consider is whether the playhouse will be indoors or outdoors and enclosed or open.
Since most cat playhouses are meant to be used indoors, you can find a plethora of them in varying sizes and designs. From a low-to-the-ground house or floor-to-ceiling jungle gym, many indoor playhouses feature scratching surfaces made of sisal rope (a hard natural fiber) or cardboard and are covered in carpet or fabric. Additional features can include multiple levels, tunnels, hanging toys, tiered perches, hammocks and covered and uncovered areas, sometimes referred to as apartments.
In order to withstand the elements, outdoor playhouses are typically made from wood and weatherproof materials. They may also have more than one exit so that if a cat is trapped inside by another animal they can still escape. Some outdoor playhouses have insulation to keep cats from getting too cold in the winter. Just like humans, cats can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia.
If your cat playhouse is going to be in a screened-in area — commonly called a “catio” — you may not need as durable a structure and could utilize an indoor playhouse.
Some cat playhouses are modeled to resemble human houses and apartments. They offer mostly enclosed spaces and are ideal for cats who need a private space, like to hide under furniture or need to escape animals or people. Many outdoor playhouses are enclosed to better shield cats from the elements and offer a hiding spot when threatened.
Open playhouses — commonly called cat trees — have landings and uncovered areas for cats to play or sleep. These are ideal for cats who enjoy climbing and typically feature multiple scratching areas made of rope or cardboard.
Open playhouses are also good if your cat enjoys watching birds and animals out the window as there are plenty of places to lay with an unimpeded view of the outdoors. Some options include an enclosed cubby for cats to hide or sleep in, as well as ramps or ladders.
Things to consider when buying a cat playhouse
Whether you’re looking for a highly accessorized or utilitarian playhouse, here are some things to consider when choosing the right one for your cat or kitten.
- Does your cat want to escape dogs, kids on the floor, animals outside?
- Is your cat climbing on everything it shouldn’t be?
- Are you trying to deter bad behavior?
- Does your cat love to play?
- Is your cat a frequent napper?
Age of your cat
What is the age of your cat? Older cats may prefer a soft spot for napping in the sun that doesn’t require too much climbing (some playhouses even have ramps!), whereas younger, playful cats will need something that holds their attention with toys, scratching surfaces, multiple tiers and more. If it’s a kitten you’re looking to appease, look for a playhouse with low-hanging features they can reach as a baby with higher levels to occupy them once they get bigger.
Durability of the playhouse
Naturally, an inexpensive or DIY cat playhouse may not hold up as well as a more expensive model. And it’s up to you, whether you’d rather re-purchase a less expensive playhouse or invest in something that is built to last.
Be sure that a cat playhouse will withstand a vigorous scratcher, multiple cats or inclement weather if it’s going outdoors. Additionally, confirm all elements are tightly secured and the playhouse sits on a stable base. If something is ripped, torn or pulled apart, it could be a danger to your cat, the same if it is able to be tipped over easily.
Cat playhouses without a wide, stable base can tip over when jumped on or be pulled over accidentally. Some playhouses come with a strap that allows them to be secured to the wall so that if it tips it won’t fall completely over.
Materials and appearance
Cat playhouses can be made of wood, plastic, and metal. If you’re interested in an environmentally-friendly material, look for playhouses that use sustainable or reclaimed wood, recycled plastic and metal or bamboo. Additionally, choose a playhouse that uses cardboard and rope instead of carpet.
There are more stylish, modern cat playhouses available, but they can be quite expensive. Cat furniture is a term used for sophisticated playhouses, but can also mean furniture for your home that is also used by cats. For example, an end table that contains a place for cats to sleep or a cabinet that hides the litter box.
Size and space
Cats can be territorial. If you have more than one cat, choose a playhouse with more than one spot to perch or nap. You want to have an extra open space in case one cat overtakes a level. If your cats are playful, make sure there are a couple areas with toys and scratching posts in case one kitty hogs a specific toy. If your cat climbs on everything, get a tall playhouse with several levels for them to explore.
Measure the dimensions of the space you want to put your cat playhouse and use that to inform the size of house you choose. There are many different sizes of cat playhouses — tall or short, wide or narrow, lots of places for cats to sit, hanging toys or scratching posts — that will fit almost any space.
Take note of surrounding items that a cat could jump onto from the cat playhouse. Playhouses offer an ideal jumping-off point for cats to get atop other pieces of furniture.
As mentioned above, if you have an inquisitive, playful cat, you’ll want a cat playhouse that has enough features to keep them stimulated. A playhouse with tunnels, hanging toys, scratching areas and plenty of space to climb, will be the best bet to keep cats interested beyond the first few weeks.
If you have a sleepy feline, choose a playhouse with several places to nap, like a covered level, a hammock or nest or a carpeted landing. Covered levels are also good for cats who are shy or like to hideout from children and other pets.
Type of scratcher
If you want your playhouse to represent an approved scratching surface, pay attention to the wrong items your cat normally scratches — carpets, drapes, couches or wood — and how (vertically or horizontally) — to figure out the best scratching surfaces for your cat playhouse.
Cats that scratch on carpets will prefer a carpeted surface. Cats that scratch on couches might enjoy sisal rope. If your cat hangs on the drapes, they would likely prefer a vertical post to scratch. If it’s a wood floor, cats may like a horizontal, cardboard surface.
Cost of cat playhouses
There are cat playhouses to satisfy any budget. If you’re handy, there are plans and blueprints available for building your own cat playhouse. If you decide to purchase one, you should be able to find a quality, durable, medium-sized playhouse for $50 to $100. Custom, luxury and modern style cat playhouses can range from several hundred to thousands of dollars.
Where to put cat playhouses
If your cat playhouse is staying indoors, ideally, choose a spot near a window so that your cats can watch happenings outside. Up the viewing pleasure by adding a bird feeder near the window for hours of entertainment. Placing the playhouse by a window also ensures some sunlight, which is a hit with cats.
If there isn’t a window available, try putting the house in a quiet corner or low-traffic area. Avoid placing the playhouse by furniture that the cat can jump onto or by a vent that will be blowing hot or cold air on the cat.
If you’re hoping to eliminate scratching on furniture, carpets or drapes, set up the playhouse next to the item that has been scratched. You can always move it once the cat takes to scratching on the playhouse.
If your playhouse is going outdoors, choose a spot close to your home or garage. In windy or extreme weather, having a building nearby can help keep the playhouse grounded and able to quickly be moved inside. The house or garage can also provide shade on a hot summer day.
If your cat needs some incentive to check out the new playhouse, try putting catnip, treats or toys on the structure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should buy a cat playhouse?
Anyone who wants to keep their cat happy and healthy by providing a safe place to play and relax. Also, any owners who are looking to reduce scratching on items in the house, such as carpets and furniture.
What kind of cats like playhouses?
Most cats will enjoy a playhouse if you choose one suitable for their age, size and interests – for example, napping, scratching, climbing, playing.
How big are cat playhouses?
Cat playhouses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Where you plan to use it, the size of your cat, and features you are looking for including multiple levels, scratching posts, nests, etc., will determine how big of a playhouse you need.
If you have multiple cats that will be using the playhouse, you might consider a bigger model that offers ample space for each cat in the event of a territory dispute.
How much does it cost to purchase a cat playhouse?
Cat playhouses start around $20 and go up from there. Price depends on the size and type of playhouse you’re buying, but a quality, medium-sized playhouse can be found for $50 to $100.
Will a playhouse keep my cat from scratching furniture?
It can help deter your cat from scratching furniture. Pay attention to the type of things your cat scratches and make sure the playhouse offers a similar texture. For example, a cat that scratches on the sides of a couch might be drawn to a vertical, sisal rope scratching post. Place the playhouse near the item the cat is scratching to encourage using the approved surfaces.
How long does a cat playhouse last?
A quality playhouse should last for years. Inexpensive cat playhouses may last for a shorter period of time. The lifetime of a playhouse can also depend on how much your cats use it and if they are forceful scratchers.
Can I clean my cat’s playhouse?
Indoor playhouses can be wiped with a cloth or spot cleaned, depending on the type of materials they are made of. Outdoor playhouses may be able to be hosed off if made of wood, plastic or another weatherproofed surface. Check the specific care instructions in the assembly instructions of the playhouse you purchase.
My cat doesn’t like the playhouse. What should I do?
You can help cats warm up to a new playhouse by sprinkling catnip or hiding treats on some of the surfaces. Don’t force your cat to scratch or play on the house, instead let them use the playhouse when they feel ready.
If you have multiple cats, check to see if one cat is keeping others from playing. Cats can be territorial and it may be that one has taken control of the playhouse and is scaring the others off from playing.
Can I put my playhouse outside?
Only put the cat playhouse outside if it is made for the outdoors. Outdoor playhouses are made from durable and weatherproof materials that keep them from breaking down when exposed to sun, rain, etc. Indoor playhouses can be ruined if left outside. When purchasing a cat playhouse, be sure to check whether the house is indoor or outdoor.
Fetch by WebMD: https://pets.webmd.com/cats/features/outdoor-cat-risks#2
National Wildlife Federation: https://blog.nwf.org/2017/09/11-tips-to-keep-your-indoor-cat-happy/
Humane Society of the United States: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/10-tips-keep-your-cat-happy-indoors
Cornell University Veterinary Program: https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/feline-behavior-problems-destructive-behavior
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