We all want to keep our cats happy, but often don’t have the time to give them proper stimulation. A cat playhouse, also referred to as a kitty condo, is the perfect addition to help. Playhouses offer a safe place for cats to play and relax, and ensure that they’re getting their daily dose of exercise and entertainment at home.
But with so many options, you may be wondering which is the best for your cat. To help, we researched hundreds of products to find the 7 best cat playhouses available now. Here’s our list:
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Our Picks for the Best Cat Playhouses
1. Trixie Cat Playhouse and Scratching Post
If you’re looking for a compact playhouse that still packs a number of features, check out the Trixie Cat Playhouse. While it’s suitable for all ages, we 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
- Includes 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/out of the entrance holes; more suitable for smaller cats
2. MidWest Nuvo Cat Playhouse
The MidWest Nuvo Cat Playhouse is a solid choice with multiple features, hiding nooks, and scratching posts. It’s also one of the sturdiest options we reviewed — perfect for multiple cats to play on.
- 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, weighs 55 pounds
- Easy to assemble (10-15 minutes total)
- Depending on size, can handle multiple cats at the same time
- Highly reviewed, with owners saying their cats immediately loved it
- Only comes in one fabric design in a dark blue color
- Excessive scratching of the fur portion can lead to wear over time
3. Bewishome Activity Tower & Playhouse
The Bewishome Activity Tower has it all, 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 multiple cats to play at the same time.
- Multi-tiered playhouse that’s cushioned with plush material
- Sisal covered poles for scratching
- Two different hideaways for cats to lounge
- Two platforms, including a high lookout
- Just under 5 ft tall
- Suitable for all ages
- Made to withstand multiple cats, and can be further stabilized with the included wall strap
- Quick and easy to assemble
- Well cushioned platforms for lounging
- Only available 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, and is topped with a full cushioned “penthouse” level for lounging. The tower can also be 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
- Suitable for both large and small cats
- Easy to assemble
- Includes one year warranty
- Able to be folded up and stored away
- Made 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 deter you. It’s one of the most highly-rated playhouses of any we researched. The house comes with a scratching floor, as well as organic cat nip, to entice your feline to check it out. 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
- Easy to fold and store away
- Highly rated playhouse, with cats loving to play/sleep in it
- Full money back guarantee
- Made of cardboard, so not as durable as other sturdy 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
- Memory foam pads are machine washable
- Looks great and meshes well with most furniture
- Seagrass rope can fray from vigorous scratchers (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 cat playhouse. Its durable material is fully insulated and weatherproof, and can withstand rain and cold. The included heating pad also provides additional warmth inside the house.
- Insulated and waterproof outdoor cat house
- Heating pad is removable and washable
- Two exits with clear door flaps to protect from weather outside
- Dimensions are 4.8 x 14 x 22.6 inches
- Can also provide shelter for cats sleeping in colder parts of the house, such as the garage, porch, barn, or attic
- Tested and certified by Met Labs to US & Canadian safety standards for indoor and outdoor use
- Easy to assemble
- One year limited warranty
- Can use outdoors for most of the year, but not during extremely cold weather. Consider moving the playhouse indoors during sub-zero temperatures.
Buying Guide for Cat Playhouses
Cat playhouses come in multiple shapes and sizes, and can range in cost from DIY to downright opulent. In our guide, we’ll navigate the buying process and provide guidance on topics 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 playhouses provide a spot for felines to climb, rest, and play. While they provide extra stimulation for your cat, they’ll help you as the parent as well.
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. Playhouses are also essential for outdoor cats who need a place to seek cover in the summer and winter months.
Benefits for owners
Not only will a playhouse keep your cat happily occupied, it can also curb destructive behaviors such as scratching carpets and jumping up on furniture. Playhouses offer a variety of scratching options to 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, 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. There are two main things to consider: whether the playhouse will be indoors or outdoors, and whether it will be enclosed or open.
Since most cat playhouses are meant to be used indoors, you can find options to suit any home. Some features of indoor houses include:
- Surfaces made of sisal rope for scratching (a hard natural fiber)
- Multiple levels and tiered perches
- Hanging toys or pom poms
- 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 multiple exits, 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, as cats can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia just like humans.
If your cat playhouse is going to be in a screened-in area — commonly called a “catio” — you may able to use an indoor playhouse.
Some cat playhouses are modeled to resemble human houses and apartments. They offer privacy, and are ideal for cats that like to hide under furniture or escape animals/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. They’re 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, as there are plenty of places to lay with an unimpeded view of the outdoors.
Things to consider when buying a cat playhouse
Here are some things to consider when choosing the right playhouse for your cat or kitten:
- Does your cat want to escape dogs, kids, or animals outside?
- Is your cat climbing on things 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
Older cats can prefer a soft spot for napping in the sun that doesn’t require too much climbing (some playhouses even have ramps!), whereas younger cats will need more stimulation through toys, scratching surfaces, and more. For kittens, search for a playhouse with low-hanging features that they can reach as a baby, and higher levels to occupy them once they get older.
Durability of the playhouse
Inexpensive or DIY playhouses usually aren’t as durable as expensive models. However, both options can be a cat favorite! It’s up to you which you choose — whether buying multiple inexpensive playhouses or investing in something that’s built to last.
Also be sure that your cat playhouse can withstand a vigorous scratcher, multiple cats, or bad weather if it’s outdoors. 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 dangerous for your kitty.
Cat playhouses without a wide, stable base can tip over when jumped on, or be pulled over accidentally. Some playhouses have 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 are generally made of wood, plastic, or metal. If you’re interested in an environmentally-friendly material, look for playhouses that use sustainable or reclaimed wood, recycled plastic, or bamboo.
There are stylish cat playhouses available, but they can be expensive. “Cat furniture” is a term used for sophisticated playhouses, but can also mean furniture that’s also used by cats. For example, an end table that contains a sleeping nook, or a cabinet that hides a litter box.
Size and space
Cats can be territorial. If you have more than one cat, choose a playhouse with multiple spots to perch or nap. Also make sure there are multiple 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 your space and use that to inform the size of playhouse you choose. Lastly, take note of surrounding furniture that a cat could jump on to from the playhouse.
As mentioned above, if you have a playful cat, you’ll want a playhouse that has enough features to keep them stimulated. Look for tunnels, hanging toys, scratching areas, and plenty of space to climb. These are your best options to keep your cat interested for long periods of time.
For sleepy cats, choose a playhouse with places to nap, like a covered level, hammock, or carpeted landing. Covered levels are also good for shy cats or those that like to hide from children and other pets.
Type of scratcher
If you want the playhouse to be an approved scratching surface, pay attention to the wrong items your cat scratches — carpets, drapes, couches, wood, etc.
Cats that scratch on carpets will likely prefer a carpeted surface. Those that enjoy couches can have fun with sisal rope. The list goes on. Use your best judgement for what surface you think your cat would enjoy scratching on.
Cost of cat playhouses
There are cat playhouses to satisfy any budget. Depending on the features, you should be able to find a quality, durable playhouse for $50 to $100. Custom, luxury, and modern style playhouses can range from several hundred to even thousands of dollars.
If you’re handy, there are also blueprints to build your own playhouse.
Where to put cat playhouses
If your playhouse is staying indoors, choose a spot near the window so your cats can watch any happenings outside. Placing the playhouse by a window also ensures direct sunlight, which most cats love. Want to up their entertainment? Consider adding a bird feeder near the window for hours of extra stimulation.
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 blows hot or cold air.
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.
For outdoor houses, 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.
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 as long as it’s suitable for their interests – such as napping, scratching, climbing, and 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’re looking for will determine how big it needs to be.
If you have multiple cats, consider a larger model that offers ample space for each cat in the case 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?
Playhouses can deter your cat from scratching on furniture, but not fully prevent it. 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 approved surfaces.
How long does a cat playhouse last?
A quality playhouse should last for years. Inexpensive ones may last for a shorter period of time. It also depends on how much your cats use it and if they’re 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’re 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 for 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 it 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’s possible that one has taken control and is scaring the others off from playing.
Can I put my playhouse outside?
Only put a playhouse outside if it’s made for the outdoors. These are made from durable and weatherproof materials that can withstand sun, rain, cold, etc. Indoor playhouses can be ruined if left outside.
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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