Is it Okay to Buy a Used Cat Tree?
Purchasing supplies for your cat to live a happy and healthy cat life can quickly become expensive. From large props for your cats to play with to treats of all different kinds, every little purchase can quickly add up into a much more expensive investment. With that being said, if you notice that there are some secondhand pet supplies for sale, you may want to consider purchasing them. After all, it would be the same amount of enjoyment for your cat at a fraction of the price for you, right? The truth is that secondhand pet products are one of the few items in the world that are better not purchased secondhand for a multitude of reasons.
If you are still keen on purchasing secondhand pet supplies, such as a cat tree, there are a few problems that you are going to need to be aware of. Once you know what the problems are, and what could result from those problems, if you are still willing to take on the risk, there are a few things that you can do to minimize the damage to your house. Above all, you are going to want to make sure that you do not put so much effort into the secondhand cat tree that you do not want to throw it out if your cat simply isn’t compatible with it.
The Problem with Secondhand Pet Supplies
For most people, there is seemingly no problem with secondhand pet supplies. While there may be some questions about why the person is selling what seems to be perfectly good supplies, such as a cat tree, it usually means that you can get the pet furniture at a discount. The problem is one that people, by nature, simply cannot detect. To put things simply: cats have very sensitive noses. If a cat tree has already been used by another cat, one that your cat does not know, it is going to have that strange cat’s scent all over it.
To a cat, having an item with a stranger cat’s scent on it can seem threatening. It can seem as if there is a part of your cat’s home that is not “claimed” by the cat yet, which will lead the cat to try and claim the territory. What makes matters worse is that when cats claim and mark territory, they urinate on it. If you choose to purchase a secondhand cat tree, you should expect to be cleaning up a fair amount of cat urine from it as your cat tries desperately to make the new belonging smell like itself.
It can also be a major source of stress for your cat. The smell of another cat may also carry communication signals from that other cat that will not apply to your cat. To a cat, this can be incredibly confusing and stressful. In a sense, introducing a used cat tree into your cat’s life can be the equivalent of bringing a rival cat home, at least in your cat’s eyes.
A second problem that can come with purchasing used cat products is that those products may carry diseases that your cat is susceptible to. Pathogens can easily survive for weeks, months, and have even been recorded surviving for years on some surfaces, including the surfaces of a cat tree. If the previous cat had an immunity or was simply ill with whatever virus or infection it was carrying, it could have easily transferred that to the cat tree. This means that when you take the cat tree home, you are unwittingly spreading those pathogens to your house and risking getting your cat sick. This is a particularly worrisome problem if you have a cat who is already susceptible to illnesses.
More often than not, you are going to be better off purchasing a brand-new cat tree for your cat and avoiding this potential situation entirely. The amount of money that you would save on the secondhand object would immediately be spent cleaning up after your stressed cat’s mess and urine. In fact, your cat may mark its territory so much on the used cat tree that it may render the entire tree unusable or unsuitable for your home life because of the smell, meaning that you went through the trouble of getting it just for nothing.
Purchasing brand-new cat products, especially ones where cats regularly leave their scent on like cat trees, is always going to be the better option in the long run than purchasing the less expensive secondhand option.
Doing What You Can to Remedy the Situation
If you are in a situation where you have no other choice but to use a used piece of pet equipment for your cat, you are going to want to do what you can to remove the previous cat’s smell from the tree, as well as make sure that the tree has been fully cleaned. You can start out by wiping down the entire cat tree in disinfectant wipes or using a disinfectant spray to clean it all up. You should try and find a mix of a cat-safe disinfectant spray, but also one that has a bit of a strong smell to it so that you can do whatever is possible to block out the scent of previous cats on the cat tree. You will want to apply this kind of disinfectant heavily in areas where cats tend to leave their scent the most. Depending on the age of the used cat tree, you will be able to determine where these areas are based on the amount of wear and tear the cat tree has.
The full disinfectant process can take a few hours to complete, especially if you want to leave the cat tree out to air dry. With the combination of disinfectant and making sure that your cat cannot smell any other cat that previously used the tree, alongside airing the tree out, you can do everything that you are able to do to keep the cat tree as neutral as possible. This will greatly increase the chances of you being able to work with your cat with this tree, hopefully turning it into a less expensive piece of pet equipment in the long run.