Grey cat sitting on top of cat tree

Why pet owners are switching to online vet care with Dutch

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  • Fast access to Licensed Vets over video

  • Unlimited video visits and follow-ups

A cat tree can be a great way to provide your cat with mental stimulation and relaxation. Most indoor cats enjoy hanging out on cat trees, but this can sometimes vary depending on the breed.

Cat trees usually consist of multiple levels, making them a perfect climbing option for your feline friend. This can help prevent them from climbing on shelves or other places you’d rather they didn’t climb on. Cat trees can also offer your cat a safe place to sleep or simply escape the hustle and bustle of the house.

Like any pet product, your cat’s cat tree needs to be cleaned from time to time. Debris from dirty paws, hair from shedding or hairballs, and even bits of food can get inside the fibers of your kitty’s tree, as well as around the posts. Sometimes your cat might vomit or have an accident in the house, so it's important to clean the tree every so often to help remove bacteria and get rid of parasites. It can also reduce any allergens that may affect your cat, your family members, and yourself.

Cleaning your cat’s tree can also discourage your cat from territorial urine marking. If you notice that your cat seems to be avoiding the cat tree all of a sudden (or avoiding a certain part of it), it might be time to give it a clean.

So how do you clean a cat tree? Just follow these easy steps!

1. Disassemble Cat Tree

First, disassemble the cat tree. Follow manufacturer’s instructions on how to correctly take apart your specific tree, as the disassembly process varies based on the structure of each one.

2. Remove Cat Hair

Next, it’s time to remove as much cat hair as possible. You can start by vacuuming the cat tree, ideally with a vacuum cleaner that’s designed to clean up animal hair.

After preliminary vacuum cleaning, use a deshedding tool or brush to remove embedded hair. Brush in different directions to completely remove the hair. Once you’re satisfied with the brushing process, run a vacuum over the cat tree once more. It might be easier to use a hand vacuum in order to reach all the nooks and crannies of the cat tree. These vacuums tend to be smaller and easier to maneuver.

Whichever type of vacuum cleaner you use, make sure to take time to remove as much cat hair as possible, especially if it’s been a while since you cleaned the tree.

3. Apply Disinfectant

Disinfect the cat tree. There are several options to do this:

  • You can use a store-bought disinfectant spray (just make sure it’s pet-safe)
  • Make your own simple disinfectant with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water. Pour into a spray bottle for ease of use.
  • Dilute cat shampoo with a little water (this is a naturally cat-safe option).
  • Diluted hydrogen peroxide - 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 6 parts water or a pet-friendly disinfectant.

Spray your desired disinfectant all over the cat tree and let it sit for a few minutes. An optional final step in the disinfection process is to use cleaning wipes to scrub certain areas of the tree. This can be useful if you notice that the tree has visible dirt or stains.

4. Steam Clean (Optional)

If you want to be extra thorough, then steam cleaning with water can be an effective method. Although it’s not necessary, sometimes steam cleaning is a good idea, for example, if you are cleaning a used cat tree. It can help to further reduce bacteria, allergens, and odor. Some vacuum cleaners have a steam cleaning function or you can buy a separate steam cleaner. Many are specifically designed to remove fur from knitted or fabric surfaces.

5. Air Dry

Let the cat tree air dry completely before allowing your cat to use it again. Damp fabric can cause mold or bacteria, which may get into your cat's fur if they climb on the tree when it’s still damp.

6. Reassemble Cat Tree

Once you are satisfied with the cleaning process and it’s completely dry, reassemble the cat tree. Again, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to correctly put it back together. Ensure that the tree is stable and secure before allowing your cat back on it.


How often should I clean my cat’s cat tree?

A general rule of thumb is to remove fur on a weekly basis and clean the cat tree thoroughly about once per month. However, if you notice stains or a bad smell, clean it as needed. Additionally, if your cat is sick or has been exposed to bacteria or parasites, give their cat tree a thorough cleaning to prevent infection and reinfection.

How do you clean cat urine and poop from a cat tree?

The quicker you clean cat urine or feces off the tree, the easier it will be to remove. Firstly, blot the urine with a towel. Continue until no moisture remains. Spray the area with a lot of water or a mild solution of vinegar and water. Blot again. If odor persists, you can try using odor removing chemicals. You can often find these cleaning sprays at pet stores, but most regular odor cleaners will also do the trick. An enzymatic cleaner can help to get rid of deep-seated odors.

To clean cat poop off a cat tree, try to remove most of it with a paper towel. This will be easiest if it has hardened. Next, apply soap and water and use a small brush with stiff bristles to scrub the area. A deodorizing spray is a good idea, too.

If your cat has diarrhea, try to clean as much as possible with paper towels, then go at it with detergent and water. Rinse and blot. Follow up with a neutralizing odor-eliminator.

How should I clean a cat tree from fleas?

Ideally, you should use a pet-safe flea treatment spray on the cat tree. However, most general disinfectants contain antibacterial properties that will also kill harmful microorganisms, such as fleas and bacteria. Steam cleaning is always an option, especially if you are concerned about fleas spreading to other areas of the house. All pets in the household should be regularly given a flea prevention treatment. It’s also a good idea to apply a flea prevention solution to furniture, pet bedding, and pet toys. If your cat gets fleas, apply flea treatment immediately.

How should I clean a cat tree from ringworm?

In the case of ringworm, the best solution is to throw away the cat tree and replace it. However, you can also disinfect it thoroughly using antibacterial cleaning solutions.

Young Asian girl holding cat toy in front of cat sitting in cat tree

Final Notes

Cat trees can be a great addition to your cat’s lifestyle. It’s a spot where they can relax, scratch their claws, climb, play, and sleep. Just like any pet product in your home, a cat tree requires fairly regular cleaning, particularly if your cat has an accident or parasites, like fleas. Disinfecting is a vital part of effectively cleaning your cat’s tree. A pet hair vacuum cleaner can also make the cleaning process easier.

If you want to learn more about how to clean your cat tree or if you are concerned about your cat’s behavior, go to to speak to one of our highly qualified vets. Dutch offers convenient and efficient veterinary care through online calls. Our vets will be happy to advise you and answer any questions. Get in touch today.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is an online veterinary pet telehealth service, created by pet parents and board-certified veterinary specialists. We use a science-backed approach to provide pets relief for their everyday physical and behavioral health issues. Dutch connects you with licensed veterinarians over video chat and messaging to help you get care for your dog or cat quickly wherever you are — without the stress or expense of a vet visit. We also partner with pharmacies who can deliver prescription medication (in applicable states only) and over-the-counter treatments directly to your door. Dutch isn’t a veterinary practice or pharmacy, but a company that helps facilitate these services for pet parents to make veterinary care more accessible to all.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When booking a video call with a vet, you'll be asked a few questions about your pet’s health issue. Depending on the issue, you may also be asked to fill out a longer questionnaire about their symptoms and share photographs of them so our veterinarians can better understand what’s going on. You’ll then pick an appointment time that works best for you.

During your video call, one of our licensed veterinarians will talk to you about the symptoms your pet is experiencing, ask you questions, review your pet’s medical history if you’ve provided it, and answer any questions you have. The vet will ask to see your pet and their environment. And they may ask you to perform some simple checks on them if needed.

After your video call, the vet will send you a message with a custom treatment plan to help your pet feel better, including a link to buy any recommended prescription or over-the-counter medications. Place your order and we’ll ship it free.

How much will it cost for Dutch to treat my pet?

The Dutch membership starts at $7/mo for unlimited access to the vet. No more long waits for appointments or surprise bills.

In addition to the base membership plan, our veterinarians may also recommend additional medication (Rx and/or OTC) that you will have the option of adding to your plan at an additional cost.