Budget, space & your cat's desire to climb & play will be the main factors when deciding if a Hicat® is the right thing for you, your home & most importantly, your cat - the Thumbs-Up section has some amazing feedback on how much cats love our products but even after you've decided to make a purchase there's still lots to consider.
We've done our best to cover everything that we think will help customers with their Hicat® purchase & compiled this information across the Overview, Customer Notes & FAQs sections along with detailed Product Pages.
This makes for a lot of reading so we've also put together the following Buying Guide to help fine tune decision making & share our recommendations when it comes to specifying your Hicat®.
We've tested various cat furniture & toys but as far as our cats are concerned nothing comes close to a Hicat® in terms of all round enjoyment & fun.
But there's also the question of your cat's health so, unless you're lucky enough to live in an environment that has natural or man-made opportunities for exercise & climbing, a Hicat® is a superb substitute.
Climbing comes instinctively to cats & our units give them that opportunity - climbing will give them their regular daily exercise, keep them in good shape & help burn off any spare energy whilst playing.
Will Our Cat Climb?
As noted in our FAQs section, your cat will climb based on our experience & customer feedback - we've only ever heard of a couple of instances where cats didn't want to climb.
A simple way of testing your cat's climbing instinct is to roll up a rug, hold it upright & see if your cat takes off.
The scale of our units, surface area & tree-like climbing experience are intrinsic parts of our Hicat® design but cat behaviourists will also tell you how important vertical territory is, especially in a multi-cat household - having perching, sleeping & playing opportunities at different levels not only broadens your cat's environment vertically but also fulfils its important & often overlooked territorial needs.
Tomcat & Fatcat units have Access Hole & Shelf options offering built-in cat-friendly multi-levels, while Polecat & Bobcat units can be set up next to furniture & room features to exploit untapped vertical territory helping to maximise your cat's indoor landscape & give it a whole new world to explore.
Value For Money
We believe our products are unique when it comes to climbing & given the materials & workmanship that go in to them we also think they are excellent value for money considering that they are made-to-measure.
Other cat furniture & trees simply don't offer the climbing-playing-perching-scratching that our products have built in to them - a typical Fatcat offers unmatched floor-to-ceiling climbing & with 8m2 of surface area it's 4-5 times the scale of comparable cat perching products.
We know there is a massive range of budget & appreciation of what is spent on cats by their owners but we can't stress enough how important we think it is to give your cat the opportunity to climb indoors so if you're not ready to make a purchase then you may want to consider making a DIY version of our HIcat® for your cat.
We've already pointed to our Thumbs-Up section to share our customers' & their cats' thoughts but we also conducted a customer questionnaire in 2015 to get some product feedback, the most pleasing of which was to hear that 80% reported that their cat climbs their Hicat® on a daily basis.
Playing & perching came out as big factors in how our units are being used especially when cat owners joined in with interactive play & coaxing.
Cats seemed to be split on sleeping in our units when there were other day bed & basket options available but scratching came out high even when there were other options.
The other thing that we were delighted to hear was that our units are definitely standing the test of time - a couple of customers commented that they have owned their units for 6+ years & they're still going strong.
Positioning Your Hicat®
There's no obvious best place to site your Hicat® but we think they work really well in the room you spend most of your time in - interaction & playing are a big part of your cat's motivation so being close to you is important, especially if your cat is your only pet.
You do need to think about how your Hicat® is positioned in relation to building features like windows, beams, high level cills, even suspended lights as your cat will want to take that leap into places that they can't normally get to. You should also be aware that your cat may also want to take a short cut when climbing down from their unit so jumping on to chairs, furniture & even you, will be an option at some point or another.
The obvious thing to remember when purchasing a Polecat is that it's basically an up & down climber so the more time you can spend with your cat while it plays on it the better.
Polecat can be made as a floor-to-ceiling or bespoke wall mounted unit - it's also commonly used as a cat ladder providing a way of reaching high perches on top of furniture, beams & shelves to provide that extra playing space along with vertical territory that's so important to cats.
We have an array of toys that we've used to coax & play with our cats on Polecat & if your cat likes throwing & chase play purchasing a Hicatch Toy when you order (or even after from our Accessories page) will help keep them climbing.
Installing a Polecat is usually a one person job & it comes with all of the necessary fixings & bits - all you will need is a step ladder & drill.
Tomcat suits small to medium size cats (up to 4-5kg) & will allow them to curl up inside the unit as well as play, perch & climb - if your cat is on the larger side & you think they will want to sleep in the unit then you will be better off choosing a Fatcat.
Tomcat can be specified as a floor-to-ceiling or bespoke wall mounted unit with full or climb-through shelves below each Access Hole.
Apart from the difference in diameter between Tomcat & Fatcat units, the climbing experience is very similar inside & out as these units have the same size Access Holes & internal climb-through shelf apertures - the external diameter of Access Holes & climb through apertures are 180mm.
Adding a climb-through C2 Crescent Shelf to a Tomcat 2 to give your cat a perch is a must as far as our cats are concerned - being climb-through it also means your cat can climb up to this shelf from inside.
If you have young children it's also good to have a shelf installed below the second Access Hole - this gives a child-friendly height hole for your children to play with your cat & the Crescent Shelf option at this level will again allow your cat to climb up to this hole from the inside the unit.
Tomcat 3 & Tomcat 4 come with a standard F3 Full Shelf & we think this is best left as a Full Shelf as opposed to climb-through as it is a good height for your cat to interact with you then curl up & sleep.
We suggest adding a climb-through C4 Crescent Shelf to the Tomcat 4 to allow your cat to admire the view once they've made it to the top & also give them the opportunity to climb up & back down through the unit.
Adding one or two Peep Holes to the second & third Access Holes is also a good move as again this is a comfortable height for you & your cats to play.
The standard Black Twist Pile finish on the inside makes for a really cosy & soft interior but if you want an even softer perch for your cat then you can add Pad cushions to shelves & the base.
In our experience cats tend to do most of their climbing on the outside of Tomcat units but if you think your cat will also want to spend time running up & down the inside you may want to consider finishing the internal surfaces in Coir as a bespoke finish - Coir is a bit easier to grip than Twist Pile so it makes for a better climbing surface but you can still leave the shelves & base as Twist Pile for a more comfortable place to perch & sleep on.
Tomcat installation can be a one person job but it's easier with two - like Polecat it comes with all of the necessary fixings & bits - all you will need is a step ladder & drill.
Fatcat is the unit of choice for bigger cats (5kg+) that want to curl up & sleep in their Hicat® - it can be specified as a floor-to-ceiling, bespoke wall mounted or freestanding unit.
Again, finish options are the same as Tomcat so the only other thing to note is that Fatcat units can weigh up to 50kg so installation is definitely a two person job.
Bobcat makes for a great day bed & petting platform on its own but as noted above it also complements taller units when used as a landing pad when jumping down.
Adding a Peep hole to encourage play & a Fat Pad cushion finishes off the unit nicely.
A popular bespoke adaption is increasing the height to 1000mm as this will allow two Access Holes to be added along with a climb-through W2 Worm Hole Shelf & Worm Hole Bird Nest Top.
There's no installation with these podium units but you will need to add some sand bags as ballast - a couple of 5kg silver (silica) sand bags should do the job.
Combining Hicat® units works really well in multi-cat households & can be set up in lots of different ways but the more obvious combos are multiple Polecat units, Polecat matched with a Tomcat or Fatcat & Bobcat-Polecat-Tomcat combos.
Adding a Polecat to a Tomcat or Fatcat makes for some great unit-to-unit jumping & also gives your cats an alternative way to climb down from the top Access Hole on a Tomcat 4 or Fatcat 4. The Bobcat can also be useful as a platform to land on from the higher Access Holes as well as being a great place to sleep in & on.
Again, we have some amazing feedback from our customers in the Thumbs-Up section across all of our units in various combinations & specification so as we say at the beginning of this guide, the above are some observations on how our cats have been enjoying their Hicat® units over the years.
Wall Mounted Units
If you are planning on moving in the near future rather than purchase a floor-to-ceiling Hicat® you may want to consider a bespoke wall mounted unit.
Choosing a wall mounted unit means that you'll never need to worry about your Hicat® not fitting into your new home. Also, it gives you the flexibility to move it around your existing home as you won't need to worry about differing ceiling heights.
Because your cat will end up being perched on top of the unit it's best to have a way for them to jump down on to an adjacent piece of furniture so please bear this in mind when positioning your Hicat®.
A Bobcat is always a great addition to a wall mounted Polecat & Tomcat because it can be used as a landing platform - if you're looking at a Fatcat then specifying a Worm Hole Bird Nest on top of the unit means they have a way of climbing down inside the unit.
As an option to a wall mounted Fatcat we also make a bespoke Fatcat in a freestanding option - units can be specified up to 1830mm high & as Fatcat 2, Fatcat 3 or Fatcat 4 noting that the upper Access Holes on Fatcat 4 are re-positioned to fit the shorter than standard unit height.
If you are interested in a freestanding unit then you should definitely checkout our Catapilla™ range of cat furniture with a twist.
On A Budget?
If you want to give your cats the opportunity to climb & have that all important high perch & sleeping but money's tight then a bespoke Polecat with integrated wall mounted shelf or shorter wall mounted bespoke Tomcat 1 or Fatcat 1 with Bird Nest is a relatively low cost option.
Also, remember if you don't mind rolling your sleeves up you can also make your own DIY Polecat.
Upside Down Units
Customers who think that the lower internal climbing & Access Holes on our units are going to be wasted on their cats opt for a two or three Access Hole unit & install it upside-down so that the climbing & perching is focused around the top of the unit - adding a climb-through shelf below the top Access Hole is recommended & you can also re-position the third Access Hole on a Tomcat 3 or Fatcat 3 in between the first & second Access Holes to complete the climbing experience.
The only downside of installing your Hicat® upside down is that you will not be able to adjust the feet from inside the unit with the hex key that is supplied with the Hicat® - instead you will need to level out the unit by adjusting the feet by hand from underneath.
Our Cats' Set-Up
Our four cats have had their fair share of Hicat® units but the current set-up seems to be their favourite to date.
Centre stage is a bespoke Wall Mounted Fatcat 4 finished in bespoke Tibet Wool - it's specified with climb-through Worm Hole shelves & Bird Nest along with Peep Holes & provides them with a large play & exercise area. The Bird Nest top gives them a great high level perch & is also used to jump across to our kitchen wall cupboards.
As mentioned above & in the Customer Notes section we think it's important to give cats options for scratching so we also have a collection of Scraaaatch™ units around our home - we have a Stool with special shaggy pile carpet top, a standard Deck & a special Deck finished in a sisal-coir mix.