2. SOLID WOOD~NATURAL WOOD. Quality cat furniture is made with natural wood products that are good for building furniture. These products are real wood plywood and kiln dried and milled lumber like 2x4's and 4x4's. Avoid cat condos made with cardboard, treated wood, landscape posts and manufactured wood like OSB (engineered strand board), MDF or particle board. Cardboard is cheap and lightweight. Treated wood is toxic. Landscape posts are not suitable for building because they are have immature growth rings that warp, crack and twist within months (after you've paid and left positive feedback). Manufactured wood products are also toxic because they are pressed with formaldahyde which give off volatile organic compounds in the form of fumes. While these products may suitable for exteriors on residential homes (which are then sandwiched by siding, insulation and drywall), they have no place for pet furniture. If anyone tells you otherwise, ask them if they'd use OSB on the interior of their homes instead of drywall? Or better yet, ask a local builder why they don't build houses this way. Unfortunately, the reason these manufactured products are used in a lot of pet furniture is because they are up to 300% cheaper than real wood products. That makes for a nice fat profit margin at the expense of your kitty's long-term health. Ouch!
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3. THICK, UNOILED SISAL ROPE. Veterinarians have long recommended sisal rope for the health of your kitty's claws. You'll usually find this rope wrapped around the posts of most cat furniture. There are two types of sisal rope available: oiled and unoiled. Of course, oiled sisal is toxic so avoid it. This usually isn't a problem as almost all cat furniture you'll find is made with unoiled sisal rope--but awareness is important. More important, however, is the thickness of the sisal rope. Quality cat furniture uses 3/8" sisal rope. Cheap cat furniture uses 1/4" rope, which wears out much faster. The difference in cost to the manufacturer between the two sizes is approximately 300%. Again, it is obvious why some manufacturers use 1/4" sisal rope instead of 3/8" sisal rope.
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