Siiri Lepola

Siiri Lepola Design Portfolio - project Modules


Redesigning a cat-climbing tree

Summer 2016

a Balance of functionality & Aesthetics

I chose cat-climbing tree as the topic of my Bachelor thesis. I wanted to examine a cat-climbing tree and its suitability for the apartment. The aim was to find out the qualities and features of a desirable cat-climbing tree. It should serve both the cat and the owner, offering enough stimuli for the cat without forgetting the aesthetic aspect of a climbing tree, making it a part of the overall interior of the apartment.

My background research consisted of research on cat behaviour, Scandinavian interior style, trend of living and exploring the existing products on the market.

Online survey

For the method of my research I chose to compile an online survey for cat owners. My aim was to examine customer experiences with their cat-climbing trees. The survey was a big hit. The total amount of answers was over 2,000 and the data was collected in 24 hours.

Based on the results, respondents were of the opinion that the cat climbing trees seen on the market are overpriced considering the quality of the product. What became clear, is that they are hoping for better quality products. They are longing to see long lasting, aesthetic and stable cat-climbing trees on the market with a service that enables them to change and replace damaged parts.


“I don’t own a cat climbing tree because the scratching surfaces are always too short. My cat likes to scratch with its full length.” – Respondent nr.421
“I wish for customization, like a series of products which I could put together and build my own climbing tree based on the things I need.” – Respondent nr.2326
“I hope versatility to the markets.” – Respondent nr.775

The concept

I started developing my concept based on the information I gained from the background research, from my survey study and from my own experience with cats. According to Finnish building regulations, the room height should be at least 2.40 m. I took this into account, when choosing the size of my climbing tree. Many of the respondents for my survey hoped to have a taller climbing tree with a possibility to modify the assembly.

3 Module sizes + extra features


I wanted to offer another function for the cat-climbing product, connecting it better with the surrounding apartment and this way create something that would serve the owner as well. Most of the respondents for my survey answered that the place for a climbing tree is usually a living room. This is why my concept is a combination of a bookshelf and a cat-climbing tree.


My concept is adjustable. A cat-climbing product that is possible to assemble in both: on a bigger scale or in a compact size for smaller apartments. The concept consists of three different sizes of modules. The owner can choose desired amount of modules and create their own combination, just for their needs.