PUTTING IT TOGETHERLet's start with why this is 2 stars instead of 4-5. The CRACK. I was almost done assembling this beast, putting a screw into the top platform. The hole was already shoddy, with wood that should have been trimmed off where the top of the screw will rest. It easily came off, and the screw hole seemed good otherwise. On my last twist of that foresaken allen wrench the wood cracked and split apart. If this was ANYWHERE ELSE, the whole tree would be need to be binned. Needless to say, it makes me concerned about the rest of the wood. Are there more cracks waiting to happen? That alone made me wish I'd ordered The Refined Feline tree instead. Now I will in the future.The assembly is annoying until all of the parts are aligned together, but I assembled this alone and I'm small. You really do want a level surface to assemble this on. The directions aren't perfect - the diagrams often don't accurately show the holes on the parts you're putting together. That threw me off at the start. Do step 2 BEFORE step 1, the side panels will help align the frames for assembly.The spare screws and dowels were well appreciatedIt took me about 3 hours - but again, I'm small and I put it together by myself. I went slow and steady, and I was tired. It probably could have taken significantly less time - if you have a buddy, this will go MUCH quicker and easier.Some of the screw holes aren't perfectly alligned, such as slightly to the left or right, up or down - but not enough to impact performace and not too badly to complicate putting it together. It was just something I noticed. The dowel holes didn't seem to suffer from this.PACKAGINGSeemed good, a styrofoam lining all around and padding inbetween pieces as needed. The box is was as minimal as possible, without being too little. Durable, too. Thankfully I had no delivery issues - some heavier trees can face postal problems with lazy delivery people.It does smell like paint, so you may want to let it air out or put it together with the door open. It quickly dissipates.SIZE STABILITYI have bigger cats, they're only 10 13 lbs, but one is pure lean muscle and both are too large to be comfortable on most trees - usually their lower half hangs off platforms. All of the provided measurements seem accurate. This tree is spacious for them, but a bit wobbly. No more so than the cheap carpeted one I'm replacing, and not enough to worry me. . .if it wasn't for there IS NO non-skid material on the base - it's just painted wood. No rubber feet or texture to keep it from moving around on tile or hardwood. It's a cheap fix, but it feels like it should have been included for $200.DURABILITYPart of the frame split during assembly, it wobbles a bit, and it lacks features of other similar trees I was looking at. The carpet on the perches ARE NOT REMOVABLE. You will be stuck vacuuming or otherwise cleaning them. The top perch is NOT padded like every other single perch it - but it is bordered. I was going to leave it off until I saw that.The carpet seems durable, and my felines love the feel of it for lounging and scratching. I wish the carpet was removable and easily replaced like it is on other trees, but I was prepared to make my own or make other trees' replacements work.SUMMARYOverall, I wanted to love this tree, and I wanted to give it higher marks. But it's just overall lacking compared to the other hardwood metal trees I was looking at. I'll be buying one of those, as I should have to begin with.I really liked the design of this tree overall. I have asthma and severe allergies, now one of my super senior girls seems to have both as well, thus fully carpeted trees are a no go now. Shame that this tree was so close, but so far from being amazing. Damn shoddy screw hole.
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]