9 DIY Wall Climbing Shelves For Cats & How To Make Them

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Cat lovers and DIY enthusiasts, unite! This article is all about combining your passions and crafting a feline-friendly paradise right in your home with DIY wall climbing shelves for cats. Cats love to climb, leap, and survey their surroundings from up high, and what better way to indulge your furry friend’s natural instincts than with your own handmade creation? We’ll be your guides on this thrilling adventure, offering detailed instructions, design ideas, and savvy tips to help you build safe, engaging, and aesthetically pleasing climbing shelves for your beloved pets. So, grab your toolbox, call over your curious kitty, and let’s get started on creating a fun, vertical playground that will have your feline climbing the walls—quite literally!

Are cat shelves a good idea?

Yes, they are, and for several reasons including:

  1. Encourages Natural Behavior: Cats are natural climbers and like high vantage points. They often feel safer and more secure when they’re in a high place where they can observe their surroundings. Shelves allow cats to satisfy this natural urge in a safe and controlled environment.
  2. Provides Exercise: Climbing and jumping from shelf to shelf can provide a form of physical exercise for your cat, which is especially important if your cat is an indoor cat with limited opportunities for other forms of physical activity.
  3. Saves Space: Unlike large cat trees, shelves have a smaller footprint and can be installed on any wall. This can be a good solution for smaller living spaces.
  4. Can Reduce Conflict: If you have multiple cats, having different levels of shelves can reduce conflicts because each cat can have its own territory.
  5. Adds Interest to Indoor Environment: An indoor environment can become boring for a cat. Adding shelves to walls provides variety and stimulation.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your DIY Cat Shelves

Materials:

  • Wooden boards
  • Plywood
  • Wall anchors 
  • Screws 
  • Brackets
  • Sisal rope
  • Hammocks
  • Carpet squares
  • Cat toys 
  • Fabric 
  • Wood glue

Tools:

  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Circular saw
  • Stud finder
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors

Note: Most of these items can be conveniently found at Home Depot or your local hardware store.

Locate Your Studs

Use a stud finder to locate wall studs to securely fasten your shelf carrier. 

Cut Your Boards

With your circular saw, carefully cut your wooden boards and plywood into the desired sizes. Or, you can probably get them cut down to size for you at the hardware store.

Secure Your Brackets

Drill the brackets into the wall studs, using screws and wall anchors for added strength.

Attach Your Boards

Screw the wooden boards onto the brackets with wood screws, ensuring the top of the shelves is securely fastened. 

Add the Extras

For extra traction, attach carpet squares onto the wooden platforms using a staple gun and scissors for trimming. Wrap sisal rope around some boards for a scratch-friendly surface. You can get really creative.

Now that we’ve established the basics, let’s dive into unique cat wall shelf designs suitable for different spaces. You can either make them yourself or just buy them!

Best Cat Wall Climbing Shelves

Multi-Level Platforms

cat wall climbing shelves outside with 3 cats on them

A blend of shelves at various heights creates a dynamic playground. I love how this person created wall shelves for cats outside. You can’t forget about the outdoor cats!

Corner Nook Shelves

Ideal for tight spaces, these shelves utilize corner areas effectively.

Sisal Rope Bridge Shelf

Connect two shelves with a sisal rope bridge for adventurous kitties.

Cat Hammock Heaven

a large cat relaxing in a cat hammock, wall shelves for cats, diy wall shelves for cats

Incorporate a series of hammocks for cats who love lounging in high places. It’s great when they’re feeling lazy and they’re done playing.

Staircase to the Sky

Simulate a staircase with alternating left and right platforms, ideal for older cats.

Window Watcher Shelf

cat sleeping in a window hammock

Place a shelf near a window, perfect for birds watching and sunbathing. I bought a cat hammock that has suction cups holding it onto the window. She loved it and would take cat naps in the sun everyday.

Toy-Teasing Shelves

Hang cat toys from the underside of the shelves to add some playtime fun.

Ceiling-High Climbing Wall

9 DIY Wall Climbing Shelves For Cats & How To Make Them, diy wall climbing shelves for cats
Image credit goes to Cats Without Jobs

Use your entire wall space and reach for the ceiling for a cat-climbing wall that’s both fun and engaging. Cats Without Jobs has the best tutorial on creating a cat climbing wall that can go all the way to the ceiling. Your cats will love running up and down that thing.

Royal Feline Garden

You can get very extensive layouts for large or multiple cats, complete with sisal rope-wrapped posts, holes to drop out of, and a variety of ledges. Why stop at one shelf, when you can have the entire wall! And I love how they get to feel like they’re in a jungle or garden with the addition of plants!

Whether you have a playful kitten or a dignified older cat, these DIY cat wall shelves are a brilliant way to keep your kitty engaged while beautifying your space. You’re now equipped with the knowledge and inspiration to create a customized cat wall playground. Remember to secure all elements safely to the wall, ensuring your cat’s playtime is not only enjoyable but also safe. Get creative, have fun, and watch as your feline friend explores their new vertical territory! 

Are cat shelves a good idea?

Yes, they are, and for several reasons including:

  1. Encourages Natural Behavior: Cats are natural climbers and like high vantage points. They often feel safer and more secure when they’re in a high place where they can observe their surroundings. Shelves allow cats to satisfy this natural urge in a safe and controlled environment.
  2. Provides Exercise: Climbing and jumping from shelf to shelf can provide a form of physical exercise for your cat, which is especially important if your cat is an indoor cat with limited opportunities for other forms of physical activity.
  3. Saves Space: Unlike large cat trees, shelves have a smaller footprint and can be installed on any wall. This can be a good solution for smaller living spaces.
  4. Can Reduce Conflict: If you have multiple cats, having different levels of shelves can reduce conflicts because each cat can have its own territory.
  5. Adds Interest to Indoor Environment: An indoor environment can become boring for a cat. Adding shelves to walls provides variety and stimulation.

Can you use floating shelves for cats?

Yes, you can absolutely use floating shelves for cats! However, keep the following in mind when using floating shelves for your cats:

1. Sturdiness: Ensure the shelves are installed securely. They should be able to bear the weight of your cat, especially when they jump on or off. The shelves should not wobble or shake. 

2. Spacing: The shelves should be spaced appropriately. Your cat should be able to easily jump from one to another without any risk of injury. 

3. Surface: The surface of the shelves should be cat-friendly. Consider adding a carpet or mat for extra grip and comfort. This will also help to prevent your cat from slipping. 

4. Location: Install the shelves away from breakable items and other hazards. The path from one shelf to another should be clear of obstacles. 

5. Comfort: Adding a soft cushion or blanket can make the shelf more comfortable for your cat, encouraging them to use it.

6. Accessibility: Make sure your cat can easily access the first shelf in the series. This might mean having a lower shelf, a piece of furniture your cat can jump from, or even a ramp in some cases.

Remember to secure the shelves firmly to the wall, and ensure they’re spaced correctly for your cat’s jumping ability. Always prioritize your cat’s safety and comfort when designing and constructing cat shelves.

What can I use for cat shelves?

diy cat wall climbing shelves

1. Wooden Shelves: These are sturdy, easy to fix onto walls, and can be painted or varnished to match your decor. Make sure to sand the edges to prevent any potential injuries.

2. Old Furniture: You can repurpose old pieces of furniture such as bookshelves, dressers, or wall cabinets into climbing shelves.

3. Floating Shelves: These have a clean, modern look and can be purchased in a variety of sizes.

4. Plastic Storage Boxes: Fix them onto the wall with the opening facing out to create a cubby or nap space.

5. Cat Perches or Beds: These can be added to shelves for a comfortable lounging area.

Remember to consider your cat’s age, agility, and health when designing your setup. Young and healthy cats will be more adept at high jumps and navigating tight spots, while older or less healthy cats may require more gradual inclines and larger surfaces.

Can cats climb drywall?

cat climbing the wall

Cats can technically climb drywall, but it’s not advisable to let them do so for several reasons:

1. Damage to the Wall: Cats have sharp claws and could damage the drywall surface, causing holes or scratches that would require repair. 

2. Injury to the Cat: Drywall is not a particularly sturdy or safe material for a cat to climb. If a cat tried to climb and the drywall gave way, the cat could get injured. Additionally, if the cat pulls at the drywall and manages to ingest some of the material, it could lead to health problems.

3. Damage to the Cat’s Claws: Drywall is a hard material that could damage a cat’s claws if they try to climb it.

If you want to provide climbing opportunities for your cat, stick to creating a cat-friendly environment with cat trees, cat shelves, or even wall units specifically designed for them. This will be much safer and more enjoyable for your cat, and it will also protect your home from damage.

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