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DIY Cat Climbing Shelves

Posted by Jennifer on June 20th, 2012

Cats love to climb, jump, leap, and perch high up! There are some amazing examples of houses that people have transformed into supreme cat habitats, but even just a few simple ideas can turn your normal apartment or home into an adventure zone to keep your indoor cat happy and entertained. Depending on the layout of your home, wall shelves, either freestanding or attached to walls, are one great way to do this. Cats also like different pathways to move around a room and across a space. If you have multiple cats, these cat highways become even more important, because traffic jams (even just one cat sitting in a doorway) can cause kitty road rage! The first thing you’ll want to do is look around your living space through the eyes of a cat. Then, watch your cat as they move through the space. Do they always go behind that arm chair, and jump up on the couch to walk along the back of it, then jump down? You can expand your kitty highways with scenic stop offs, sometimes by just clearing a shelf and rearranging your existing furniture. Cats need prefer a pathway or stopping point that is at least 7″ wide by 14″ long. Obviously, the bigger your cat, the bigger the space they will need! If you can clear that gap off of your current bookshelf, and move it next to the back of the couch, and put a cat-friendly mat in that space, point it out to your cat and see if they’ll explore their new lookout!

Cats need a nonslip surface to feel comfortable landing without sliding. You can use regular household items like a sticky-rubber-back nonsliding fabric-top place mat, or use clips or velcro to attach sisal mats, regular lace mats, or cut bath mats to size. You can see one great example over at the awesome ModernCat.net which is pictured above,, click the link for more details!

If you decide to make kitty steps going up your wall like they’ve done in the photo, make sure you have used shelves that are wide enough so you can very securely anchor the shelves into wall studs. Even a small cat leaping from one shelf to another will pull wall shelves out of anything less secure, and your cat could get injured.

Other than that, all you need are your imagination – and your power tools – and the ceilings the limit to what you can do with DIY cat shelves!

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