Cat wall shelves and perches are all the rage these days, and while you can absolutely purchase a quality design online or instore, there’s something rather satisfying about showing your feline friend some love by making your own.
There are a lot of strange things cats do that are actually quite normal and trying to scale your bookcase, refrigerator and walls like they’re attempting to conquer Mount Everest definitely fits into that category. But there’s a reason cats love high places as much as they do.
Naturally hardwired to want to climb and seek out elevated resting spots, high places allow cats to keep an eye out for any predators that might be headed in their direction while also enabling them to exercise their own predatory instincts by spotting prey that might make a tasty meal.
And while feeding your kitty the best dry cat food and giving them a safe place to call home likely means they don’t have to worry about food or safety, a shelf or perch will enable them to keep watch on what’s going on in their environment. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite designs below. Plus, we spoke to Dr. Joanna Woodnutt to get her thoughts on why cats love high places and the benefits of building a cat shelf.
Dr Joanna Woodnutt qualified as a veterinarian from the University of Nottingham where she then went on to practice companion animal medicine in the Midlands. She really took to the consulting side of things and helping clients with medical problems such as dermatology, behaviour and nutrition - anything that involved helping clients understand their pets better.
DIY cat wall shelves and perches
1. DIY wall mounted cat shelves
If you’re pretty good at working out your own measurements for things and don’t need too much detailed instruction, this video by The Saunders Pack provides easy to follow visuals that walk you through the basic process of creating your own set of wall mounted cat shelves.
Cut the boards to different sizes to add some variety or attach some toys to make these shelves even more enticing.
2. Climbing wall for cats
These cat shelves courtesy of Vivianne Yi Wei are absolutely ingenious, not just because there are so many different types of shelves and angles involved in the design but also because they’re a great way of making the most of small spaces.
There’s also the option of attaching a large scratching post to one of the shelves, so you can kill two birds with one stone. This one will probably take you a bit of time, but the instructions are easy to follow and the finished product makes it well worth the labor of love.
3. DIY hammock shelves for cats
We have a feeling this one will prove pretty popular with the feline in your life thanks to its hammock design and cloth covers that will leave your kitty feeling like they’re floating on a cloud.
The instructions for this purrfect project by Aaron Fixes Stuff are nice and detailed and the materials are minimal and inexpensive, so these shelves are ideal if you’re on a budget and looking for a design that will blend seamlessly into your home
4. Cat ledge
If you’re like us and you’re not hugely confident when it comes to DIY, you’ll love this tutorial from Pet Meadow that’s been targeted at beginners.
Alongside the video there is a full set of detailed step-by-step instructions as well as a material list, so you’ll have everything you need to create and mount this shelf for your feline friend. The ledge is supported by a carpeted scratching post, so this design is perfect if you’re looking to incorporate two pieces of cat kit into one.
5. IKEA budget cat wall shelves
Another wonderfully affordable option is to use some cheap and cheerful materials from IKEA to construct your wall shelves. This idea from Liyana DIY won’t take you long to mount and your cats will love not just sleeping on them but running up and down them as well.
6. Martha Stewart’s cat window perch
Not all of us want a whole series of shelves lining our walls, so if you’re in that basket and would prefer to opt for something a little simpler, then this cat window perch courtesy of Martha Stewart is a real winner.
It still provides your feline friend with a place to perch and gives them a decent vantage point from which to survey their kingdom, but it’s more subtle and less intrusive than a full set of shelves, so you’ll find it blends into your home in a much more seamless way.
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FAQs: Cat wall shelves and perches
Why do cats love high places?
“Cats love high places because it helps them feel safe,” explains Dr. Joanna Woodnutt. “Although they are predators, cats are small enough to be prey as well, which means they have instincts to run and hide at any sign of trouble. Climbing high is one way to get out of danger, and it gives you a good vantage point to watch what’s going on below. Many cats seem to find being high relaxing, especially if they’re prone to anxiety.”
What are the benefits of cat shelves?
“Cat shelves are a great way to offer your cat somewhere safe to hide and survey their territory,” says Woodnutt. “Having a safe hiding place like this can reduce anxiety in cats and therefore reduce behaviors like unwanted spraying or scratching furniture. Cats will also often climb on cat shelves for fun, meaning they’re a great way to encourage exercise, lose weight, and strengthen muscle.”
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.
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