Traditionally cat owners provided their cats with cat trees and scratching posts. A new trend is to install actual shelves and perches on your walls to create enriching spaces.
Cats and Vertical Spaces
There are many reasons why providing vertical spaces for your cat can improve their life:
- Cats enjoy finding elevated areas to rest. For some cats, it can make them feel safer, especially if you live in a home with multiple cats or dogs.
- Cats also inherently seek to climb, which is likely due to their predatory nature.
- Cats can develop behavior problems such as aggression, obsessive grooming and anxiety without proper enrichment. Indoor cats can easily become bored and providing them a place to move about and have some fun is a great way for them to have physical and mental exercise. Placing some shelves and perches near a window gives them a chance to watch the world outside and provides mental stimulation.
DIY Cat Shelves and Perches
When adding cat shelves to your home, you have the option of making them yourself. Depending on how your home layout, you can create different configurations that make the best use of your space.
You can install floating shelves in a series of steps going up a wall. The "steps" should be set up high enough to encourage your cat to jump but not so high to make it difficult. Once you reach the top shelf, you can make it longer to allow the cat to walk along it or deeper to give your cat room to stretch out. You can carpet the steps, stain them or paint them to match the décor.
Creating a walkway along a wall that is open or covered lets your cat move high up around your home and is a good option if you don't have a lot of open wall space. The walkways can sit higher up along the wall and don't need to use as much of the space below where you move about.
Another option is to create shelves that are covered along the top with areas for the cat to move in and out to other shelves. Or form a box shape missing the left or right-side panel. Cats can move about up and down the shelves, but also take a break and nap in one of the boxed in areas. You can even put a cat bed in the boxes for them to rest on, but make sure it's secured firmly inside the box.
A fun DIY option is to find circular shapes and re-purpose them to make cozy places for your cat to climb into and snooze. Take old round cat scratching posts or trees and cutting them in half to form semi circles and tack on new carpet or affix sturdy bedding material to them. Install them on the wall as shelves that your cat will enjoy lounging in. You can also use sturdy baskets, casks, or even hang canvas between two poles in the wall to create cat hammocks.
You can use almost any kind of re-purposed materials in your home to create functional cat perches that are also decorative and add charm to your home. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. Your local animal shelter can also yield some good ideas as many have catteries with vertical installations to keep their cats from becoming stressed.
Purchase Cat Shelves and Perches
If you are not the handy type, there's no reason your cat can't enjoy vertical shelving. You can purchase pre-made cat shelves that simply need installing. Some options are:
- Cat Cloud Shelves retail for around $100 and are functional with a modern, stylish look for your home.
- CatsPlay Furniture sells wall climbing packages including some that come with fake plants installed so your cat can pretend he's a jungle cat in the trees. Their wide selection of cat shelf options ranges from around $40 to just under $600.
- Cat Wall Shelves has canvas, carpeted and wooden shelves, including some options for your cat to walk outside (pricing depends on system you select). Their site also includes information on installation, incorporating décor such as wall stencils and decals with your cat shelves, and an extensive photo gallery.
- Hauspanther has different unique designs of shelves, including this whimsical set of luxury cat perches starting around $110.
- Etsy is also a fantastic source of pre-made cat shelves and perches as well as ideas to browse for the creative DIY person.
Fun and Functional Shelves
If you want to provide an enriching atmosphere for your feline, installing cat shelves and perches is a great choice. You can make them fun for your cat while decorating them to fit your home perfectly.