Carpet-Covered Cat Climbing Shelves!

For today’s Caturday post I’m going to share my favorite cat-related project that I’ve ever done. And by “I’ve ever done” I mean “I ever had the brilliant idea for and then made my Dad fly out from CA to come actually do the work for”!

Caturday @ Practically Functional:

In fairness to me, my parents were already out here visiting, and Dad was just as excited about this project as I was. 🙂

Make your own cat playground out of a wooden board, carpet scraps, L brackets, and an empty wall!

Cat shelves! Shelves. For cats!

We discovered fairly quickly after adopting our kitties that they love to climb. The love being high up and looking down at whatever else is going on. And unfortunately, the tallest things we had in the apartment were things like the fridge, the kitchen cabinets, an open set of pantry shelves, etc. All places where the cats weren’t really allowed to go, but who were we kidding, they were just gonna go there anyway!

So I decided the cats needed a place of their own to climb in, on, and around.

Unfortunately, our apartment at the time (pictured above) was only 400 sq. ft. so we didn’t have any floor space for a pre-made cat tree to sit on. But we did have a ton of blank wall space, so I came up with my own cat playground idea.

When we moved to our new apartment we just took the shelves down and moved them with us. And now they’re installed in the new apartment and the cats still love them!

Make your own cat playground out of a wooden board, carpet scraps, L brackets, and an empty wall!

I don’t have any pictures of the process or anything because this project is about a year older than my blog and I didn’t think to take pictures. But luckily, it’s really simple.

Here’s what we used:

  • 2 8 foot 1″x8″ wooden boards
  • carpet scraps
  • utility knife for cutting the carpet
  • L brackets
  • carpet tacks
  • screws
  • hollow wall anchors
  • a hammer
  • a saw

Because my dad did most (all) of the work on this project he probably also used a pencil and a measuring tape. Cuz he’s a real woodworker (and also not impatient). Remember the cutting board and the tip for fixing holes in wood? Those were both his 🙂

So here’s the instructions bit: Cut your board to the size of the shelves you want. Nail down your carpet scraps onto one side of the board. Attach the L brackets to the bottom of the board. Attach the other side of the L brackets to the wall. Done!

Really, it’s that simple.

We made four shelves total. One is short, about 15″ long. Two are long, about 32″ long. And one is short and fat. We cut two pieces to 15″ long and put them one in front of the other so that the shelf is about 15″ square. (No, math people, it is not 15″ x 16″… 8″ boards are actually 7.25″ for some reason. So it’s more like 15″ x 14.5″. *shrug*)

Sorry for the horrible blurry cell phone pic, but I only took like two pictures of the shelves in our old apartment for some reason…

Make your own cat playground out of a wooden board, carpet scraps, L brackets, and an empty wall!

We staggered the shelves so the cats could sort of “run” up and down them. And then I totally DIYed it up and put a giant, tacky piece of cardboard over the floating wall so the cats could walk on top of the wall without falling down into the bedroom on the other side. Also, cuz I’m allergic to the cats and they aren’t allowed in our bedroom. 🙂

The wall in our current apartment is a bit bigger so we spread the shelves out a bit, and it works great! The cats love the big square shelf. One cat or the other is always sleeping up there, curled up into a ball, and magically somehow not falling off even when they roll over in their sleep.

Cat Shelves: Make your own cat climbing area

Cat Shelves: Make your own cat climbing area
Aww! I had this as my iPhone background for a long time, so cute!

Cat Shelves: Make your own cat climbing area

The long shelves are great for running across at full tilt. The cats will start all the way down the hallway, jump up the arm of the couch, onto the long shelf, and then up again to the big square shelf! It’s like a giant playground structure.

And Finnegan absolutely loves the shortest shelf because we put it right next to a light fixture. He LOVES to sit there and stare straight down into the bulb. Ridiculous animal…

Cat Shelves: Make your own cat climbing area

More gratuitous cat pictures, cuz why not?!

Cat Shelves: Make your own cat climbing area

Cat Shelves: Make your own cat climbing area

Cat Shelves: Make your own cat climbing area

Cat Shelves: Make your own cat climbing area

These are not the sexiest decor, but they are totally practical and functional!

The hallways in our old apartment building had just been re-carpeted like a week before we did this, and our building manager was nice enough to let us have the extra scraps! The green carpet went great with our “decor” in the old place (read: the couch, which was also green). It isn’t the best in our new place cuz our couch is now kinda reddish, but I don’t really feel like re-carpeting those things until they’re really falling apart.

But if you make something like this for yourself you can make them match your decor by choosing the right carpet. You could also stain the board before you attach the carpet, or fold the carpet all the way around so that the bottom of the shelf isn’t naked.

We just whipped up a super quick and functional solution, but you can easily make this “prettier” than we did if you actually decorate in your house and don’t want them to be an eyesore. 🙂

I’ve been thinking about adding on some additional pieces to this to turn it into a real “jungle gym” type of thing for them. Mostly I want to wrap some sisal around a post from floor to ceiling so they can climb up to the shelves a different way.

Do you have any brilliant ideas for other pieces we can add to this “playground”? Is your household as run around by cats as ours clearly is?

Want to see the rest of the Caturday posts? Here they are!

 
 
 
I link up at these awesome parties!

Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. lisa says

    9 years ago

    I bet they love this! I know my kitty would go crazy to have little shelves to jump from!

    • Jessi says

      9 years ago

      Thanks for the invite, I’m all linked up!

  2. Gale says

    9 years ago

    Awww!!! That’s so cool! My kitties would absolutely love this!

  3. Kathryn Griffin says

    9 years ago

    My youngest kitty would love this. The older one can’t jump much anymore. She’s 16 and sleeps most of the time. Thank you for sharing this at Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see you again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  4. Mel says

    9 years ago

    I have to show this to my bro and sil, they have cats they’ll love this

  5. Bonnie Robinson says

    9 years ago

    What a great idea. My cats would love this. Can’t wait to build these. Thanks for the cat tip.

  6. Caren says

    9 years ago

    This is so cute! I bet my cat would love this. Those photos are adorable!

    • Jessi says

      9 years ago

      Thanks Caren! Our cats really love the shelves and they’re pretty cute when they run around all over them, definitely makes for good photos 🙂

  7. Hollie @ I'm Busy Procrastinating says

    9 years ago

    Saw your link over at It’s Overflowing. What fun for your kitties! I won’t let my four cats see this post, or they might want me to do the same!

    • Jessi says

      9 years ago

      Haha! I’m sure they would!

  8. Amanda says

    9 years ago

    I love this idea. My cats would have a blast on it. They love the top of the fridge, cabinets, etc. If they’re high up, and near a window, it would be kitty heaven. Thanks for showing how easy it could be.

    • Jessi says

      9 years ago

      You’re welcome! I hope you try it out, even if you just make one or two shelves, I’m sure they’d love it!

  9. Katie says

    9 years ago

    ! That is super cool. If we had cats, that’s exactly the sort of thing we’d do for them. ^_^

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