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“Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.” Almost everyone recognizes the phrase. And when we spot our family felines climbing the drapes or scouting over the tops of bookcases, it starts cycling through our minds. Cats look at the tops of furniture, and you SEE the wheels turning. They want to know what they’re missing. Satisfying that natural curiosity isn’t always easy, though. Not everyone wants a Cheshire Cat grin looming over them from the curio cabinet. Luckily, cat wall shelves help split the difference. Your cat gets the height they crave – AWAY from your furniture.
The Climbing Cat
Despite popular images of lazy, snoozy cats, felines have driving urges to explore their territory. And they have the anatomy to take their expeditions UP. Cat claws dig into tree bark, fence posts, or your favorite curtains. Their long tails help them balance along branches, wires, or cords in magnificent tightrope walks.
ALL cats have this climbing instinct. Even leopards, tigers, and bobcats take to the trees to survey their domain. Lions and cheetahs aren’t big on tree-climbing, but they WILL find rocky outcroppings to get a lay of the land. And you’re tiny wild cat retains those instincts.
Which is why you struggle to keep your kitty off the high perches in the house. Good thing cat wall perches came along to end the battle!
When you install cat wall shelves, perches, and hammocks in your house to create a feline-friendly environment that doesn’t intrude on YOUR space, it’s called catification. You and your cat co-exist in harmony. You’re not tripping over heavy cat trees and beds (especially helpful in small spaces). Meanwhile, your cat has a network of shelves and ramps that allows them to climb and explore in every direction.
The possibilities available with cat wall shelves are endless. Some people catify their entire homes! Your imagination can run wild with possibilities. Tunnels through walls? Openings through doors? Ramps up to lofts? Bubbles opening through the floor? If you can think of it, it’s available! Cat wall shelves are only the tip of the iceberg.
The Benefits of Cat Wall Shelves
Cat wall shelves move your cat’s furniture off the floor and up to your wall’s vertical space. You’ll appreciate the extra room, but there’s more to catification than that. Cats need the height cat wall shelves offer. That instinctual drive to climb beats in the heart of every feline. And not because it drives you crazy.
- Safety: Outdoor cats head for trees to avoid potential predators. Inside, you probably don’t have badgers or foxes running around. But you may have dogs or children. And sometimes, a feline needs an escape route. A perch up high reassures your cat they’re safe.
- Hunting: In the wild (or, you know, the backyard), cats need a good spot to seek food. You (or the automatic feeder) deliver regular meals, but the drive to survey territory remains. And cats still enjoy pouncing on unsuspecting toys.
- Territory: If you have more than one cat in the house, odds are occasional tiffs occur. Cat wall shelves allow your kiddos to divide up the territory. You just need to make sure there’s enough space for everyone.
- Enrichment: Cats AREN’T the lazy animals cartoons depict. They get bursts of energy. And an obstacle course up the wall provides the perfect place for your kitty to race. You’ll stave off boredom, preventing unwanted behaviors from developing.
Choosing a Cat Wall Shelf
Whether you purchase your cat wall shelves or decide to build your own, you want to keep a few key features in mind. After all, you’re going UP a wall, increasing the height your cat may tumble if an accident occurs. You want to keep safety – and comfort – in mind.
- Size: Your cat needs to fit on the cat wall shelf. If their bum hangs off the side, they probably won’t use it. Look over the measurements carefully, and then measure your kiddo.
- Navigation: The best part about cat wall shelves is the exploration your cat engages in. When you set up the pieces, make sure your cat can land safely. A cat needs room to turn around on a shelf, as well as crouch for a jump. A minimum length of 12 inches provides a safe landing.
- Safety: Some cat wall shelves come in wood. They look beautiful, but the surface is too slippery for cat paws. Ideally, you want a cloth covering to provide traction.
- Mounting Brackets: Most houses have wall studs every 16 inches (you can double-check this with a stud finder). You should place a bracket every 16 inches, too. There ARE cat wall shelves out there that don’t require drilling into the wall, but you need to ask yourself if you feel they’re sturdy enough to support your cat running and jumping.
Best Cat Wall Shelves
When you have a small space, providing your cat with furniture gets tricky. Or you may have a cat that wants to view the room from the highest vantage point possible. Cat wall shelves solve both problems – without looking clunky. You’ll find variations that work with every home design. And once you start, catification gets addicting! Before you know it, your cat’s trotting along a kitty highway through the house.
Best Simple Cat Wall Shelves
You have to start somewhere. With a “basic” cat wall shelf, your cat gets a comfortable perch to relax on. If you purchase more than one, you can create a series of steps up the wall, allowing your cat the height they crave. And while these cat wall shelves fall into the simple category, they look clean and elegant on your wall.
While NOT intended as a cat wall shelf, our youngest climbs the shelves in my office while I’m working. The fact that she needs to step around the books and knick-knacks on the shelves doesn’t phase her. (It’s better than her climbing the curtains, I suppose)
When you want a stylish cat wall shelf with the most customizability, 4 My Pet Shop is your go-to. The floating shelf disguises the mounting brackets, allowing a beautiful accent to your home. You can decide how you want the wave to appear (left, right, symmetric). Then you choose the color for the mattress AND the bottom fabric. With 11 colors in the palette, the possibilities go up to 121! The mattress pads is a comfortable 1.5 inches, and the cover zips off for easy washing. Each shelf holds up to 67 pounds, letting multiple cats share the space. You get a sturdy length of 30.7 inches and a width of 12.6 inches. The standard order features brackets spaced 16 inches apart, but you can request a different spacing if you need. It’s the perfect customizable cat wall shelf!
Downsides? All of those options mean a hefty price tag. And if you discover a problem, you can’t return the shelf (bummer). Also, you only get one shelf per order.
Nothing beats simple elegance, and if you can add in the bonus of an Etsy 2020 Design award, you absolutely win. Cosy and Dozy offer various cat wall shelves, with their Chill DeLuxe offering the ultimate in kitty comfort and luxury. The floating design conceals the brackets, providing a sleek look in your house. Spaced the appropriate 16 inches apart, the Chill DeLuxe is designed to hold up to 55 pounds, letting two of your cats enjoy the shelf at the same time. The shelf measures a full 35 inches in length and 16 inches wide, and you get a deep 1.2-inch cushion for extra comfort. You can choose from four different wood finishes, finding one to match the decor in your home.
The downsides? This cat wall shelf is on the expensive side. And it IS only a single shelf.
When it comes to simplicity, Humane Goods provides the answer. The curved wooden shelf floats on the wall, cradling your cat in comfort. They include carpet squares you can Velcro onto the shelf, allowing your cat to scratch at the surface, or have a non-slip surface. With three spare carpet squares, you don’t have to worry about the surface wearing down. The shelf holds up to 30 pounds, which should support the average adult cat without a problem.
So what are the downsides? This cat wall shelf only measures 19 inches by 10 inches, which is on the small side for safety measures. Also, the mounting screws are spaced 7 inches apart, so you won’t get the shelf into your wall studs. Make sure you pick up some drywall anchors for security.
Maybe you want to give your cat a little bit extra with your cat wall shelves. On2Pets provides the perfect answer. Your feline gets two carpeted shelves decked out with silk leaves to create the sensation of climbing into the trees. Each shelf measures 22 inches long and 15 inches wide, and they’ll support up to 32 pounds. The plastic and silk leaves also allow your cat a hiding place while brightening your home with greenery you don’t need to water.
Downsides? You will see the brackets, which may or may not turn you off. Also, those brackets are plastic, so they don’t hold as well as metal brackets. (You might consider swapping them for something sturdier) And watch your cat around the leaves. They’re not real, but ingestion of plastic and silk? Still not a good thing (foreign body, anyone?).
Best Complex System Cat Wall Shelves
As your imagination starts taking over, you stumble on cat wall shelves that provide more than a simple place to sleep. Some incorporate important feline needs, such as scratching posts, hammocks, and even food bowls, into their designs. And why not? You encourage your feline to explore the vertical aspects of your home, generating exercise opportunities. Your cat appreciates getting off the floor for their daily tasks. And YOU savor the removal of all of those necessities from the floor. It’s the perfect compromise – and they often look elegant, too!
CatistrophiCreations offers a complete highway for your cat to explore. The floating mounts keep a clean look to your house while your cat gets a hammock, ladder, and hole to jump through. The fabric features a hemmed edge to protect it from fraying, and you can remove it for easy watching. The wooden pieces support up to 85 pounds, easily allowing your entire feline crew to play together (though the fabric can only hold 65 pounds). Everyone’s sure to get their exercise each day!
Downsides? The simple design comes with a hefty price tag. Also, the wood isn’t covered, presenting a possible slip hazard.
Perhaps you want complete control over the setup of your cat wall shelves. Cat Wall Furniture gives you that freedom. You get a complete set composed of five steps, a platform with food bowls, and a canvas hammock. You can choose from 10 stain colors for the wood and 7 colors for the hammock, matching the decor in your home perfectly. The seams on the linen are finished to prevent fraying, with an impressive length of 32 inches. And you get two stainless steel bowls for the feeding platform, preventing unwanted chin acne.
The downsides? The steps only measure 8 inches by 3.5 inches, which is well under the safety margin. And none of the wood features a non-slip cover. You may want to purchase something to protect your cat from accidents. Also, the brackets mount at the bottom, so you WILL see them (up to you whether that’s a negative or not).
If the floating shelf look is more your thing, consider PetFusion. You still get three shelves you can set up your way, without the annoyance of visible brackets. The top shelf features a hole for popping up to survey the land, and then you get a slant for working those leg muscles, with a final narrow perch. Each shelf comes with a sisal covering to ensure a comfortable non-slip surface. Up to 30 pounds holds comfortably, which works for most cats. And if you want to continue the cat wall shelf fun, you can purchase additional shelves.
So what are the downsides? The set comes with drywall mounting screws, but you should really consider going into a wall stud for safety. And the smaller shelves are only 8 inches in width, which is on the narrow side for some cats. (Not the mention that little square perch) You DON’T need to hang the system as pictured; the slant’s too much for some cats to navigate.
Maybe you enjoy a more rustic look in your home. We Sell Dream has the perfect cat wall shelf for you. Two comfortable hammocks offer your cat different levels of sleeping comfort. The solid pine fixtures will hold up to 66 pounds, and the wood compliments any decor. With a fantastic length of 51 inches by 39 inches, you don’t need to worry about your cat falling off the edge. And you won’t have to see any mounting brackets. The gorgeous pine shelves support the entire system.
Downsides? The pine’s beautiful, but it’s not covered with a non-slip surface. You’ll want to consider adding something to protect against slipping. Also, you don’t get the mounting hardware – you’ll need to source that yourself.
We get frustrated, pulling our cats down from the fridge, the bookshelves, and the curtains. We think they’re causing trouble. But they’re exercising instincts. And if we provide them with safe opportunities to climb in the form of cat wall shelves, we’ll see them stay away from those unwanted places.
Cat wall shelves let our felines explore and feel safe and comfortable. Yet they don’t intrude on our limited space. They’re the perfect compromise! So get out there and start catifiying your home!