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How to Create a Cat Climbing Wall With the Shelves You Own

You don't have to spend a lot; take a look at what you already have and make some changes.

Kate Benjamin  |  Oct 22nd 2015


When I first moved in to my funky 1971 condo, it had some spectacular original wallpaper in the living room along with wall-mounted shelves. I didn’t want to harm the wallpaper, and I liked the shelves so I left them in place. At the time, I had four cats, and I knew it would be hard to keep them off the shelves, but I kept shooing them away, even though the shelves held only a handful of coffee table books and some knickknacks.

ClimbingWall2

As my feline family increased in numbers, it became clear that I needed to turn the shelves over to the cats, so I decided to catify them.

Step 1: Clear the clutter!

Step 2: Add non-slip surfaces.

I used FLOR carpet tiles, which are quite easy to cut with a utility knife, and stuck them to the top of the shelves with double-sided carpet tape.

CarpetTiles

This little change can transform any surface into a cat-friendly perch instantly. I can’t recommend it enough! And the shelves are easy to clean with a handheld vacuum. The cats took to their new shelves immediately.

CatClimbingWallWithCarpet

Step 3: Add some other cat-friendly elements.

I had a set of Katris modular cat scratchers/climbers that were just sitting around on the floor. I decided to move them to the newly carpeted cat shelves to add some interesting levels for the cats to climb on and give them a nice cardboard surface to scratch. This was a great move! The cats LOVE having the cardboard scratchers up on the shelves, and I love how they look. Win-win!

KatrisOnSheves

The shelves are the most predominant thing in our living room, and I like the look of the plan cardboard, but it’s a little basic, so when Katris recently introduced its new decorative covers (currently available through its Kickstarter campaign) I added some to the front of the scratchers to dress them up a little.

KatrisCovers

The new covers come in black, white, and several fun colors, plus they have real wood veneer covers. I went with the wood veneer, and they look great. They transform the scratchers into beautiful sculptures. Just add cats and you have some of the best art you could ask for! Who needs all those knickknacks, anyway? Just clear the space and make room for the cats.

WithCovers

This is a perfect example of how easy it is to catify. You don’t have to go out and buy anything special; just look around your home and identify an area or surface that you could designate for cat use.

Follow my guidelines above (be sure to add non-slip surfaces!) and watch your cats as they explore their expanded territory. There’s really nothing more rewarding than sitting back and watching your cats find that new spot where they can sit and survey their domain. I can watch them on the shelves for hours!

For lots of ideas on how to catify, make sure to check out my book, Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!) co-written with Jackson Galaxy, and keep an eye out for our new book, Catify to Satisfy: Simple Solutions for Creating a Cat-Friendly Home, coming out in November.

Read more of Kate’s cat style tips:

About the author: Kate Benjamin is the founder of the popular cat style blog Hauspanther.com. She specializes in helping people live stylishly with cats. You may have seen her on Jackson Galaxy’s show My Cat From Hell. Make sure to check out Kate and Jackson’s book, Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!) and look for their new book, Catify to Satisfy: Simple Solutions for Creating a Cat-Friendly Home, coming soon!