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10 DIY Cat Climbing Wall Plans for Your House (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Nicole Cosgrove

Orange Tabby cat playing on a climbing wall

10 DIY Cat Climbing Wall Plans for Your House (With Pictures)

Finding enrichment opportunities is a surprisingly satisfying perk of pet ownership. Cats need stimulation in the home to maintain their physical and mental health and stave off unwanted behaviors, putting pressure on owners to give them new toys, scratching devices, and climbing features to keep them busy.

Cat climbing walls are one of the best places to start. “On the wall” often means “out of the way,” which gives your cat a wildly exciting setup without stealing too much usable space in the room. Even better, they’re fun to build!

Sure, you can cheat and buy a pricey pre-made cat wall. However, DIY setups will be more fulfilling and let you completely customize them to fit your decor and space. We’ll help you find your footing with these 10 DIY climbing wall plans for your house.

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The 10 DIY Cat Climbing Wall Plans You Can Do Today

1. Cat Shelves- madlab5

Cat Shelves
Image Credit: madlab5.blogspot
Materials: 1×8 pine boards, paint, Liquid Nails, carpet sections, shelf brackets, drywall crews
Tools: Utility knife
Difficulty Level: Easy

A cat climbing wall can be straightforward and seamless when you follow the approach in this tutorial. Pine board shelves transform into custom kitty landing pads for your pet to climb and jump around, with decorative brackets adding your personal flair.

After painting the shelves to match the room, you’ll only need to add carpet covers for grip and comfort. Following the directions, installing shelves over a long strip of carpet running up the wall provides a clever, stylish entrance to the play setup.

2. DIY Cat Perches

Materials: PVC pipe, PVC caps, screws, cardboard, rope, cloth
Tools: Saw, drill, scissors, glue gun, sewing kit
Difficulty Level: Easy

Simple materials in these DIY cat perch plans combine to make an impressive wall-mounted playground. The trickiest part involves the patient wrapping and gluing of rope around the PVC pipes to give your cats a firm foothold.

From there, you only have to plan your layout, screw in the PVC posts, and hang up the cloth hammocks between them.

As one commenter suggested, you can even attach these posts to a large piece of plywood, giving you a portable cat climbing wall and a perfect solution for apartment renters.

3. Ultimate DIY Indoor Cat Playground

Materials: Scrap lumber, tape, wood glue, rope/twine, carpet scraps
Tools: Jigsaw, miter saw, drill, glue gun
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Bridges, hideaways, scratching posts, you name it—this DIY cat playground has it all! Mitered lumber scraps form hexagonal wall-mounted shelters, with strategic entry holes creating a maze for your cat to follow.

Rope-wrapped posts give them perches and climbing poles to navigate the array while working out their claws, and a comfy bed caps it all off as a reward for making it to the end!

The plans require a few power tools to make it efficient and effective, especially if you want to add decorative elements like fish and cat-shaped cutouts. Serving as inspiration rather than strict direction, this tutorial is rich with wise ideas to pull off an impressive setup.

4. Apartment-Friendly Cat Wall

Materials: Carpet, shelves and brackets, drywall screws, pine board, rope
Tools: Drill, glue gun
Difficulty Level: Easy

The beauty of simplicity couldn’t be more apparent than in this renter-friendly cat shelf plan. A few standard shelves feature carpet padding for comfy landing pads as your cat climbs the wall, with a rope-wrapped board creating a vertical bridge between all the landing pads.

Despite the low-key build, the designer creates a cohesive and fun aesthetic with clever terrazzo-style tape strips on the wall. Everything comes down without hassle, leaving only a few drill holes to patch before you move out.

5. Easy DIY Cat Climbing Wall- mamaandmore

Easy DIY Cat Climbing Wall
Image Credit: mamaandmore
Materials: Bath mats, wood crate, plywood or boards, screws and shelf brackets, glue, staple gun staples
Tools: Drill, utility knife, staple gun, jigsaw
Difficulty Level: Easy

Although there’s nothing special about this creative DIY cat climbing wall, it’s rich in offbeat and bright ways to repurpose old materials for your cat’s enjoyment.

Bath mats make soft and grippy footholds, a wooden crate flips on its side to become a wall-mounted shelter, and unused wood scraps transform into any shelf you need. You also get handy tips on creating pocket holes with a Kreg jig for a sturdy shelving system.

6. Cheap Cat Climbing Rope Wall- ikeahackers

Cheap Cat Climbing Rope Wall
Image Credit: ikeahackers
Materials: Sisal rug, screw hooks, wire, shelf, brackets, doormats
Tools: Drill
Difficulty Level: Easy

The creator of this super-easy and inexpensive cat climbing wall knew that one of the cat’s favorite scratch surfaces, sisal rope, is also a popular rug style. Rather than build or cut out a custom climbing pad to mount to the wall, why not just slap a rug on it and call it a day?

The setup works like a charm and gives your cat a wide and easy-to-claw path to follow up to a shelf sitting over a doorway.

7. DIY Floating Cat Steps- charlestoncrafted

DIY Floating Cat Steps
Image Credit: charlestoncrafted
Materials: 1×4 boards, pocket hole screws, wood glue, rope
Tools: Miter saw, Kreg jig, drill, sander, glue gun
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

These functional and stylish floating cat steps will do as much for your room as they will for your cat. Four shelves attach to a backing board that mounts to the wall, letting the other side stay open to create a floating effect.

A Kreg jig conceals the screws, resulting in a crisp, clean finish. After adding rope to the shelves, the whole unit is ready to install and give your cat an easy pathway to high-up destinations.

8. Modern Floating Cat Shelves- brooklynfarmgirl

Materials: Decorative floating shelves, carpet squares, wall anchors, screws
Tools: Drill, level
Difficulty Level: Easy

The sophistication of modern minimalism is straightforward to attain with store-bought floating shelves. The climbing cat wall plans from Brooklyn Farm Girl use bracket-free shelving with colored carpet squares for secure padding underfoot. By switching up the colors, you can add a pleasing contemporary aesthetic to your cat’s new playground.

Floating shelves are abundant, but you must be discerning before picking the cheapest one. Many can only hold 20 pounds or even less, so checking the specs is crucial to avoid an accident if your cat is heavier.

9. Cat Shelves with Scratching Post- worstontheblock

Materials: 1x8s, 1x3s, quarter round, sandpaper, stain/paint, screws, wall anchors
Tools: Table or miter saw, drill
Difficulty Level: Easy

You can integrate a few bright ideas from this cat shelf plan into your custom climbing wall setup. The standard shelves get a stylish upgrade with the easy yet effective addition of a quarter round, while an accompanying sisal-wrapped post gives your cat a new way to scale to the ceiling.

Although there aren’t plans for the post, it provides a unique element worth considering for your cat wall.

10. Cat Adventure Wall- littlethings

Cat Adventure Wall
Image Credit: littlethings
Materials: 1×6 boards, carpet pieces, LED strip lights, rope, beads, screws, sandpaper
Tools: Scroll saw/jigsaw,
Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Here’s a creative way to make something functional for you and your pet. In this cat adventure wall build, box shelves are part of a floating installation. Your cats get a carpeted climbing surface above, while the shelves house books, LED light strips, and other accessories to create an aesthetic complement that will elevate the room’s look even more than it elevates your cat.

Fun features abound for your pet. A covered hideaway sits atop a perch reachable by a rope bridge. If you want to flex your creative chops, you can also try drawing and cutting the plan’s cat silhouette with a scroll saw or jigsaw.

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How Should I Secure Cat Shelves to the Wall?

Secure anchoring should be a top priority when building a climbing wall to protect your cat, your climbing features, and your wall. Always consider your cat’s weight, the size of the shelf, and any features you’ll attach to ensure the shelves won’t break off. Ideally, you’ll use the wall studs as anchor points, mounting screws into at least one, if not two, for each shelf.

When you can’t screw a shelf bracket into a stud, you’ll need a drywall anchor. Self-drilling and toggle drywall anchors are ideal and provide the most holding power.

Although you may think your 11-pound cat won’t need much support, the force of jumping and landing can multiply their weight considerably. You’ll generally need an anchor that can hold at least 50 pounds.

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Final Thoughts

A bare wall is a blank canvas, supplying limitless opportunities to enhance enrichment and turn the home into a cat’s paradise. By offering new ways to exercise and explore, you’ll ensure a happier, healthier pet.

For owners, this is a fun, creative DIY project with a minimal footprint, making a climbing wall a win-win situation. Take inspiration from these cleverly easy plans, and get started on your cat’s perfect play place today!

Featured Image Credit: Veera_Shutterstock

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