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10 Ways to Give Your Cat Vertical Space (With Pictures)

Written by: Kit Copson

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Two Cats on a cat tree looking in one direction in front of a white wall

10 Ways to Give Your Cat Vertical Space (With Pictures)

Having access to vertical space is an instinctive need for cats passed down by their wild ancestors who perched in high places to spot both prey and potential predators. High places were also perfect for sleeping safely because they reduced the risk of a predator finding them.

Though today’s house cats don’t need to protect themselves in this way, perching somewhere they can look down on their environment gives them a sense of security and is a form of enrichment—cats simply love to climb.

If you’re looking for ways to provide your cat with vertical space at home, look no further. In this guide, we’ll share both DIY and commercial product ideas as well as some tips on how to adapt household items you already have to make them into cat-friendly perching spots.

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DIY Options

1. DIY Cat Shelves by Emilie Reigneau

Materials: Wood, cardboard, wood glue, old carpet, marker pen
Tools: Drill, screws, jigsaw, clamp, sander
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

These DIY cat shelves start from the bottom of the wall and graduate toward the ceiling to give the cat opportunities to climb and perch. We like these because they’re subtle and not too bulky thanks to their curved shapes, so would go perfectly with a variety of decor types.

The creator used cardboard to draw out templates for the shelves, then used a jigsaw to cut them out in the desired shapes and covered them with carpet to make them more homely-looking and to provide grip.

This is a great DIY project for those who have some old wood, carpet, and a few simple tools lying around. Even for those without wood and carpet, these materials are cheap and easy to find—you could even try asking at carpet stores if they have any scraps or samples to give away.

2. Driftwood Cat Tree by JunsKitchen

Materials: Driftwood, plywood, wood stain, rag, wire brush, cardboard, rubber pads, fake plants, screws
Tools: Saw, blow torch, drill, drill parts, sandpaper, cleaning brush, toothbrush, wire sponge, mask, eye protector, gloves, scissors, pliers
Difficulty Level: Moderate

If you live in an area where it’s easy to find driftwood, you might want to try making something like this beautiful cat tree, which is designed to resemble an actual tree. The creator even attached some fake plants and mossy pieces to give it an authentic look. We think this driftwood tree is a cool and unique alternative to the standard box-style cat trees you find in stores.

The creator’s video shows the process of building the tree, but it’s not a step-by-step tutorial, so this may be better suited to those with DIY experience looking for inspiration rather than complete beginners.

3. DIY Cat Walkway by 9 Lives to Live

Materials: Pine boards (8 inches), wood stain, carpet, tacks, screws, extra wood to make supports and brackets, metal brackets
Tools: Drill, router
Difficulty Level: Moderate to advanced

When it comes to providing enrichment for cats, some go, quite literally, above and beyond. This creator crafted a cat walkway that runs around the living room ceiling and can be accessed by a post with platforms and ramps attached to the wall on each side next to the structure.

The pine boards used to make the walkway are covered with pieces of carpet for extra grip, and the creator tacked them on instead of gluing them so they would be easier to change later on if desired. This project is best approached by someone with DIY experience as it may be a bit intimidating for absolute beginners. If you’re willing to invest a bit of time, your cats are sure to love it.

4. Completely Upcycled Cat Tree by The Simple Environmentalist

Materials: Cans, twine, fabric like T-shirts, wood, wood glue, hot glue, screws, paint, staples
Tools: Saw, clamps, sander, hammer, glue gun, staple gun
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This upcycled cat tree was cleverly crafted from old cans, wood, fabric, and other items the creator found. The supports are made by gluing cans together, but you can use anything you find that’s suitable for the purpose, and this is what we appreciate most about upcycling—there are no rules, and you simply use whatever you’ve got available!

Though upcycling a cat tree can take a bit of time, it’s the perfect project for those who enjoy the challenge of using what you’ve got lying around and are looking to spend as little as possible. It’s also an environmentally friendly option with very little waste.

5. DIY Cat Wall by Melanade Beauty

Materials: Wooden boards, grass carpet, wood screws, wall shelf brackets, sisal rope, paint
Tools: Leveler, drill, drill bits, measuring tape, staple gun, saw
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Living in a small apartment can make providing enrichment for your cat more of a challenge. With this in mind, the creator of this charming cat wall built a structure that would give their cat some exercise and mental stimulation in their small apartment. They also kitted it out with a scratch post and some cute decor items like hanging plants (plastic ones are best to prevent chewing and potential toxicity).

We love that this wall has a two-in-one function. Cats can climb and scratch at the same time! It looks like the difficulty level is moderate, but the clear instructions and visuals in the video are perfect for beginners who want to give it a try.

6. Easy Vertical Space for Shelter Cats by ASPCApro

DIY Cat Vertical Space
Image Credit: ASPCApro
Materials: Pet airline crate door, 2–3 large zip ties, duct tape, soft bedding
Tools: N/A
Difficulty Level: Easy

If you work in a rescue shelter where the cats spend a lot of time in enclosures, you can follow these simple steps by ASPCApro to make suspended cat shelves and make the enclosure more exciting. An extra door from a pet airline crate is attached to the inside of the enclosure by the latches and zip ties to hang it from the top and support the sides. The shelf is then covered in soft fabric.

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Commercial Options

1. Frisco Cat Silhouette with Bridge Wall

Frisco Cat Silhouette with Bridge Wall

Dimensions: 66.1 inches x 11 inches
Recommended weight limit: 20 pounds

This silhouette cat walkway is designed to be mounted on your wall. It’s made up of two open-sided cat condos at different heights joined together by a sloping bridge. This product has great reviews, but customers are divided on how easy it is to assemble, with some describing it as a tad complicated and others describing it as easy. Nevertheless, even those who described it as tricky to assemble said it was worth the effort.

Customers also praise this walkway’s quality, cuteness, and how it has kept their cats entertained enough to tempt them away from the furniture!

2. K&H Pet Products EZ Mount Kitty Sill Cradle for Windows

K&H Pet Products EZ Mount Kitty Sill Cradle for Windows

Dimensions: 20 x 11 x 2 inches
Recommended weight limit: 50 pounds

Window mounts can provide hours of entertainment for cats, allowing them to perch up high while engaging in one of their all-time favorite activities—bird watching. Think of it as a TV experience for cats! You can find various kinds of window mounts, but this one doubles up as a scratch board and attaches directly to the window itself with suction cups. When not in use, you can fold the board upwards if you prefer not to leave it sticking out.

Customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive, though it has been mentioned that this perch might not be strong and big enough to withstand heavy cats for long.

3. Frisco 72-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo

Frisco 72-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo

Dimensions: 72 inches x 21.3 inches
Recommended weight limit: Made for cats of all sizes

Cat trees come in all shapes and sizes, but we selected this one by Frisco because of its reasonable price, sheer height, and numerous opportunities for enrichment. There are two cat condos, several perches at varying heights, ramps, scratch posts, and hanging toys to keep your cats happy, and it comes in cream, brown, black, blue, or gray so you can match it to your decor.

This product has received a multitude of glowing reviews for its sturdiness, pricing, durability, and fun factor.  On the other hand, some say the instructions aren’t very clear and that the perches are too small for large cats.

4. The Refined Feline Lotus Branch Wall Mounted Cat Shelf

The Refined Feline Lotus Branch Wall Mounted Cat Shelf

Dimensions: 61 x 10.5 x 12 inches
Recommended weight limit: 50 pounds

If you’re looking for a simple, stylish, and sophisticated shelf to mount for your cat that won’t be an eyesore on your wall, this one by The Refined Feline is well worth checking out. On one hand, it’s undeniably expensive, but several customers have praised its quality, stylish appearance, and sturdiness, so it may be worth the investment if you don’t mind splashing out a little.

The sloping design and soft carpet covering are perfect for cats to lounge and luxuriate on or survey their environment for humans to judge. It comes in four colors—espresso, mahogany, smoke, and white—so you can select the best one for your home’s aesthetic.

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Adapting Household Items to Provide Vertical Space

Fortunately, several household items can double up as perches for cats. All you need to do is make sure these spots are clutter-free, and you could also consider placing a cat bed on them.

Ideal vertical space items and furniture include:
  • Bookshelves
  • Standard shelves
  • The top of the fridge
  • Tall shelving units
  • Cupboard tops
  • Desks

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Final Thoughts

There are an abundance of ways to provide your cat with that all-important vertical space, some of which don’t require spending any money at all. Commercial cat trees, shelves, and wall mounts are handy, but you can always adapt whatever you’ve got to hand, whether that’s popping a cat bed on top of the refrigerator or DIYing your own cat climbing and perching apparatus.

Featured Image Credit: Christopher Teixeira, Shutterstock

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