What is a cat wall shelf?
Are your cats climbing the walls? Literally? Perhaps a cat wall shelf will help. So what are they? These are similar to bookshelves that are mounted to a wall or even a door. In fact, our cats loved climbing our bookshelves so much, we decided to get them their own cat wall shelf to climb on. These can be a simple floating shelf or perch. Ideally they are covered with a soft material like carpet to give your cat something comfortable to lay down on. The covering is also important for your cats safety, you don’t want them slipping off. The sky’s the limit in terms of designs for cat shelves. There are ones with a cat perch, cat bed, even cat furniture all together and marketed as cat shelves. The nice thing about these are, they are mounted on the wall and don’t take up any room on your floor. This is a great way to provide your cat with exercise options even if you are short on floor space for cat furniture or your own furniture fills your space.
Why Cats Love High Places
We thought having a cat tree in our home would satisfy our cats need to climb. When we saw that our cats loved staying on the upper perches and often would battle for the high ground, we decided to give them more ways to be higher. So why do cats love high places? Your cat’s natural instincts to protect themselves are behind this. To them, hanging out or sleeping in a place with a good view of their world, makes them feel safe. This is because they can see danger coming from far away. Another reason you cat loves the high ground is that a cat’s predatory instincts make higher vantage points desirable from a hunting point of view. That perch on the wall is the perfect place for your cat to observe their prey. You know, that new fuzzy mouse toy isn’t going to hunt itself.
Why does your cat need a wall shelf?
Many of our patients have an indoor cat with weight problems. This is one of the most common concerns we see in our clinic. The benefit of a cat shelf is that they encourage your indoor cat to climb. If your cat has already become bored with their cat tree, a cat shelf is the logical next step. Climbing engages your cat’s large muscles and their sense of balance. The more exercise opportunities you can provide your cat the better. As a cat lover myself, I wanted our cats to climb more. As a loving cat owner, you can get a simple cat shelf or create a whole climbing world for your refined feline. If you are wondering if you should keep your cat indoors or outdoors, please see our post Should you have an indoor or an outdoor cat?
Do cats like wall shelves?
We found that our cats liked wall shelves that weren’t slippery, so they could climb and lounge on them in comfort. We used their cat tree as a way to get to the cat shelf. We found a wall that had empty vertical space to use. We installed a shelf on the wall that had a carpet covering. While it looked good, it just wasn’t enough. The cats battled for the shelf so we got a cat wall perch and mounted that on the wall. For even more mental and physical stimulation, we added a small scratching post that they really liked. Our large cats liked to sleep on the wall perch so we added a hammock for them to sleep in. So do our cats like their wall shelves? Well no. They love them ! We have found that by adding a perch, hammock, even a cat tower to the mix keeps our cats entertained and exercised.
Fellow DVM, Dr. Borns-Weil, a certified Animal Behaviorist confirms this in her paper “Enriching your Cat’s Environment” says
Cats like high places, so provide cat trees, cat shelves, and high catwalks.Dr. Borns-Weil, DVM
Are cat shelves safe?
Installing a wall mounted cat shelf is safe if installed correctly. That means following the installation instructions, making sure to install the screws/bolts into wall studs or using the correct wall anchors. Most homes have wood wall studs that run vertically with the middle of each 16″ apart. Make sure you consider your cat or cats weight when installing cat shelves on your wall. You want to make sure your wall can support the weight of the shelf, perch, or hammock including the weight of your cats. If you can’t put holes in your walls, a door mounted wall shelf is the perfect answer. These mount to a door without damaging it so it can be removed later if needed. Just make sure it’s a door that doesn’t get a ton of use so your cat can feel safe on it. Also, your cats will use it more if it’s in a location that has a view, like one in the living or family room.
Best Cat Shelf
The best cat shelf is the one your cat uses and loves the most. Each cat in our family has their favorite shelf on the wall. Our “matriarch” loves the low hammock and everyone knows not to take her spot. Our “kids” love to battle over the top wall shelf spot. With the different personalities of each of our cats, we found that a variety of shelf options made cat life in our home more peaceful. And playful. A lot more play going on.
Best Removable Cat Shelf
This cat shelf or cat hammock by Pefuny is one of the first we put in for our cats. This one attaches to a window or mirror or other smooth surface that the suction cups can attach firmly to. Our cats love to watch the world go by while I’m working in my home office. It’s very sturdy and holds up to 40 pounds. In our cat terms, that is one of our large cats or two of our regular sized cats. Thankfully, two large cats don’t fit so we’ve never had any issues with this cat perch. The cover is easy to remove and washable which we do every other week to keep things fresh. The best feature, is that as the seasons change and the sun moves, you can move the hammock by relocating the suction cups. This is a great first cat shelf especially if you don’t want to install something that you can remove with no trace it was there.
Best Door Cat Shelf
This cat shelf is perfect when space is at a premium or you want to be able to move it later. This cat shelf by K&H Pet products uses heavy duty straps to hold on to your door. We found this model works great for doors that you don’t use that often as our cats are usually in it. They love having it on the hall closet door so they can see the living room. The waterproof nylon is tough and puts up with a lot of kitty paw traffic.
Best Cat shelf
If you want something that is mounted to a wall on a more permanent basis, aka screwed into your wall, this one is perfect. This cat shelf by Refined Feline, is mounted to the wall with screws. Ideally those should go into the wood wall studs and it’s super strong. The shelf itself is made of plywood and covered with removable berber carpet. The white model comes with a fake fur that our cats like a lot. The mahogany wood color looks really elegant on our wall. We found that a big one and a smaller one looks and works really well if you have multiple cats.
Best Cat Shelf Playground
This is for the serious cat lover. This unit is like cat furniture mounted to your wall. It takes a bunch more time to layout and install than the other ones we’ve listed here. But our cats love it. They didn’t let us finish installing half of the cat shelves before they started climbing all over it. This Catastrophic Creations playground comes in 6 different color ways so you can match it to your home design. The wood is really nicely finished and you can remove the canvas parts to wash. The best part of the design is the scratch pole covered in rope that our cats not only like to climb, but also scratch to their heart’s content. If you want to know more about why a scratching post is needed, please see our post Why Cats Scratch Stuff? Half of our cats like to dine “al fresco” with a view with the built in feeder. These cat shelves came with mounting instructions were very clear and easy to follow (thankfully !). And they are designed to hold a lot of weight. We’ve had all our cats on this cat tree playhouse at once, all playing and climbing, some even snoozing. They say one of the hammocks can hold up to 120 pounds. Thankfully we don’t have a 120 pound kitty but I love the fact they built this cat playground really well. Multiple cats on each shelf or hammock is no problem.
Hopefully one of these cat shelves fits your decor and budget. When you would rather use the vertical space to put a cat perch or cat shelves will keep your cats entertained and best of all, well exercised. The more exercise you can provide for your indoor cat the better. They will be happier. And if your cat is happy, isn’t that the best?