I turned my bookshelf into a cat-approved climbing tree

March 21 2013 | Guest post by Ellyiar

cattree1-1For years I've wanted a bookcase that incorporates a cat tree. I think it's really important for my cats to have a designated place to scratch that isn't the furniture and a way to be the tallest thing in the room without knocking over breakable stuff I care about. BUT I hate the look of cat trees. Hence, the cat tree bookcase.

I had visions of one of those cool maze half-cat climber half-bookcases that you can find online, but are WAY too much money. Also, you still end up with a giant piece of furniture almost entirely dedicated to cats.

Then I had a brainstorm. We had an old crappy bookcase that I was about a second away from tossing out and a cat tree I couldn't figure out where to put in the house that wouldn't drive me crazy. INSTEAD, I figured out how to make them into exactly the piece of furniture I always wanted.

cattree2I positioned the book case in an empty corner, putting the back against the wall but leaving about two feet between the side and the other wall.

I took off just a couple of the scratching post pieces from the cat tree, and two of the platforms (you could probably make your own platforms — but I was being lazy and didn't want to waste what I already had). Then I screwed the scratching posts into the side of the bookcase facing the wall.

I wedged one of the platforms between the corner and the bookcase, just above the two scratching posts, maybe 3-4 feet off the ground. Then I screwed it into the bookcase and both walls (I was paranoid about it breaking when the cats jumped on it, so I probably overdid it.)

Then I screwed the other platform directly into the top of the bookcase so my cats had somewhere nice to sit at the top.

And they love it! Total success. I finally got something I've wanted for a while, and it didn't cost anything.

  1. Dude, that's a great idea! I have a cat tree in a corner by a bookcase too, and now you've got me scheming about how I can make this work in my place!

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  2. So cool! Have you had any problems with them trying to climb in the bookshelves? Or do they stay in the cat-designated areas pretty well?

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    • They haven't tried to go on the bookcase itself at all. Or at least not while I've been watching…

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  3. My cat would see this as an invitation to climb in the shelves and knock everything off.

    My cat is a jerk, though.

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    • Mine too… We found a way to keep one of them out of a shelf with a sheet of plexiglass, but eventually she found a way under there and sat pleased as punch amongst a dozen warhammer models…. We taped it down after that.

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  4. Very clever idea! I actually have a bookshelf that is stair-case-shaped, so I leave the top uncluttered and it's like a cat tree for my furry baby 🙂

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  5. I like it!! My cat has already figured out how to get from our desk to the top shelves of the bookshelf, but I'm sure she would prefer a route to the very top. Clever and simple solution!

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    • That was part of the reason I made it. I've found with my cats that they get on less things they shouldn't if I provide better places for them to jump on and scratch.

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      • I was just planning on adding a shelf between our two wardrobes because our kitty has learned to leap from my other half's nightstand to the top of one of the wardrobes – knocking over most of the things on the nightstand in the process! Sometimes it's just safer to make it easy for them. This will be a big help, thank you 🙂

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