How we made our DIY wall-mounted cat tree

Guest post by N03113

IMAG0902-2Like many young families, we live in an apartment. We have two cats we rescued that we love to pamper and spoil. Living in an apartment means we have limited floor space and keeping cats happy means having a place for them to scratch, play and own.

We recently moved and had to ditch the old cat tree after two years of love and abuse. It plain fell apart in the process of moving so we started the hunt for a new tree. We wanted something sturdy, affordable, and something that wouldn’t take up too much room. Problem was, the cat trees you typically find on the market are made out of cheap plastic and particle or composite board.


After some research, we decided to use the wallspace to the side and above our couch to create a wall mounted cat tree using a mixture of shelves and including a scratching post.

We took to a Home Depot and used the $200 that we were going to budget for a new cat tree. Here’s what we got:
Two 1’x6’inch thick pine slats which were cut, for free, into six pieces of various sizes.

IMAG0887-212 shelving brackets (for the six shelves), and drywall screws with anchors.

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 11.54.33 AMEnough outdoor carpet to wrap around the wood. And a staple gun to secure the carpet to the shelves

IMAG0881-2Sisal rope and a rounded post, which was also cut to size for us by store employees.

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 11.58.37 AM

In the end, we made a great place for our cats to scratch, climb, play, and relax that is truly all their own.


Comments on How we made our DIY wall-mounted cat tree

    • Yes, that was another factor – we moved into a place that has carpets. Before our place had hardwood floors… This makes vacuuming so much easier – also the shelves can be vacuumed with an upholstry attachment 🙂

    • I agree, remember to occasionally vacuum the carpets on the cat tree. My husband has cat allergies, so I routinely vacuum our cat tree. But cleaning up the hair also keeps the “cat smell” down to a minimum.

  1. This is freaking awesome. I would love to do this for our cat who seem to prefer jumping up onto bookshelves (sometimes scratching the wood or books on his way) or onto the space above cabinets. A solution like this would give him the height he craves without having a monstrous thing in our living room. I don’t think it will fly with the husband though, who would rather find the cat a new home. Hmmm…

  2. brilliant! I’ve been thinking of suggesting something like this for our utility room to give the cat some climbing space, now I have a visual to point at and say “see! like that!” 🙂

  3. That’s awesome! Jackson Galaxy says that cats want to perch high up, which is why they’re always jumping on bookcases and on top of the fridge. Look at that super-happy, confident, lounging kitty!

  4. I LOVE this! My husband built our cats a fabulous, gigantic monstrosity of a cat tree several years ago and we’ve been debating what to do with it for a long time now. This would be a perfect solution, as both cats prefer being on the high shelf and otherwise really only use the scratching post.

  5. I love the idea but all of my animals seem to have ownership issues and I would worry that if I built kitty shelves I would no longer have non-kitty shelves. Any tips for how to designate “this is not yours” shelves?

    • Cats dont like the scent of tea tree oil or citrus so you can try using these products to claim a cat free area. I trained my cats not to jump onto counters or cupboards by doing that.

    • Cats are territorial – using cat shelves and giving them their own place will actually keep them from going on your other shelves. Ours used to go on counter tops and on top of the cabinets in the kitchen. If you give them their own space, they’ll be less likely to go on places you don’t want them to go.

      Throughout the building process we physically put them on the pieces to test and also to say, here this is yours!

      We have shelves on the opposite side of the wall that are non cat shelves and a bookcase. Whiskey and Tango don’t even attempt to climb up on them.

      • You can try using textures: I upholstered (ok, double-sided tape…) the designated “cat shelves” with some old cut-up carpet fabric. Thet makes it softer, more bedding-like, and they can also use it to scratch. The “non cat shelves” are still plain ol’ wood or glass or whatever, and they don’t like to go there that much anymore because it’s slippery in comparison.

  6. Hmmm… I’m always terrified of not drilling into studs, but that limits me about where I put thing in my walls. Have your screw anchors worked well and felt reliable for the weight of shelves + jumping kitties? I need reassurance from others with screw anchor experience.

    • We used Drywall Anchors. Without them, it would be a disaster. Since each wall may have different materials or you may even hit a stud in the process – make sure you have the necessary screws to use.

      We check each month to make sure things are secure, and so far everything is good. Consider buying a heavy duty pack of drywall anchors with screws rather than using the ones that may come with the brackets. You can add additional brackets for support in the middle of the beams if you like. Very solid and our cats race and jump all over them.

      • Seconded.
        We installed a cat tree like this, and after the first month the screws needed extra tightening (joining the brackets to the shelf). After that, they were secure and steady until we removed them when we moved.

  7. We built our own cat tree from home depot as well. It’s not mounted but it was $75 when all was said and done. We built it 5ft tall and used scrap wood and carpet remnants. One side has 5ft posts, one wrapped in twine and the other in capret. The other side has a little house that we built. There is also a top platform where they can rest. It’s not the prettiest but it’s the cheapest functional cat tower I’ve seen. The cats love it so much they fight over the top.

  8. My husband made this for our cats, and it seriously saved us our pet deposit when we moved! Kitties were much happier, and encouraged to scratch, climb and play on our “cat shelves.” We spent about $35 on our supplies, for 3 shelves.
    If you rent, don’t worry about the drill holes in the wall. (But always check with your landlord.) Unless you live in a very strict apartment, the holes in the wall shouldn’t need to be large enough to forfeit your deposit. In our apartment, the holes made in the wall were not considered big enough to count against our security deposit.

    • Agreed — and a little bit of putty/paint makes it invisible to even the crabbiest landlords!

      We actually had made a geriatric cat friendly cat tree too — out of kids cubby/toy boxes. We had several 15+ year old rescue cats and them jumping down from the old cat tree was going to get someone hurt.

  9. Not sure I’d want cats with razor sharp claws ready to pounce from above while sitting on the couch. Plus mine vomit a lot wouldn’t like to be in range. Good idea though.

  10. Wow this is amazing! I was just looking into something like this because we are moving to a new place soon, and then Offbeat Home delivers this! Awesome!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. NIFTY!! Love the idea- many thanks. Going to copy it for my cats’ outdoor play area (like a big bird cage really thats attached to the house.

  12. EVERY cat owner should have some kind of vertical space for your kitty – it literally fixes almost all behavioural problems – they need to be able to strut around on top of everyone like the Feline Overlords that they are . WE’RE NOT WORTHY!

  13. Hi! I love this! How did you secure the scratching post? Is it screwed into the shelves? If so, did you drill holes before wrapping the carpet on the shelves? The only other way I thought would be it was simply wedged between the shelves.

    Thanks for the idea!

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