Cat Shelves

Remember yesterday when I said that I hate those carpeted cat trees?  I do.  I don’t know if I’d mind them so much if we had a bigger place, but we don’t.  We have a tiny place.  So having to find floor space to house a cat contraption is pretty much impossible.  Putting it near a window so they can look outside – definitely impossible.  Enter cat shelves.

I looked online (of course) for an alternative to the standard carpeted tree and I found a whole bunch of stuff.  I liked the idea of a lot of them, but some of them were kinda ugly (I’m not a huge fan of kitty footprints all over things) or, of course, expensive.  For example, I initially found the Buddha Square Cat Habitat shelves which are…$100 each.  Uhhhh…yeah, no.  I mean, I guess things made out of bamboo are environmentally friendly or something?  Unless they are saving the world one cat at a time, I cannot understand why someone would pay $100 for a shelf.  For their cat.  Then I remembered that I have a Ryan.  And there was an Ikea nearby.  And now I had an excuse to drag Ryan to Ikea.  HA!  He totally loves it there.  Not.

So, after buying Ikea’s Ekby Jarpen shelves (I get that they’re a foreign company, but the names…they sound like diseases – “Lizzie called in sick to work today.  She’s got Ekby Jarpen Disease.”), cutting them down to size, attaching some fancy pants Flor carpeting (using double-sided tape) to the top and hanging them strategically on the walls, we have this:

“But what about the scratching post part?  I mean, that’s part of the draw of those GORGEOUS cat trees.” you say incredulously.  Bam:

Ryan took a piece of plywood, bent it and screwed it into the wall and floor.  Then he covered it with a sisal remnant (sold on eBay) which Ralph seems to love.  Side note – when Ralph is being attacked by Ted, we can always judge the severity of the attack by what step Ralph runs to.  The shelf pictured above is “Stepcon 1.”  He has been known to go IMMEDIATELY to Stepcon 3 which means I need to have the squirt gun ready in case the ordeal needs to be minimized.  Oh Ted…

But, my favorite part of having these shelves is this:

When Ralph stares down at us like he’s the king of the world.  He always looks very haughty.  Like he knows he’s untouchable.  Well, until Ted decides he’s not.


**UPDATE** Since we attached the Flor carpeting using double-sided tape, we were able to replace it easily.  Plus, we painted the wall grey and it was a little barfy with the brown and light blue carpet.  ANYWAY, here are some updated pix!  Oh, and you’ll notice that we got rid of that extra piece of wood we had on the second highest shelf.  They finally stopped having that look in their eye like they were going to plummet to their death from that shelf, so we took the “safety rail” off.


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  1. Lynnnnnn
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    This post is a DELIGHT.

    • Lizzie
      Posted May 9, 2012 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

      Which part? It’s the picture of Ralph, isn’t it…

      • MyKinKStar
        Posted June 19, 2012 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

        Ah, I am a SUCKA for a Tuxie Cat, so yes . . . it’s because of your Ralph that this is so much more better!

        • Lizzie
          Posted June 19, 2012 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

          He really does make everything better. Even makes the apartment look better and more stylish, doesn’t he?!

        • Lizzie
          Posted June 19, 2012 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

          This doesn’t appear to be posting and I wanted to respond because you think Ralph is handsome and I don’t want to discourage anyone from thinking that. That being said, he really does make everything better. Even makes the apartment look better and more stylish, doesn’t he?!

  2. Lynnnnnn
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    Saving the world, one cat at a time… Ekby Jarpen disease… Stepcon 1… and, of course, Ralph.

    • Lizzie
      Posted May 9, 2012 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

      It was chock full o’ funny. LOL.

  3. Posted May 11, 2012 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Those looks awesome. Since we don’t have cats, and I don’t think hanging out above couch-level is the dog’s scene, I am seriously considering this set-up just to use as book shelves. I know, it takes all the fun of it not having live animals up there.

    • Lizzie
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

      HA! Live animals…

    • Lynnnnn
      Posted May 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

      Wife (and Lizzie), how did you choose your own profile pic thumbnail? Mine just defaulted to some Space Invaders-type image with blah colors.

      • Lizzie
        Posted May 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

        I think it’s through your WordPress account. There’s an option to change your profile picture.

      • Posted May 14, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

        Lynnnnn, I signed up with Gravatar, and it automatically does the profile photo on (most) blogs by recognizing the email.

  4. Posted August 30, 2012 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    Love these. I want some!

    • Lizzie
      Posted August 30, 2012 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

      They’re the best. Ralph and Ted LOVE them! AND…they’re going to be “featured” in Modern Cat Magazine’s premier issue in September! Watch, they won’t now…LOL.

  5. Anjanette Rassif
    Posted September 10, 2012 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    I have been contemplating this for a long time now. I just sold my massive, hideous carpeted cat tree and I’m ready! I just have one question.. one of my cats is on the “husky” side. Do you think those brackets will hole or should I opt for a bracket with a double anchor point underneath?

    • Lizzie
      Posted September 10, 2012 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

      Hey! I’m so glad you’re thinking about giving this a go! Carpeted cat trees are so gaggy. Blecht. And I know what you mean about “husky” cats. Things can get a bit complicated when making stuff for them. Ralph weighs over 15 pounds and we used triple grip anchors like these ( which are said to hold up to 75 lbs. But if you’re nervous, Ryan said you could still use the same brackets but use a toggle bolt like these ( instead of regular anchors as they hold a lot more. You’ll just need to drill the hole a little larger to fit the toggle in the wall. It might be overkill, but it’ll definitely give you some peace of mind. :)

      And send pictures if you end up doing it! I’d LOVE to see them!

  6. Cindy
    Posted November 12, 2012 at 6:24 AM | Permalink

    OMG! I am so glad I found this site!! Yesterday I found Minion (solid black polydacyt) on top of the 9 foot armoire. No clue HOW he got up there…. he is only 8-9 months old, depending on who you believe, the vet or the adoption place… ANYWAY, glad to know that I don’t have to spend an arm and leg to keep Minion off the floor with safe choices!!!

    • Lizzie
      Posted November 12, 2012 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

      They’re SO TRICKY, aren’t they?! And I’m glad to be of service! :)

  7. 3cats
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    Love this! How far apart did you put each shelf? Want to take some measurements and head to Ikea this weekend.

    • Lizzie
      Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

      Your cat(s) will LOVE them. Now down to specifics. The bottom three shelves are 3 inches from each other width wise and 12 inches in height. The top three are lined up width wise (hopefully that’ll make sense when you look at the picture), but still 12 inches in height. Let me know if I’ve just completely confused you. LOL.

  8. Posted May 29, 2013 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    With an addition of a new kitten, we decided it was time to install some cat shelves. When I started looking for some inspiration I came across this! Such a great idea and totally practical! Thanks for a great blog post & idea!

    • Lizzie
      Posted May 29, 2013 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

      Thanks!! If you end up making some, shoot over some pix. I’d love to see them!

  9. Mandi
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    Wow, your cats are so beautiful!
    I love the cat tower idea, I’m going to make one for my kitties too :)
    Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and pics!

    • Lizzie
      Posted June 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

      Thanks so much! I think they’re pretty handsome. :)

  10. Sarah
    Posted July 22, 2013 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    I am so excited that I found this. I’m not hopeless around tools nor would I say I lack creativity, but it’s nice to see someone else say “hey, I did this, and it actually worked!” I will be moving into a new apartment in a couple of weeks and I have already grabbed the necessary equipment from IKEA/hardware store so the kitties will have a fancy new wall to chill on upon their arrival. :)

    • Lizzie
      Posted July 22, 2013 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

      Woohoo! They’ll love it! And send pix if you can. I’d love to see your vertical kitty lounge!

  11. Posted July 23, 2013 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    I am coming back to comment a second time on this great project. I wanted to share my DIY cat shelves! You were definitely inspiration for this project and now I have a very happy cat and kitten :)

    • Lizzie
      Posted July 23, 2013 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

      LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!! I’m so happy I was able to inspire someone! Anyone! Oh and…where did you get that cat picture? I feel like I pretty much have to have it. And I will be very jealous if you say that you drew it yourself. Actually, I’ll be a little angry. I’m so untalented and it’s very unfair. Thanks, Universe!!

      But thanks so much again for sharing this! Job well done!

      • Posted July 23, 2013 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

        I wish I drew that! I can maybe draw a stick man…maybe…haha. Anyways, I actually found this print at a senior’s garage sale. I not only fell in love with it when I saw it, I’m pretty sure the 85 year old grandma who sold it to me drew it and she only charged me $2.50….Amazing! It worked perfectly into the project and all it needed was a nice black frame :)

        • Lizzie
          Posted July 23, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

          Good grief. I didn’t think I could be angrier, but I am. $2.50? Why doesn’t that ever happen to me????

          • Posted July 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

            Right? It’s my new treasure! haha If I ever find a second one, you’ll be the first to know!

  12. trica betz
    Posted August 8, 2013 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

    Shelves come in 7 1/2″ width and 11″ width. Which one did you use?

    • Lizzie
      Posted August 8, 2013 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

      We got the 11″ width. We wanted them to be able to comfortably sit and/or lay on all of them.

  13. Cecilia
    Posted August 31, 2013 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

    I love these shelves and I’m trying to gather up all the stuff I’ll need to make my own set! I just have one question, what kind of tape did you use exactly to hold the carpet to the shelving? Ok I lied, I have 2 questions lol… Any issues with the tape not holding the carpet on?

    • Lizzie
      Posted August 31, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

      Yay!! Do it! We just used regular old Scotch double-sided tape. It’s never moved or come up at all and “the boys” are running and scratching on that thing all day.

  14. Anna
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    If you bought a few of the shelves and cut them down, didn’t you have to buy extra brackets so you had enough? Just didn’t see any mention of that…

    • Lizzie
      Posted January 16, 2014 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

      Ikea sells their shelves separate from the brackets. That way you can choose the brackets you want. We had to buy brackets for each shelf we hung.

  15. Posted February 9, 2014 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

    Exactly how did you attach every thing together?

    I generally such as using drywall screws, but fingernails are really a whole
    lot faster.

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    • Lizzie
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

      I hope you never really use your fingernails… ;)

  16. Stephanie
    Posted April 24, 2014 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    What size did you cut each shelf?

    • Lizzie
      Posted April 24, 2014 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

      Three are 14″, two are 20″ and one is 26″.

  17. T
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    Hey! “For their cat.”
    NO! I’d do much more for a cat!
    Cats are love. Cats are life. Seriously! :)
    Cats have been more family to me than any human ever has my whole life.

  18. Monica Soeun
    Posted December 6, 2014 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    I just have to say, I love this! I created my own little shelves for my cat, and she loves it! I was just wondering, what did you do to put that safety shelf up? Every time I look at my cat on the top shelf, she always looks like she wants to jump and I’m just worried she might!