Catification: Joy’s Easy to Install Cat Climbing Shelves

Joy knew she needed to add some vertical space in her home for her seven cats to enjoy. She made it easy on herself by finding pre-made shelves at a home improvement store, which she installed to create this terrific cat superhighway. We really like how the cats can access the shelves from the sofa, and then get down at the other end via the chest of drawers. In a multi-cat home, it’s important to make sure your cat superhighway includes both on- and off-ramps.

Here’s what Joy has to say about her cat shelves:

“I wish I could say I made them, but the shelves came from Home Depot. After watching My Cat From Hell one day, I went on the hunt for shelves to see if things would improve in this very full household, and they did. Of my seven cats, four of them LOVE the shelves!!! We have shelves in two rooms now.

They were very easy to install. I used heavy duty anchors (2 to 4, 75 lb rated anchors per shelf) because I have some heavy weights! The shelf slides on to a steel bar, to give it the floating look. Even my 13 year old Brittany LOVES them and goes up on the 11 foot high shelf.

I bought carpet stair treads and industrial-strength Velcro for the top so kitties won’t slip. I put baby blankets on lower shelves and beds on corner shelves.”

Notes from Jackson:

Joy shows us how to seamlessly integrate cat climbing shelves with her personal aesthetic. It’s obvious that she didn’t compromise her sense of style — the shelves look like they belong with the art on the walls. I also love the ease of movement from shelf to shelf and love the fact that the corner piece provides an escape route if necessary, instead of “cornering” a cat.

Have your own Catification project that you want to share? Click here to submit your photos!

The Catification column on is written by Cat Style Expert, Kate Benjamin. Kate specializes in environmental enhancement for living with cats and is the founder and editor of, the premiere online magazine for design-conscious cat people. Kate’s design expertise and Jackson’s cat behavior know-how combine to create cat-friendly environments that are sure to please both human and feline family members alike.

  1. Janna   July 30, 2012 at 9:16 am  

    Would love more information about exactly which shelves she used so I can attempt this in my own home!

  2. Jennifer   July 30, 2012 at 11:23 am  

    What Janna said. Where did she buy the shelves? How are they fastened to the wall? How much are the shelves. I find cat shelves quite difficult to research/purchase. I imagine you don’t want to use any old way to fasten the shelves to the wall as they must be stable to support a 10 pound cat. More info definitely needed here.

    1. silversofttail   November 27, 2012 at 10:17 am  

      Read the article again. Joy was quite specific about purchasing the shelves at Home Depot and the type of anchor she used. “I used heavy duty anchors (2 to 4, 75 lb rated anchors per shelf) because I have some heavy weights! The shelf slides on to a steel bar, to give it the floating look.”

      Take some initiative and do some research on Home

  3. sepi   July 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm  

    I would love to know what size shelves she bought! I looked on the home depot website and there are several different ones. 🙂

  4. Erin   July 31, 2012 at 11:49 am  

    I also installed a series of 4 shelves for my cat as we live in an apartment and I didn’t want him to get bored. The shelves reach up above 2 meters so that he could get right up above it all. However he won’t use them!!! Does anyone have suggestions as to how I can encourage him to use them?

    I have never had an indoor apartment cat before so I am new to this! Thanks for any advice!

    1. Guardian of the Evil one   August 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm  

      you might want to put some fabric or rug pieces on top. Sprinkle some cat nip or use a “teaser” type toy (stick with feather/fur strip/ sparkly pom pom) to introduce the cat from the floor to the pathway.

    2. Heather   November 19, 2012 at 12:08 am  

      My cats took a little bit before they’d start to go on the shelves I put up. I just started calling them up to the shelf and when they’d go to the one I’d want I’d give them a treat. I just persuaded them onto each shelf and give them a treat once they are there. After a couple times I didn’t need the treats and two of my cats use it pretty regularly and know the different paths they can use since I showed them. I also use toys up there so they associate the area with awesome things going on.
      I still have one cat that’s actually afraid of the shelves, he’ll latch onto me when I try to set him on one and then run away right away once I get him sitting down. I’ve just been letting him sit on one of the lower shelves trying to get him used to it and the entire time I’m petting him and talking to him and giving him treats to help make him comfortable and realize that it’s not scary. He’s getting better and staying on the shelves longer now though he still never climbs the shelves. I think he’ll come around though 🙂
      Hope this helps a bit.

  5. Dianda   August 4, 2012 at 1:09 am  

    It shows how easy it can be, just to create several levels for our cats.

  6. Erin   August 5, 2012 at 2:47 am  

    Thanks! We had tried a teaser toy but a had forgotten about the wonders of catnip!

  7. Jan Price   August 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm  

    I also would like to know which shelves she used. My biggest concern is that I live in an apartment and the walls are made of plasterboard (I think) and I need to know that my tubby tabby or my rambunctious “Weegie” won’t come tumbling down with a shelf.

    1. Shelia Jarrett   April 21, 2013 at 11:05 am  

      You put the screws in a stud. That secures it.

  8. ANTONIO FERNANDO TERRA   February 10, 2013 at 4:08 am  


  9. Nette   February 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm  

    When I wanted to get my kitty to use her floor-to-ceiling cat tree, I just teased her with a laser pointer until she’d followed it up to the top. Then for kicks, I aimed it onto my bed (the tree is in my bedroom). She now regularly climbs up to dive off onto the bed. Good times…goooood tiiimes….

  10. Bonnie   June 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm  

    I live in a 38ft 5th wheel and I was wondering, with such limited space how can I make my place fun for my cat. She loves to be up on things, but I have very little space to put cat trees or window seats. Help! I want her to be a happy kitty

  11. Joy McDaniel   July 2, 2013 at 7:18 am  

    These shelves are rated for 25lbs. I got them from Home Depot. Just shelves! But the heaviest weight ones. I like the floating look. I used a stud for one and a heavy duty anchor. 75lb rating. They are big white and work. Looks like a huge screw. Not the pop out side kinds. They break.

    We have 7 cats and foster as of right now. Our corner shelves hold 2 cats with no problem. And they are 13 lbs and 16lbs!!!

    TIP… Since you will be putting a tread or carpet on top, if you have heavy weights like one of mine, After attaching to the wall I took a 2 screws and washers per shelf and and drilled them through the top of the shelf. But my shelf had wood blocks inside to attach to wall. So may not work on some. The carpet tread covers it.

    1. Amber   April 26, 2014 at 9:39 am  

      You wouldn’t happen to remember the brand, would you? We’ve got quite a few big kitties, so heavy duty anchors will definitely be needed. Some of the floating shelves that Home Depot carries these days don’t mention a weight rating, though, including the most affordable of them. I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg putting up shelves, but if the shelves themselves aren’t up to the challenge, there’s really no point in buying the cheapest ones!

  12. Adrienne   April 20, 2014 at 6:11 pm  

    I know I’m late to this conversation, but I would really love to know the depth of these shelves. I’m attempting to make my own, but my space is limited and I’d prefer if the ‘climbing’ portion of the shelves weren’t as deep. These look slimmer than some of the others on the site, but still very successful!

    I tried looking on Home Depot, but they seem to have varied versions of these and obviously their stock may have changed since this was posted. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  13. amanda albrecht   April 21, 2014 at 7:39 pm  

    I live in Canada, Nanaimo, BC. On Vancouver Island. Born and raised in the USA. I spread info you and your tv and online shows & #TeamCatMojo. Will you ever visit Canada to meet your fans and spread the word about cat care and ways to help locally? I have owned many cats for 44 years and rescued my share. I have also promoted spaying & neutering and talked to girl guides about cat care. Thx donor being an inspiration. Rock on!!!!

  14. Christine Gardner   April 21, 2015 at 9:14 am  

    I bought some shelves and put them on the wall in a pattern of steps. However, the shelves pulled off the wall when the cats tried to used them – I took them down. I need to know how to make them more permanent/sturdy.

  15. Ap   August 29, 2015 at 9:31 am  

    I’m wondering what the minimum depth would need to be for a step or shelf have to be for a cat to be able to turn around when it’s against the wall.


We regret that Jackson does not answer questions posted in the comments. This is due to his demanding schedule and the high volume of requests he receives. But most importantly, since he has not met your cat, it would be contrary to his approach for him to give specific personalized advice for your specific situation. That being said, general questions and issues are addressed throughout this blog, in his book Cat Daddy and of course, the show My Cat From Hell.

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