Catification: Elegant Wooden Window Perch

Wooden Window Perch for Cat

Dee and her husband from Chicago, Illinois built these beautiful wooden window perches for their cats to enjoy the view from their study. Using pre-made shelving from the home improvement store, they were able to design these shelves for their cats in a way that integrates seamlessly with their decor. Here’s how Dee describes the project:

Our cats are really not climbers, but they do love to perch near windows to see the the outside world. We had a set of three windows in our study, but not a great deal of room. My husband decided to create a 7 ft x 16 in window perch complete with steps. He bought ready made closet shelves & brackets from Lowe’s in natural (it also comes in java or pecan colors) and he completed it in less than 3 hours. He also added an edge using crown molding.  It cost about $200, but could be made for much less if you want to cut, sand & stain the wood yourself. It’s one of the best things we ever did for our cats.

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. Duarte   June 30, 2013 at 7:26 am  

    Hi Jackson,
    I am moving into a unit with a balcony. I am concerned my cats will fall out – eight stories. The cats are from a shelter, 5 and 6 years old, and are indoor cats. They love the fresh air (used to curl up on my 10 inch window sills with screens). Are cats able to sense the danger or should I not allow them to go to the balcony?


    1. Christopher Nelson   July 2, 2013 at 8:45 am  

      I wouldn’t let them out there, EVER! It’s too risky.
      Just my POV.
      I’m sure others will agree.


    2. christina   July 2, 2013 at 9:03 am  

      I used to live in a third floor apartment with a balcony and our cats loved it. It took about a week of me going out with them and telling them not to get on the railing. One of our cats did jump up on the railing once(almost gave me a heart attack) but she looked down, saw how far the fall was and got down on her own and never did it again. We even got them a doggy door so they could go out whenever they wanted. Plus its a good place to put the cat box if your apartments is really small. I think it depends on the cats. Our cats managed to stay safe and never again pushed the limits, they simply enjoyed the fresh air. If your cats seem like they can handle it do it supervised at first and build from there, go slowly. Good luck!

      1. Nancy SS   July 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm  

        Cats do not have “Depth Perception”!! I unfortunately know of a number of them who have jumped, not knowing what to expect!! I know of two who lived with not-so-serious injuries after jumping from 7 and from 10 stories, (whose fall was broken before the ground), but I would never put a cat out on a balcony without it being screened. And even then I would worry!!!

        1. penelope tyler   December 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm  

          the idea of cats not having depth perception is ridiculous. even if they dont they are born to climb and jump and such. i used to live on the second floor and had a balcony. my cat was used to being outdoors so she was happy to have that option and never once tried to jump from it though when i lived in my previous house i would come home to find her on the roof, and there was no easy way up or down so obviously she figured it out on her own and was never hurt. natural climber, like i said. of course theres always risks but im sure the kitties would love it dearly. and if they didnt they just wouldnt go out. let them out. you can put something around the bottom if it makes you feel better. but my cat had full access as did others who replied and we never had a problem.

          1. penelope tyler   December 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm  

            oh and i put my box out there too which was really nice not to have it in my little apartment.

    3. Carly   July 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm  

      I have indoor kitties as well, but we’d love to build a “catio” for them one day. I probably wouldn’t let the cats out on the balcony-but I know many people do so without incident. However, cats can and do die from falling from balconies, so at the very least, I would be super-cautious if letting them out on a balcony. I would probably only let them out there if I was out there too. Or, would it be possible to close off the balcony at all? Maybe put up some chicken wire or some other type of screen that would close off any ways they could fall off? Just a suggestion-and I’d check with the apartment manager first to see if it’s even allowed.

    4. Catlady   December 4, 2013 at 8:16 am  

      There is no shortage of incidents of cats falling of balconies and being injured or killed. The ONLY way you should allow your cats on a balcony is if you enclose it. You can use deer netting or chicken wire and enclose the open front/sides from top to bottom. You can use 2 x 4’s to make posts on each side and along the bottom and then use a staple gun or (U shaped nails if you are using chicken wire) to fasten the material
      Another way is to follow what these folks did. The instructions are below

      The materials we used for our balcony pet enclosure were:

      6 meter length aluminum pipes cut to(for our balcony)
      3 pieces 3 meters long
      4 pieces 1 meter deep
      5 pieces 2.5 meters tall (you will probably only need 4 if your balcony is not very long)

      They can be cut with a hacksaw or a grinder.

      The pipes were connected with steel pipe joints. We used:

      8 3-way corner joints
      3 T-shaped joints

      In the 3-way joints are bolts which restrain the pipes running into them from moving.

      For the fencing we used wire mesh – it’s like chicken wire but the holes are rectangular and about 1 inch x 1/2 inch. We wrapped it over our frame and overlapped it for extra security.

      The mesh was attached to the pipes with plastic ties – we used about 50 or 60 of them. We also used the plastic ties to secure the overlapping mesh.

      We attached it to the house with 2 universal L brackets or plates.

      Basically, we made a box that was missing 2 sides – the floor and the side against the house being the missing sides, as they were unnecessary.

      WE also added an extra pipe because we had originally cut the length too short and we wanted to extend it.

    5. Aristacah   January 16, 2014 at 5:10 pm  

      I allowed my 16 year old out on the deck in our home and she fell – three stories. A trip to the vet showed nothing broken, but she was really sore and hurting for several weeks.

      Why not screen in your patio with plastic chicken wire available from your local hardware chain? It’s easy to put up and it keeps them safe!

    6. Merrihart   October 3, 2014 at 10:12 am  

      Hi Duarte,

      Still living with a balcony? I have a balcony I decided to cage in so my kitties could go out with me. It wasn’t too hard for me, as my balcony had a roof and side walls. I used 2×4’s to anchor 2×3 wire securely to the balcony and the walls. This would be harder if you don’t have a roof, but you might be able to manage.

      Just check with your leasing agent before you do it, to make sure it’s ok to alter the balcony. (Also, make sure it’s something that can be easily removed when you leave.)

  2. Joe J   July 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm  

    If possible, get some netting and put it up around the balcony. They can still get air and no chance of falling.

    1. marive   December 2, 2013 at 7:06 am  

      A cheap way to enforce security , is to buy the plastic net sold at Home Depot in the nursery department..Many people in Florida attach it to the screened balcony with some plastic braces,hopefully the rail was left inside giving way to attach it.
      If you have a screened window,let the cat sit in the ledge ,but open the window a mere inch,so they can entertain with smells and sounds coming from the surrounding areas.

  3. Gloria   July 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm  

    I would not take a chance…there are other safer ways like windowsill shelves or cat trees placed by the windows for them to lay on. Accidents happen.

  4. Dusty Street   September 3, 2013 at 8:20 am  

    Jackson, I have a 14 yr old indoor/outdoor boy cat who just won’t play with any of the toys I get him , even the laser pointer doesn’t interest him. It’s fine during nice weather because he can go outside and hunt but I live where the winter is 5 months long. What can I do to keep him active when it’s 30 degrees outside?

    1. marive   December 2, 2013 at 7:08 am  

      Yesterday I found out that Amazon has this old school toy for cats…it was given 5 stars, and they keep on saying it is a simple spring with cardboard ,less than 5 dollars.

      1. Ann   December 2, 2013 at 6:40 pm  

        I’ve had many of those, Marive, and they all loved them! Even more when I attached a shoestring to the end & let them chase after and jump for that. I still have 1 ancient coil with the cardboard end intact. Happy to know that Amazon sells them!

  5. irem   November 23, 2013 at 9:32 pm  

    I had took an outdoor cat I found on the street to my home 2 years ago. I’m at 9 th floor. I had him for 7 months. One day when I was at work, I got a call from my bf. That He opened the balcony door and the cat fell. He immediately took him to the vet and I met him there. We tried about 4 hours and still couldnt save him. I definately dont recommend it. It’s really not worth the risk for that kind of pain

  6. Ann   December 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm  

    It’s called High-Rise syndrome — cats, and is a well-known fatality risk. My cats would come out to the terrace to sit with me (both too chubby to jump up), and I used the plastic mesh from Home Deport, tied to the railings with cable ties, to ensure that they wouldn’t slip out that way between railings. Nonetheless, a rescue I had for about 6 months — who’d never shown any interest in jumping to the upper railing — slipped out one morning when I’d turned my back for literally 5 mins. I don’t know if she saw a bird or a bee & tried to grab at it, but when I finally found her 6 floors below in the parking lot, she was too badly injured to be saved. I will never, ever forget her agony & my panic. Make sure your terraces or balconies are enclosed. It’s not expensive and will save you a great deal, in the end.


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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