Catification: DIY Cat Shelves to Boost Kitty's Confidence

DIY Cat Shelves Kate from Royal Oak, Michigan installed these cat shelves to help her cat, Doja, with some self-esteem issues. Oftentimes cats will be more secure and self-confident when they are able to climb to a higher place in a room, where they can survey their surroundings. Doja was afraid of everything and would always hide when guests came to visit. With her new cat shelves, Doja now comes out to visit!

DIY Cat Shelves

Using basic wooden boards and brackets from the hardware store, Kate created the perfect DIY cat shelves. The shelves are painted the same color as the walls so everything matches, and both felines and humans are happy.

DIY Cat Shelves

Notes from Jackson: Great work! It's fantastic to get to know your cat better by building vertical choices for him or her. The discovery that Doja is a tree dweller was key to building her confidence. The proof is in the pictures. Doja is not up on those shelves because they are a better place to hide from the world; as a matter of fact, seeing her cheek mark the shelf shows confident ownership of that area, and that's what we always want to see as a result of Catification.

There are a couple of things I'd like to see as Kate expands Doja's world: When shelves go deeper into the vertical world, I would like to see some kind of padding on the shelves, either sisal mats or fleece pads that can be attached to the shelves. The benefit is twofold: increase that ownership mojo by giving another surface that absorbs scent, and also keep everyone safe. Slippery surfaces are not a cat's friend when jumping from shelf to shelf, especially if they build up a head of steam.

Keep in mind the concept of the cat superhighway. You have two cats and a highway that abruptly ends. I would definitely have shelves on the left hand wall, leading them down from the apex. And in a multi-cat household, after all, a naked wall is crime against Catification!

DIY Cat Shelves

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.