How Wide And Deep Should Cat Shelves Be [And How Far Apart]

Cats are known to climb all over your home. This can be for play or resting while elevated. Now the best way to provide your cat elevated space is to install cat shelves. So we are here to help you determine the correct shelf width and depth that will satisfy your cat. With the help of cat experts, this is what we determined.

For a cat shelf, you would want the width to be 10" to 15" while the depth should not be smaller than 10". if you go any smaller than 10" for the depth of your shelf, your cat may not fit properly. For the spacing between the shelves, it's best to keep them at least 12" apart and around 18" for the vertical spacing.

Make sure you don't set the base of your cat shelf too high. You can also randomize the spacing between the shelves as long as it's within the given measurements. Please keep reading to learn how this enrichment will challenge your cat a bit, allowing your cat to burn off some of its stored energy. For more info on why your cat will benefit from having a cat shelf keep reading below.

the cat is sitting on the shelf, How Wide And Deep Should Cat Shelves Be [And How Far Apart]

Should I Get Cat Shelves?

Yes, you should definitely get one if you've got the means and space to acquire it. Have you ever noticed that your cat loves to climb on tall furniture or above your kitchen cabinets? Cats love the feeling of being high up and will continue to do so since this is in their nature.

calm cat in zen resting and dreaming on a shelf hanging under the ceiling

Vertical Territory

Cats' love of climbing might become a problem when they start climbing to places you don't want them to go. Giving them more vertical space or also known as vertical territory, will help stop your cat from climbing up unwanted places, using a cat shelf instead.


Acquiring a cat shelf could also give your cat the exercise it needs. Creating a cat shelf with different levels and distances will surely keep your cat entertained.

If you have multiple cats, this may also reduce the foot traffic in your house since most cats will tend to rest on these shelves instead of the floor, giving you the much-needed room to move around freely.

Restful Retreat

A cat shelf also relaxes your cat a lot. Cats are the type of animals who rest and sleep on higher ground. This feline trait comes from their instincts. Being above ground gives them the notion that they are safe from the dangers around them and gives them a good vantage point.

Even if your cat shelf isn't that high above the ground, it will still satisfy the needs of your cat.

How Do You Get A Cat To Use a Cat Shelf?

A seal point Birman cat, 9 month old cat , male with blue eyes is sitting on cat shelf

If your cat is hesitant to use your cat shelf, it might just mean that your cat is getting used to the new addition to their home. Cats are known to be curious animals, so placing a cat shelf will surely be noticed right away by your cat.

If your cat seems skeptical or doesn't show interest in checking the cat shelf out, here are some ways that may help with that.


Luring your cat with its favorite treat is a great way to get its attention and make it stay in one spot. Constantly giving them snacks on the shelf will show that the shelf is safe to stand on. Just keep in mind when giving them treats, don't give it too much as they might form a bad habit.

Toys & Enrichment

Another great way to lure your cat on the shelf is to use their favorite toy and play with them. Associating the cat shelf with playtime will make your cat feel safer and comfortable around or on it.

You can start by playing with your cat at the base of the cat shelf and work your way up. With some time and patience, your cat will soon realize there is nothing to fear and will be able to climb it on its own after a while.

Don't be too rough with your cat while playing with them on the shelves. If they aren't comfortable with the shelves playing rough might scare them away from ongoing use.

Bed or Pillow

If your cat has a bed or pillow that they like to lay on, try putting it on the shelf, your cat will look for it and soon find it on the shelf. Placing your cat's bed on top of the cat shelf will give your cat the motivation it needs to climb the cat shelf so that it can rest on its favorite resting cushion.

Why Is My Cat Climbing walls?

blue tabby maine coon kitten stretching and raising the paws up in the air in front of a white wall

No need to worry if you notice your cat acting weird by suddenly climbing or jumping up walls; your cat's actions are perfectly normal! There are multiple reasons why your cat would climb or jump up and down your walls. Here are a few of them.

Stored Energy

House cats usually get the reputation of being quite lazy, but this is not always the case. Cats are born with the instinct to hunt. That is why people will usually recommend getting a cat if you have a mouse problem.

This instinct to hunt will give your cat a burst of energy. If they are unable to release that stored energy, they will usually run around and jump on stuff until the burst of energy is over.

You'll notice this more frequently at night since cats are naturally nocturnal. This is also a good sign that your cat needs more enrichment. A great way to solve this is to play with your cat more often, get your cat a playmate, or buy your cat a new toy to play with.

Heightened Senses 

Cats have heightened senses; that's why they are able to react to what happens around them so quickly. You may not be able to see it, but your cat may be chasing a bug or debris that just happened to be on the wall at that time. 

Feeling Secure

Another explanation why your cat is jumping on your wall is because it's looking for elevation. Felines typically feel relaxed while elevated, that's why you'll see wild cats usually hanging or relaxing on a tree or on top of a rock. The elevation gives cats a sense of protection from the danger below them.

Do Cats Sleep In Cat Trees?

Cute cats playing on cat tower on white background isolated

Yes, cats do sleep in cat trees. Cat trees are great for your cat's health because it provides them with the relaxation they need.

Usually, a cat tree will be a scratching post at the bottom and above a resting place for your cat. Most cat trees have platforms on which a can relax and fall asleep. There are also cat trees that have beds and hiding places.

Here are some great options for a cat tree if you're planning to buy one.

Rabbitgoo Cat Tree Cat Tower With Condo

Click here to view this product on Amazon.

The Rabbitgoo cat tree tower is very sturdy and offers a 5-tier design with multiple resting and enrichment spots. The materials used for the interior and exterior are plushy faux-fur while the post is made of robust sisal rope.

WIKI 002G Cat Tree

Click here to view this product on Amazon.

The WIKI cat tree offers multiple resting areas for your cat, a dangling ball, and a condo for your cat to rest in. The materials used to make this cat tower are natural jute posts, faux fur, and compressed wood.


Gray and white cat lying on shelf

It is essential to pay attention to your cat's needs. If your cat is starting to climb all over your house, consider getting a cat shelf to keep your cat from climbing onto unwanted areas.

Keep in mind that you don't want the cat shelves to be too far apart or too high where your cat won't reach them. Putting the shelves too high may also injure your cat in case your cat slips.

For more cat tips, check out these posts:

How Long Does A Cat Tree Last?

How To Stop A Cat From Jumping On Shelves Without Punishing Her—9 Clever Methods!

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