A Complete Guide to Cat Shelves and Why They’re a Must

Ever found your cat perched precariously on top of your bookshelf or lounging on the kitchen cabinets?

Cats, by nature, crave height and the chance to survey their territory from an elevated vantage point.

But what if you could give them their own personal "sky lounge," one that could also save your precious furniture from sharp claws?

Welcome to the world of cat shelves!

In this article, we delve into the perfect dimensions for a cat shelf, how it promotes good feline health, and some expert tips on encouraging your cats to use these spaces.

With insights from cat experts, we've got everything you need to create a safe and engaging environment for your furry friend.

Read on and discover how cat shelves can revolutionize your cat's indoor experience!

The Cat Shelf Solution: Determining the Perfect Dimensions

Ever noticed your cat clambering all over your furniture? All for a bit of high-altitude fun or to enjoy a nap perched high above.

Wait! Don't go away just yet. There's a simple solution - Cat Shelves!

Ready for the best part? We're here to help you choose the right shelf size. With some advice from cat experts, here's what we found.

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

Your cat shelf should be 10" to 15" wide with a minimum depth of 10".

Why 10" depth, you ask? Any less, and your cat may not fit comfortably.

Now, how about the distance between the shelves? Aim for at least 12" horizontally and around 18" vertically.

Mind you, don't mount the shelves too high! A bit of variation in the spacing can add some fun.

But, it gets even better! Keep reading to learn about the exciting challenge these shelves provide. They can help your feline friend burn off that pent-up energy.

Should You Invest in Cat Shelves? A Comprehensive Look at the Benefits

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

The Concept of Vertical Territory: A Natural Solution for Cats' Climbing Needs

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.

Promoting Feline Fitness: How Cat Shelves Encourage Exercise

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.

Creating a Cozy Sanctuary: The Relaxing Impact of Cat Shelves

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

The Art of Feline Persuasion: Encouraging Your Cat to Use the 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.

The Treat Tactic

Draw your cat in with a treat they love. This will hold their attention. It will also encourage them to stay put.

Regularly offer treats on the shelf. This shows your cat that the shelf is a safe perch. But remember to be careful with the number of treats. Too many might lead to a naughty habit.

Explore the balance between rewards and habits while bonding with your precious cat.

Introducing Playtime and Enrichment on the Shelf

Engage your cat with their cherished toy on the shelf. This playtime association will encourage your cat to see the shelf as a safe, comfortable space.

Start at the shelf's base. Play there first. Then, gradually move the play higher. This journey requires time and patience.

But soon, your cat will discover there's nothing to fear. Before you know it, they'll be climbing the shelf on their own.

Take it easy during playtime. Be gentle on the shelves. A rough play might unsettle them, discouraging regular shelf use.

Foster trust and comfort with your cats while helping them discover this new adventure zone.

Using Comfort Items to Attract Your Cat

Move your cat's favorite bed or pillow onto the shelf. Your cat will soon seek it out.

By placing the familiar comfort of their bed on the shelf, you provide a reason to climb. They'll want to find their beloved cushion up there.

This will motivate your cat to explore new heights for their beloved rest time.

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

Deciphering Feline Behavior: Why Is My Cat Climbing Walls?

If your cat suddenly starts climbing or leaping onto walls, there's no need to be alarmed. It's perfectly normal behavior for these curious and agile creatures.

Cats are naturally inquisitive and the desire to explore can often lead them to unexpected places, including your walls.

Your home is their playground and every surface is a new and exciting challenge to be conquered.

Even though they're domesticated, cats retain their wild instincts. One of these is the instinct to hunt.

Sometimes, your cat might chase imaginary prey along your walls, tapping into their instinctual drive.

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

Climbing and jumping are also great forms of exercise for cats. It helps keep them agile, tones their muscles, and satisfies their need for physical activity.

They love the stretch and the physical challenge that comes with scaling vertical surfaces.

In addition, your walls might serve as a territory marker for your cat. Cats often scratch or climb on surfaces to leave their scent, marking it as their own territory.

Burning off Stored Energy: The Impact of a Cat's Hunting Instinct

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.

The Role of Heightened Senses in Feline Behavior

A cat's behavior is greatly influenced by its heightened senses. These sharp senses equip cats to react swiftly to their surroundings, creating an interactive and dynamic relationship with their environment.

Cats have exceptional vision. They can see even in near-dark conditions, giving them the ability to detect movements that humans may find imperceptible.

So, if your cat suddenly leaps at the wall, they might be chasing an elusive bug or a tiny piece of debris, unseen to the human eye.

They're not just random acrobatics; it's a mini hunting expedition right in your living room!

Their acute sense of hearing also comes into play. Cats can detect a wider range of frequencies than humans or even dogs.

They can pick up high-pitched sounds that are inaudible to us. A rustling insect within the wall or an ultrasonic squeak might just be the trigger for your cat's wall-climbing escapade.

Furthermore, their highly developed sense of touch, particularly through their whiskers, helps them gauge distances and navigate tight spots.

This comes in handy when they're leaping or climbing, helping them to make precise movements.

A cat's world is a sensory feast. They are attuned to stimuli that we might not even notice. This understanding can open our eyes to the rich tapestry of experiences that constitute our feline companions' lives.

So, next time your cat bounds off the wall, remember - there's a whole sensory world at play in that leap.

Three cats looking up the wall ready to scratch and hunt. Young kittens play time.

Seeking Elevation: Understanding Cats' Need for Security

The pursuit of elevation is a core aspect of feline behavior, and it provides an insightful explanation for why your cat is frequently scaling your walls.

This need for height is deeply rooted in a cat's natural instincts, drawn from their wild ancestry.

In the wild, cats often choose to rest or observe their surroundings from elevated locations, such as tree branches or rock outcroppings.

This habit serves more than a leisure purpose; it's primarily about security. From these heights, cats can survey their domain, watching for potential threats and prey alike.

Elevation provides a safe retreat, a perch that keeps them out of the reach of larger predators.

In a domestic setting, your cat carries these same instincts. Your walls, furniture, and shelves become their trees and rocks, providing the high vantage points they instinctively seek.

Your cat's leap onto the wall can be seen as a quest for security and a broader view of their territory.

But it's not just about safety. Height also brings pleasure and stimulation for cats.

From these elevated spots, they can watch the world go by, engaging their curious minds and providing an exciting change of perspective.

Understanding your cat's need for elevation will help you cater to their natural inclinations and make them feel more secure and satisfied in your home.

A happier, relaxed cat contributes to a happier home.

Top Picks in Cat Shelves: Elevated Perches for Happy and Contented Cats

When it comes to providing the ultimate lounging and play spaces for your feline companions, cat shelves are a fantastic solution.

These elevated perches offer a sense of security and allow your cats to observe their surroundings from a higher vantage point.

To help you choose the perfect cat shelf for your furry friends, we have curated a list of top picks that combine style, functionality, and durability.

From sleek and modern designs to multi-level options, these cat shelves will not only enhance your cats' comfort but also add a touch of elegance to your home.

Best Modern Design Cat Shelf - LIORCE Cat Shelf with Comfortable Cat Cushion

This stylish, wall-mounted cat shelf from LIORCE offers a modern and practical solution for your cat's need to perch, play, climb, and lounge.

The large size and innovative lotus leaf design provide an inviting and elevated space for your cat to enjoy.

Click Here To See This Modern Cat Shelf On Amazon

Key Features:

  1. Higher Point of View: Gives cats an opportunity to observe their surroundings from a height, offering both mental stimulation and a sense of security.
  2. Curved Design: Lotus Leaf Design is tailored to cater to cats' preference for resting in curved spaces. Its sleek design suits any home decor without occupying any floor space.
  3. Comfort: Comes with a thick, comfortable cat cushion with Velcro on the bottom for scratch protection.
  4. Ideal Dimension: The large size of 20.7" x 12" x 4.9" (L x W x H) is perfect for indoor cats and can accommodate two cats at the same time.
  5. Easy to install: The package includes instructions, screws, and drywall anchors, making the installation process a breeze.


  • Provides a high vantage point for cats, catering to their natural instincts.
  • The modern design looks great in any home.
  • Includes a comfortable, thick cushion for added cat comfort.
  • The large size can accommodate two cats simultaneously.
  • Easy to install with all necessary hardware included.


  • A higher price point than some other cat shelves on the market.
  • Wall mounting may not be suitable for all homes or walls.

Best Cat Wall Shelf Set - SHENGOCASE Large Cat Wall Bed

The SHENGOCASE 3-Pack Wall Bed set offers multi-level, wall-mounted shelves with attached cuddler beds for your cat's comfort and play.

Its sturdy design and spacious platforms are perfect for your feline friend to lounge, jump, and play.

Click Here To See This Cat Wall Shelf Set On Amazon

Key Features:

  1. 3-Pack Cat Wall Beds: Each platform measures 13"(L) x 15.7"(W), providing enough room for your cat to move around freely.
  2. Cozy Cat Cushion Bed: The beds are filled with high-quality polyester wadding, offering a smooth and warm touch that your cat will love.
  3. Sturdy & Durable: The shelves are made from 0.6" thick natural solid wood, providing strength and longevity to comfortably hold cats up to 20 lbs.
  4. Easy Assembly: All required assembly instructions and hardware are included in the package.
  5. Machine Washable: The cat cushion bed is attached to the wood platform with hook & loop tapes. It can be easily removed for washing.


  • Spacious platforms and cozy cushion beds provide comfort and space for your cat.
  • Durable and sturdy construction ensures safety and longevity.
  • The set includes three wall beds, providing excellent value for money.
  • The cushion beds are machine washable for easy maintenance.


  • Assembly requires a drilling machine and some patience.
  • Wall mounting may not be suitable for all homes or walls.
  • The color choice is limited to a single option.

Best Combination Cat Shelf and Tree - On2 Pets Bundle

The On2Pets Bundle brings a unique combination of a cat activity tree with wall-mounted cat shelves.

This bundle enhances your cat's indoor experience with multiple levels for playing, jumping, and relaxing.

Designed with a commitment to durability and style, it's an all-in-one package for your cat's comfort and play needs.

Click Here To See This Combination Cat Shelf And Tree On Amazon

Key Features:

  1. Complete Bundle: Includes a 4-ft Cat Tree and two curved cat canopies.
  2. Multi-level Play and Rest Areas: Ideal for multiple cats or a single cat to jump from shelf to shelf.
  3. High-Quality Materials: Made with engineered wood and silk for durability and comfort.
  4. Functional Design: Combines functionality with style, providing a piece that complements room decor.
  5. Product Dimensions: Each unit measures 24"L x 24"W x 60"H, perfect for cats of all sizes.


  • A combination of the cat tree and wall-mounted shelves provides varied play and rest areas.
  • Durable and high-quality materials ensure product longevity.
  • Stylish design enhances the look of your home.
  • Suitable for cats of all breed sizes.


  • The product is relatively expensive compared to single cat shelves or trees.
  • Requires more space than a simple wall shelf or standalone tree.
  • Assembly and installation may require time and effort.

Best Stylish Cat Shelf - CasaFelidae® Cat Shelf The Perch

The CasaFelidae® Cat Shelf The Perch brings a stylish and modern look to cat furniture.

Designed as a wall-mounted perch, it creates a personalized cat jungle gym, offering a comfortable space for your feline friend while decluttering your floor.

This shelf is an excellent addition to a chic, cat-loving household.

Click Here To See This Stylish Cat Shelf On Amazon

Key Features:

  1. Space-Saving Design: Easily mounts to any wall, freeing up floor space and creating an in-air cat jungle gym.
  2. Hypoallergenic: Comes with a cozy plush beige cushion that is easily detachable and machine washable.
  3. Compatibility: Pairs well with stylish steps, a hammock, or a scratching post, giving your cat a comprehensive play and rest area.
  4. Durable Frame: Made from premium solid plywood board to support all types of cat activities.
  5. Stylish: Chic modern design that complements any interior decor.


  • Stylish and modern design enhances your interior decor.
  • Space-saving wall-mounted design.
  • Hypoallergenic, machine-washable cushion for easy maintenance.
  • Durable construction supports various cat activities, including very large cats.


  • More expensive than some other cat shelf options.
  • Requires wall installation, which may not be suitable for all homes.
  • Hand wash-only care instruction might be inconvenient for some users.

Stylish and Functional Perches for Your Feline Friends

When it comes to providing your cats with a space to play, rest, and observe, cat shelves are an excellent choice.

These elevated perches not only give your cats a sense of security but also help declutter your floor space.

Choose the cat shelf that best suits your needs and the preferences of your feline friends.

These recommendations provide elevated spaces for your cats to enjoy, giving them the perfect perch to observe their surroundings and indulge in their natural instincts.

Elevate your cat's life with these stylish and functional cat shelves.

Exploring Other Vertical Spaces: Do Cats Sleep in Cat Trees?

Absolutely, cats do sleep in cat trees! Cat trees are like multi-story playgrounds for our feline friends.

They offer the vertical elevation cats love, along with cozy spots for some much-needed relaxation.

Most cat trees come equipped with several features that cater to a cat's diverse needs. The lower sections typically sport a scratching post – an essential tool for cats to groom their claws and mark their territory.

As you ascend the tree, you'll find resting platforms where your cat can lounge and survey their domain.

These spots offer the perfect balance between engagement with their surroundings and relaxation.

Even more, some cat trees are upgraded with comfy beds and secretive hiding spots.

These additions tap into a cat's desire for coziness and seclusion, offering a perfect retreat for a nap or some quiet time.

If you're considering adding a cat tree to your home, there are numerous options out there, designed to fit all sorts of cat personalities and living spaces.

Choosing the right cat tree can enhance your cat's well-being and add an extra touch of feline fun to your home.

Ready to explore the world of cat trees? Together, we can find the perfect 'tree' for your feline companion to climb, scratch, play, and nap on. Let's get started on this exciting journey!

Product Recommendations: Top Picks for Cat Trees

Let's delve into the art of picking the perfect cat tree. A good cat tree is more than a piece of furniture; it's a sanctuary for your cat.

It provides an outlet for their natural instincts. It's a place for play, rest, and observation. Selecting the right one is crucial.

What should you look for in a cat tree? Here are some key features:

  1. Size and Height: Consider your cat's size and agility. Bigger cats need sturdy, wide platforms. Does your cat love climbing? A tall tree might be ideal.
  2. Stability and Quality: Safety first! A good cat tree is robust and well-balanced. It can withstand your cat's playful antics without toppling over.
  3. Variety of Platforms: Multiple platforms offer different vantage points. This diversity keeps your cat engaged and satisfied.
  4. Inclusion of Scratching Posts: A cat tree with built-in scratching posts is a double win. It serves both playtime and grooming needs.
  5. Comfort Features: Look for features like beds and cubbies. These add a touch of coziness, offering a comfy nap spot.
  6. Aesthetics and Space Suitability: Pick a tree that blends with your decor. Ensure it fits well in your available space.

Choosing the right cat tree can transform your feline's life. It provides enrichment and promotes healthy behaviors.

Let's journey together into finding the perfect one for your furry friend. Are you ready? Let's dive in.

Top Pick for Large Cats - IMUsee 68 Inches Multi-Level Cat Tree

This luxurious, multi-level cat tree is specially designed for large cats.

It provides a variety of entertainment and relaxation options, including plush perches, condos, and sisal scratching posts. It comes in a smoky grey color that can blend seamlessly with any decor.

Click Here To See This Cat Tree For Large Cats On Amazon

Key Features:

  1. Generous Dimensions: With a size of 16"L x 20"W x 68"H, this cat tree offers ample space for your feline friends to explore, play, and relax.
  2. Durable Construction: This cat tree ensures exceptional stability and longevity. The included wall attachment strip adds an extra layer of security, preventing any tipping or wobbling.
  3. Multi-Layered Playhouse: Designed to accommodate multiple cats, the spacious playhouse provides an exciting vertical environment for your pets to climb and discover.
  4. Ultimate Comfort and Entertainment: The cat tree features two fluffy condos, perfect for cozy naps and comfortable resting spots. Additionally, three furry balls and a scratching ladder stimulate play and provide an outlet for scratching needs.
  5. Quality Materials: Crafted with a combination of engineered wood, plush fabric, and sisal rope, this cat tree ensures both durability and comfort.


  • Sturdy and safe with its high-density construction and wall attachment strip
  • A multi-layered design offering several play and rest options
  • Sisal rope coiled posts help encourage positive scratching behavior
  • Easy to assemble with step-by-step instructions and tools included.


  • Slightly pricier than some other options, but justified by its size and quality
  • May require substantial floor space due to its dimensions
  • Color options are limited.

Best Budget Option - Amazon Basics Cat Tree Indoor Climbing Activity Tower

This multi-level cat tree from Amazon Basics offers an affordable option for cat playtime, scratching, and snoozing.

It includes several jute rope-wrapped scratching posts and a round top platform that doubles as a cat bed.

Click To See This Budget Option For Cat Trees On Amazon

Key Features:

  1. Ideal Dimensions: Measuring 17.72"L x 17.72"W x 45.88"H, this cat tree provides a compact yet functional space for your indoor feline companions to explore and relax.
  2. Quality Materials: Crafted from wood, carpet, and jute, this cat tree offers a durable and comfortable environment for your cats to enjoy.
  3. Indoor Exclusive: Specifically designed for indoor use, this cat tree is perfect for creating a designated space for your cats to play, scratch, and lounge.
  4. Multiple Scratching Posts: With 7 scratching posts wrapped in enticing jute rope, this cat tree encourages healthy scratching behaviors, keeping your cats' claws engaged and saving your furniture from unwanted scratches.
  5. Cozy Sleeping Area: The round top platform features raised sides and a curved rim, providing a secure and cozy sleeping area for your cats. They can curl up, rest, and observe their surroundings from their own peaceful retreat.
  6. Stable Base: The square-shaped base ensures stability, making it an ideal choice for placement in room corners. Your cats can explore and play with confidence, knowing that their cat tree is secure and sturdy.


  • Affordable while still offering multiple levels for play and relaxation.
  • Jute rope-wrapped scratching posts are a great outlet for scratching behavior.
  • The compact size makes it suitable for smaller spaces.
  • A stable square-shaped base enhances safety.


  • Might not be as durable as higher-priced options.
  • May not be suitable for larger cats due to its size.
  • Limited style and color options are available.

Premium Pick - Catit Vesper High Base Giant Cat Tree

The Catit Vesper High Base Giant Cat Tree is a deluxe piece of cat furniture.

This giant cat tree boasts an extra-wide observation platform, a spacious den, memory foam cushions, and seagrass scratching posts.

It's designed with large cats or multi-cat households in mind.

Click Here To See This Premium Pick Cat Tree On Amazon

Key Features:

  • Premium Material: Crafted from high-quality MDF with a walnut-look laminate finish, this cat tree offers a stylish and durable construction that will enhance any living space.
  • Stability and Safety: The sturdy structure and stable base of this cat tree ensure excellent stability, providing a secure environment for your feline friends to climb, play, and relax without the risk of tipping over.
  • Ultimate Comfort: The cat tree features soft memory-foam cat bed cushions, offering a plush and cozy resting spot for your cats. They can enjoy their own comfortable retreat for peaceful lounging.
  • Effective Scratching Solution: Equipped with extra-thick seagrass scratching posts, this cat tree promotes healthy scratching behaviors, providing your cats with an enticing and durable surface to satisfy their natural instincts.
  • Spacious Design: With a large cozy cubed den boasting three entrances, this cat tree offers ample space for your cats to play, hide, and rest. It is specifically developed to accommodate large cats or multiple-cat households, ensuring everyone has their own cozy spot to enjoy.


  • Spacious, offering enough room for large cats or multiple cats
  • Comfortable with memory-foam cat bed cushions
  • Durable and sturdy, with a stable base to prevent tipping
  • Easy to clean with its walnut-look laminate finish
  • Extra-thick seagrass scratching posts for a great scratching experience


  • The premium price point may not fit all budgets
  • Requires more floor space due to its larger dimensions
  • The walnut finish may not match all home decor

Cat Trees: The Purr-fect Choice for a Happy, Healthy Feline

Choosing the right cat tree for your feline friend can significantly enhance their quality of life.

Cat trees provide both entertainment and relaxation space that caters to their innate instincts to scratch, climb, and observe their surroundings from an elevated position.

In essence, a well-chosen cat tree can create a safe, secure, and stimulating environment for your cat.

Whether it's used for playful acrobatics, a peaceful snooze, or a satisfying scratch, a cat tree can enrich your cat's daily life and contribute to their overall well-being.

Remember to consider your cat's size, age, and preferences while choosing a cat tree, and you'll be rewarded with a happier, more content feline friend.

Cat Shelves: Creating a Vertical Paradise for Your Furry Friends

Gray and white cat lying on shelf

In conclusion, cat shelves are indispensable additions to any cat lover's home.

By providing elevated perches, these unique and essential pieces of furniture fulfill your cat's innate desires for exploration, relaxation, and observation.

From sleek and modern designs to multi-level structures, cat shelves offer a world of possibilities to keep your feline friends entertained and contented.

With a range of materials, styles, and sizes available, there is a cat shelf to suit every cat and home. So, why wait?

Embrace the world of cat shelves and transform your living space into a haven of joy and enrichment for your beloved feline companions.

Elevate their world, and watch as they explore new heights of happiness and comfort.

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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