DIY cat perches

**9/30/13: Thanks to pinterest this post continues to get a lot of views. So I thought it was worth including an update. The single brackets were indeed – as someone warned – not stable enough. Just this past week I took the perches down and redid them, this time with one bracket on each end. Even our chubby kitty can now pull herself up without tipping the perch.**

Since the start we have struggled with how much to let our cats outdoors. Our laissez faire approach worked just fine in Oregon – they meowed  to be let in and out, and mostly sat under bushes in the backyard and watched birds. But then in Boston things got trickier. There’s no backyard fence, and Edith started getting scared of dogs and pedestrians and refusing to go out. Teddy kept up his long outdoor adventures but then he got beat up. Twice. We didn’t have the heart to confine him to the little apartment 24/7, but his outdoor time has been restricted to a few morning hours.

In an effort to keep them entertained, Read started researching cat toys and cat towers. One day I came home and this picture was up on my computer screen:

HAHA! That thing is huge! And expensive. I pointed out to Read that these people have what appears to be a nice basement for their behemoth feline castle. We can’t really spare the floorspace for such a thing. But our cats do like sitting up on bookshelves and windowsills…they’d love some kind of high perch.

I went to one of my favorite sites – Ikeahackers – for some ideas on how to build cheap modern-looking cat furniture. I found a cat ladder, a cat tree, and links to this super-sweet perched bed:

IKEA is a long drive, so we just went down the street to Home Depot to see what we could find. Twenty minutes of wandering and we came home with:

There was much deliberating on the whole “one bracket or two” matter. Ultimately we decided (with the help of Brad at Home Depot) that one bracket per perch was enough because; our cats are petite, the perches are only 8″ long, and the brackets are really heavy duty.

The whole thing came together quickly. We cut the carpeting with kitchen shears and glued it to the boards, then screwed the brackets to the boards with a cordless drill, and screwed the perches to the wall. Here are a bunch of photos of what we made, all for under $30!



  1. Steven/Susan Sudlow · November 14, 2017

    So these shelves hold up when only attached to drywall? We have two cats but one weights about 20 lbs (not fat just a larger cat) would this work for his size? Or maybe just corner shelves would be better?? Thank you, very neat ideas!

    • foxflat · January 19, 2018

      our cats are pretty small, so yeah with a 20 lb cat you might need a corner shelf or something to anchor it better to the wall

  2. Karyn · April 28, 2016

    I just LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!
    My cats love to jump around AND I cant Wait
    to as these.what did YOU use for the middle.It looks decorative and make s the shelving look more flow with the wall.And not just a plank sitting there out of place.Did you place any Furrr carpet on any of these.

    • foxflat · May 2, 2016

      Yes, the piece of outdoor carpeting that I show a picture of was available at Home Depot, as well as the metal wall brackets. If I could do it again, I would’ve placed two brackets on each perch….one on the left and one on the right. The single middle bracket wasn’t enough to stabilize the perches long-term, especially since we didn’t screw them into joists, just the plaster walls.

  3. Cat training videos · February 24, 2016

    The two cat trees in the picture would be well over $400 at a pet store, the shelves are a great alternative.

  4. Pingback: Super-Easy DIY Cat Shelves | PawPost
  5. domenikuswunbergern4 · September 12, 2015

    Just this past week I took the perches down and redid them, this …

  6. Kessie Clay · March 11, 2015

    This is great. Wonder if my old cat would climb so high. Thanks for the tutorial.
    I shared this article on DIY best posts.

  7. Brittany Merth · February 27, 2015

    I shared this fun project on my blog today–FYI! I am also going to try to make these this weekend. We have a cat tree, but they take up so much precious space in an apartment. I think these will be a great solution. Thanks!!

  8. Pingback: Favorite Things: Browsing Craft Inspiration | DIY, Personal - By Brittany GoldwynBy Brittany Goldwyn -
  9. binxandduke · July 20, 2014

    Hi. I know this is an old post however just came across it on pintrest. The look great! I had a question. How did you determine how far apart you wanted each shelf?

    • foxflat · August 30, 2014

      Sorry for the late reply! Maybe you’ve already made yours, but in our case we knew our cat would be most comfortable if he didn’t have to jump too far. So we spaced them just a tad higher than he could reach by simply stretching. That required only a “hop” instead of a “leap”

  10. Lilja · June 23, 2013

    Aaaw! Looks great and might have saved some books from crashing from the shelves for about 1 trillion times, here.

  11. Murphydog · March 20, 2013

    how much do your kitties weigh? mine are in the 12-14lb range….I would worry with only one bracket, the thing would tip if they didn’t sit right in the middle!

    • foxflat · March 21, 2013

      yes! our kitties are the same size, and actually, they did start to tip. I’ve since added a double bracket so I recommend that you do the same from the start if you haven’t built them yet 🙂

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  13. becca · February 6, 2012

    crafts + cats = my new favorite post.

  14. sally · February 5, 2012

    I am SO impressed. Can you do this for goats, too?

    • foxflat · February 8, 2012

      I don’t know, but Ron is definitely the guy to find out what’s possible!! haha I am picturing like a faux-rock-climbing-wall…but do domestic goats like to climb as much as mountain goats?

  15. Kim · February 5, 2012

    Nice work! The cats look like they are loving the new perches. You guys are so handy. Also, Ikeahackers is a pretty amazing site.

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