Experts explain why it's an important investment in your cat's health and happiness.
cat wall shelving
Credit: weselldream via Etsy

When we live with feline companions, consider how our living situations affect them. You can design your home around the social and developmental needs of your animals. And one of the ways that you can make your home more comfortable for them is by installing cat shelves in your home. "Cat shelves are shelves specifically made for cats," explains Amy Kohlbecker, cat care manager at the Best Friends Animal Society. "Cats love to be up high and having cat shelves in rooms helps them feel safer, enrich their lives, and allow them an option to get away when they are feeling stressed by other animals, children, and so forth that may enter their normal living space."

Cats enjoy watching the world from high places, Kohlbecker explains. By installing cat shelves, you are providing more high places for your cat which helps them to feel safe and confident in your home. The shelves also give your feline companions an escape route if they feel threatened at all or just want some peace and quiet for themselves. But what should you know about cat shelves before installing them in your home?

What to Look for in Cat Shelves

When shopping cat shelves (such as this handcrafted wall-mounted system on Etsy, also pictured above), look at the length, the sturdiness, and the material. The shelves need to be able to hold your cat and stay firmly attached to the wall. But there are other things to consider as well. "If the shelving is in an outdoor cattery, you will want shelves that can stand up to weather. You will also want to be able to clean the surface of the shelf in case the cat has an accident or vomits on the shelving," Kohlbecker explains. At Best Friends, they use shelves made from easy-to-clean materials. Many pre-made shelving units use canvas material, which is much harder to keep clean. The material should also not be too slick because your cat could slip and fall.

Shelves as Part of Your Home Décor

When looking for cat shelves to install in your home, a variety of modern options exist. "There are a lot of ways people can add cat shelves to their house without making it look like they live in a cat sanctuary," Kohlbecker says. "You can incorporate it into your décor and use shelves that are visually appealing to your style but also safe for the cats." And not all cat shelves look like flat shelves. Cat shelves can include cubby holes, scratching material, and compartments that store food and treats. Make it your cat's special place. You can find shelves in different shapes and colors that both you and your cat will love.

Installing at Home

The placement of cat shelving also makes a big difference. For example, you don't want shelving that goes too high for a kitten to reach (or get down from). Shelves that are spread too far apart could also become a problem for a tiny kitten. So, think about the size of your cat and the reasonable height your cat can jump. There should also be more than one way for the cat to get down from the shelves. "You want to make sure that if a cat is being chased it can get down easily from a separate route than the way it came up," Kohlbecker says. "Also consider, if your cat needs medication or if you have an emergency situation, you want to be able to reach the cat and get it down."


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