Love Of Paws is reader-supported. When you purchase through one of our links we may earn a commission.

Everything You Need To Know About Cat Wall Shelves

If you have been struggling with finding creative ways to keep your cats entertained in a smaller space, like an apartment, it may be time to explore cat shelves. 

We’ve had numerous ups and downs with cat trees, and constantly struggle with hefty replacement costs and decision fatigue around the next large item that’s going to take up so much space in our living room. 

But when it comes to cat shelves, a lot of these questions quickly fade away. And that’s a good thing. 

Table of Contents

The Benefits of Cat Wall Shelves

We love practicality, and when it comes to bang for your buck, it’s hard to argue with a cat shelf, at least in our experience. So let’s talk about what makes these items so special for our cats. 

They Save Your Floor Space

Yes, one of the biggest benefits you are going to see from cat shelves is that you suddenly don’t need big condos and trees anymore. By utilizing the space on your walls you create space on your floors for more…stuff. 

But really, look around your main living area. Think about the space you have available on the floor, then look at the space your walls takes. It’s honestly a no brained if you can get past the installation process. 

Cats Love Vertical Living

Your cat is going to adore a well made cat shelf. Reason being - they love getting up high. Well, most of them do at least. Providing your cat with ample shelving that takes advantages of a walls height is a great way to give your cat more space to live and prosper. 

If you’re crammed in a smaller apartment, this can literally double their living area with just a few screws in the wall. And it gets them off the ground, and keeps them entertained and feeling good. They now have room to roam! 

They Are Easier To Replace

If you’re like us, every so often you need to say goodbye to a cat tree. They get old and tired with time, it’s true. Even worse, your cats may reject it after some time. And when you need to throw it out, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag. 

But cat shelves cost a fraction of the price and are easy to replace or expand upon. If your cat decides they don’t like one, just get a new one. No need to remodel the apartment, you can swap parts and pieces with relative ease. 

This allows you to expand their living area as needed without huge investments, and you can upgrade as needed as well. 

The Downsides of Cat Wall Shelves

Don’t think cat shelves don’t come without their share of issues though. Nothing in a cats life is perfect, and everything comes at a price. Let’s talk about the negatives of wall shelves. 

Things Can Go Wrong

If you mess up on the install or your shelf degrades over time, accidents can happen. Lack of proper anchoring or wall mounts can mean that your cat jumps on their shelf only to rip out a piece of your wall. 

And if the shelf really gets its use and begins to degrade, your cat may fall and end up hurt or mentally traumatized. 

Your Landlord Will Hate You

Yes, your going to need to drill some gnarly holes into the wall if you want a secure cat shelf. Just remember, this needs to hold your cats weight and the velocity they move to and from it. 

Proper anchors are going to do wonders for you, but if you’re renting this may affect your security deposit, though there are ways to avoid that. 

How To Properly Install Your Cat Wall Shelves

So if you’re not too concerned with damaging the walls and are seriously considering shelves, it’s time to talk about the installation process, as this is rather important and not as simple as dropping a cat condo on your floor. 

Tools You Need

Planning Carefully

We recommend you plan out where your shelves are going to go. Use masking tape to tape out where you want the shelves to go and be sure to view it from multiple angles. It’s easy to miss certain details, so it might be wise to just live with the masking tape in place for a day or two to see if your idea has some pitfalls before it’s too late. 

While planning, make sure to pick a good space for your cat to perch and see the room. Make sure you have access to the shelf as well and it’s not too high up or far out of reach. And be extra sure it’s not in a location that’s going to (literally) cause headaches for you (don’t put it right under a chair for example, or you might hit your head a lot). 

Installing Cat Shelves

When it comes time to install, be sure to line up the screw holes with wall studs. Your shelves should ideally be 16 inches in length, as that’s the normal space between wall studs. 

In a perfect world, this matches your design ideas perfectly, but in reality this is a rare case. What you really should do though is at least ensure one screw is lined up with a wall stud. This will provide a lot more security for the shelf. Then just get a sturdy wall anchor for the other, and pay attention to weight! 

Tips On Choosing Great Cat Shelves

There are numerous cat shelves out there, and while most are great, there’s a few things you should be looking out for. 

Materials Matter

Make sure the shelf is made of high quality wood. No weird board materials that are going to degrade after touching water. We want real wood, maybe bamboo if possible. You can use “human” shelves as well, just make sure they are wide enough and can support the weight of a cat. 

Classic Shelves Still Work

Floating shelves look nice, but might not stand up as nicely. There’s something about the classics that just work. And while it’s not as “modern” looking, it’s easier to install and deal with. Just food for thought. 

Size Is Everything

Buy a shelf that’s too small and your cats never going to get comfortable on it. Make sure it’s wide enough to support them laying down or if they want to be curled up. Go ahead and measure them to see what that size actually is. 

In terms of length, 16 inches is great as it will match with wall studs. 

Variety Helps

It’s easy to pick up three of the same shelves and build a little pathway for your cat. But is that really fun? Buying a few of them with different styles can ensure that your cats have more fun with them. There are tons of different styles for cat shelves - if you can dream it, it’s probably out there. Just look through Amazon to see some great options. 


There’s tons of benefits to getting started with a few cat shelves in your home or apartment. From saving space and decluttering, to giving your furry friends a new world to explore, cat shelves are one of the most exciting ways to give back to your cats. 

And while nothing is ever perfect, following a few basic ground rules in terms of planning and execution, you can easily get cat shelves set up in your home. Just be sure to mount them properly so they are safe and stable. 

We hope this guide helps in your journey to give your cats more space! 

Recent Posts

Why Is My Cat Always Meowing At The Door?

Cats and doors. We’ve talked about this habit before. If you’re wondering why your cat keeps meowing at the door, you’ve come to the right place. Our cat Naz is famous for this, and we’re going to discuss all the common issues and quick solutions to at least calm this habit down.  First, Why Do […]

Read More
Why Do Cats Cover Their Faces When They Sleep?

A cat sleeping with their paws over their face is close to the cutest image a person could ask for. And while it’s an adorable pose to walk in on, it begs the question why? Is there an actual reason that some cats love to cover their faces when they sleep, or is it just […]

Read More
Cat Safe Air Fresheners

If you’ve ever been concerned that your commercial air freshener is releasing toxins into the air you are absolutely correct, and it’s critical that your cats avoid these noxious smells.  You may not know this, but your cat's body is already working hard to detoxify numerous pollutants in the air. We love keeping our cats […]

Read More