How to Build a Cat Jungle Gym

A wall-mounted cat jungle gym saves space and provides hours of enjoyment for your feline friends.
A wall-mounted cat jungle gym saves space and provides hours of enjoyment for your feline friends. (Image: gabes1976/iStock/Getty Images)

Cats have an ancestral need to climb and jump. Indoor cats especially can benefit from the exercise opportunity a cat jungle gym affords. Pet retailers offer cat jungle gyms that can be assembled easily, but these can be behemoth and can put a real dent in the cat paraphernalia budget. With a little ingenuity, some wood, a few tools and an assortment of cat-approved toys, you can build your own cat jungle gym.

Things You'll Need

  • One 1-by-6-by-8 board, untreated
  • Pencil
  • Wooden shelf brackets and accompanying hardware
  • Wood glue
  • Circular saw
  • 1/2-inch wood screws, 1 1/2 inches long
  • Stud finder
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Power screwdriver
  • Carpet scraps
  • Utility knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Twine
  • Cat toys

Map out your cat jungle gym on the wall of your choice, using your stud finder to determine where you'll be placing your shelf brackets. You'll need to screw your brackets into studs so the shelves of your jungle gym will support your cat's weight. Mark the stud locations with your pencil. You are the master of this design, so consider attaching some shelves at an angle to allow your cats to climb, and leave a distance between others, to encourage your kitty to jump.

Using your measuring tape, measure the distance between your studs. This will guide you on how long your shelves will be. You'll want the length of your shelves to overhang your brackets by a couple of inches on each end of the shelf.

Measure your shelves on your 1-by-6-by-8, using the measurements you took in step 2. If you want a large number of shelves, you may need a second untreated board.

Cut your board or boards using the circular saw.

Sand your shelves to remove any rough edges.

Using the wood glue, attach your brackets to your shelves, making sure they're placed properly to mount them according to your design and the location of your studs.

Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.

Secure your brackets further by attaching them to the shelves using the wood screws and power screwdriver. Place a screw every couple of inches for maximum stability.

Measure the shelves.

Using the utility knife cut the carpet scraps according to the measurements you took in step 9.

Staple the carpet pieces to your shelves. Make sure the staples go all the way into the carpet's pile to avoid injury to your cats. If the carpet is very low pile, consider using a carpet adhesive.

Mount your shelves according to your design, angling some shelves, and attaching more than one at a single stud point at varying heights.

Hang cat toys from your shelves using the twine. Staple the twine to the underside of your shelf, making sure your staples are flush with the underside of your shelf.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider recycling shelves you're no longer using to reduce the cost of your project.
  • Paint shelves to match your existing décor.
  • Keep tools and saw away from children.
  • Wear protective eyewear when operating a saw.
  • Always use untreated wood for pet projects. Treated wood contains toxins that may injure your pet.

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