How to Build a Cat Wall

A cat wall allows your feline to indulge her natural born climbing and jumping ability.
A cat wall allows your feline to indulge her natural born climbing and jumping ability. (Image: EEI_Tony/iStock/Getty Images)

Descendants of the Miacis, a tree-dwelling feline dating back millions of years, your modern-day feline has a need for height and climbing, and kitty isn't particular when it comes to this. She'll climb on anything, and she won't ask permission to do so. Accommodating this need doesn't have to be complicated. A cat wall with carpet-covered shelving affords your feline her own personal space to pay homage to her tree-climbing ancestors.

Things You'll Need

  • Hollow core door -- new or recycled -- 24 inches wide
  • Two 2-by-4s, 8 feet long
  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw
  • Stud finder
  • Hammer
  • Brad nails, 1 inch long
  • Lag screws: 1/4-by-3 1/4-inch
  • Socket and ratchet
  • Power drill with 1/8-inch bit
  • Yardstick
  • Level
  • Wood glue
  • Wood chisel
  • Carpet pieces
  • Utility knife
  • Carpet adhesive
  • Paint or stain

Determine which wall you'll mount your cat stairs. You may want to measure your space and draw your cat wall onto a piece of paper to decide where you'll place your shelving.

Identify where the studs are in your wall by using the stud finder.

Measure both ends of the width of your door and mark the halfway point with your pencil.

Repeat step 3 every couple of feet along the length of the door, making several marks at the halfway point of the width.

Using the yard stick and pencil, draw a line down the length of the door at the halfway point.

Cut the door using the circular saw. Make sure you keep your yardstick against your pre-drawn center point marks so your cut is straight.

Determine how long each shelf will be by using the measurements you took in step 1. Keep in mind the location of the studs when considering where you'll mount each shelf.

Measure out the length of each shelf and mark with your pencil.

Cut your shelves using the circular saw, according to the measurements you made in step 8.

Measure the opening at the end of your shelf. You'll need to create a filler block.

Cut one 2-by-4 to the measurements you took in step 10.

Glue the filler block by putting a line of wood glue inside the end of the shelf and along the filler block. Slide into place so it is flush with the end of the shelf. Hammer into place using brad nails.

Repeat steps 10, 11, and 12 for each shelf that needs a filler block.

Paint or stain each shelf to match existing decor.

Measure your shelves and note measurements.

Cut your carpet pieces with the utility knife according to the measurements taken in step 15.

Create cleats out of 2-by-4s for each shelf. The cleats are the strips of 2-by-4 you'll screw into the wall, where you'll mount each shelf. Measure the inside of the hollow core door from the outside veneers to get proper measurements. Cleats should extend 2 inches out from the wall.

Attach your cleats to the wall by drilling holes at the proper points through the cleat and into the studs you've identified. Use the power drill and 1/4-inch bit. Once you make your first hole, use your level against the cleat to make sure all additional holes are placed properly. If your cleats aren't straight, your shelves won't be either.

Attach the cleat to the wall at each hole using a lag bolt, the ratchet and socket.

Scrape away the corrugated cardboard core using the wood chisel. This step is necessary so the shelves will slide over the cleats. Do this gently so you don't damage the door.

Slide each shelf over its cleat and attach using brad nails. Place the nails approximately 8 inches apart.

Attach all additional shelves to your cat wall using steps 17 to 20. Your steps should be 8 to 12 inches apart and approximately 12 inches above or below the other shelves on the wall.

Attach the carpet to the shelves using carpet adhesive.

Tips & Warnings

  • Attach cat toys to low-hanging shelves.
  • Always use protective eyewear when operating a saw.

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