How to Design Walkways for Cats

Cats love high walkway shelves that they can walk along or sit on.
Cats love high walkway shelves that they can walk along or sit on. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Whether you want to give Fluffy a unique way to navigate around your home or provide her access to a special enclosed patio, you can design simple or intricate walkways for her. Special cat-specific walkways both inside and outside your home can make use of your vertical spaces to give your kitty some pathways all her own to use to get around.

Enriching the Indoor Environment

Cats enjoy sitting and walking along high areas, like cat walkways and shelves, which give them a sense of security and expand their vertical territory, according to the Cat Behavior Associates. These walkways help to relieve tensions between multiple cats in your home. You can design and build these walkways by using either pre-made shelves or cat perches, available in hardware, home design and pet stores. Mount these shelves between the middle and top of your walls. Place smaller shelves or special stair-shaped shelves under the walkways to allow your kitty to climb up and access them. Don't forget to cover the walkways with carpeting to provide your feline friend some traction.

Controlled Outdoor Access

Mount cat walkways along the outside walls of your home after enclosing the entire area with metal screening that Fluffy can't escape from. This way, she can access the outdoors safely while avoiding any of the dangers the outdoors poses, according to the Humane Society of the United States. You can also create a separate screened cat enclosure and install some high cat walkways all around it. Install a cat door to allow Fluffy consistent access to her screened-in outdoor area. If direct access isn't possible, construct a separate cat walkway from her cat door that Fluffy can use to access her "catio." Separately enclose the walkway to prevent her from accidentally getting outside.

Get Creative

Cat walkways don't have to be eyesores; in fact, they can look cute and decorative. Paint the walkways in bright colors and add cat-shaped holes in your walls between rooms, running the walkways through them so that your kitty can move freely from one room to the next while inside. Make some shelves big enough to accommodate a cat bed for Fluffy to snooze on. In multiple-cat homes, keep the walkways wide enough to allow for two cats to pass each other, so that neither feels threatened by the other. Connect the walkways directly or leave a little space between them so that Fluffy can jump from one to the next.

Make Them Sturdy and Safe

When mounting cat shelves, secure them with brackets attached to your wall studs. Test the shelves to ensure that they accommodate the full weight of your cat or, if you have more than one cat, the weight of at least two of them at once. Between the wall studs, use anchors to further secure the walkway in place. Outdoors, paint or seal your wooden shelves to protect them from the elements. If you are making the shelves from scratch using wood panels, sand them down to remove splinters, and use nontoxic varnish or paint to seal them. When in doubt, seek the help of a professional contractor to help design and mount your cat walkways.

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