Introduction: Cat Shelves and Hideaway

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We designed these shelves and wall-mounted cat house as a gift for my brother and his girlfriend, or more accurately their cat Moe.

Moe likes boxes and high places. My brother and his girlfriend wanted a place to store their favourite books and comics. These shelves seemed like the perfect solution to make them all happy.

We included a cable bridge because bridges are cool.

Step 1: Design & Cut

We asked my brother to measure the cat when he was lying down so we could make sure that the cat hideaway would be big enough for him (the cat, not my brother).

We also asked him to measure some of the books he wanted on the shelves so we could be sure that they would fit.

The shelves are simple 5 sided notched boxes with keyholes cut in the back panel so they can be mounted to the wall on screws.

The cat house is constructed in the same way as the shelves except that there is an additional front panel and there are cut outs (a cat window and a door) on the front and one side.

The most interesting feature is the bridge. We tossed around various ideas, including using a lattice cut pattern to bend plywood, but settled on simply cutting out strips and spacers and connecting them with cable, as it seemed both easy and unlikely to break under the weight of the cat.

My partner created the design in Draftsight (free CAD software). The file is attached so you can use it to make your own.

We cut the pieces out of birch plywood on a laser cutter.

Step 2: Assemble

The laser-cut pieces were neatly packed in a suitcase and brought down to BC with us where we finished the assembly.

First we glued all the seams with wood glue. We used an angle strap clamp to hold the pieces together while the glue dried.

While the glue might have been enough to hold the pieces together, I really didn't want the boxes falling apart with the weight of the cat and books, so we also used cute little brass nails on all the seams. In addition to adding strength, the nails are a great decorative feature!

For the bridge we purchase a length of cable from the hardware store as well as cable clamps and crimps. The cable was threaded through all the bridge rails and spacers and then the ends were folded over and crimped closed. We used the cable clamps to secure each of the cable ends to the plywood, one end of the bridge below the hideaway door and the other end near the top of one side of a shelf.

The final touch was adding carpet to the top of the boxes. We cut up a cheap doormat and used construction adhesive to secure it to the top of each shelf and the cat hideaway.

Step 3: Pray the Cat Likes It

Cats are fickle creatures. After you've spent all this time to create a stylish retreat for your pet, your cat will probably hate it.

Fortunately for us, Moeloves this special perch and little house. It took a while before he would trust the bridge but he now uses it like a pro.