Floating Cat Shelves

Introduction: Floating Cat Shelves

About: I enjoy hiking and plant foraging... but most of time I do chores!
My wife wanted floating cat shelves. We checked at retail stores, but such shelves were too small. The biggest entry level shelves would barely fit a kitten's bottom and were $30. We had a shoe rack made out of spare plywood that we were going to donate, so I turned the materials into a floating cat shelf. The materials required were:
  • Softwood Shelf Boards
  • 2 x 4 Stud Wood
  • Straight Metal Brackets

Step 1: Cut and Glue

In this step, cut the 2 x 4 in half to use as the base of the floating shelf. To work correctly, a floating shelf needs some thickness otherwise too much torque is placed on the anchor screws.
  1. Using a level surface, trace along the 2 x 4
  2. Saw the 2 x 4
  3. Measure the 2 x 4 with calipers
  4. Set the calipers to half measured value and dent the wood at either end
  5. Draw the center line
  6. Saw along the center line
  7. Glue the base pieces to the shelf
  8. Clamp the base pieces

Step 2: Drill Screw Holes

In this step, trace the metal bracket and drill the screw holes. A drill press can be used to make a guide for the bit so that it goes straight.

Step 3: Recess the Wood

In this step, create recessing for the metal brackets:
  1. Connect screw holes.
  2. Measure half-way between the screw holes.
  3. Fold the measuring paper in half.
  4. Draw straight down the back.
  5. Route (with a dremel) a recess on the shelf portion of the back so that the metal bracket is flush with wood.
  6. Trace the screw head between the mounting holes.
  7. Draw the screw head down to the base.
  8. Recess the screw head trace deeper for the screw head.

Step 4: Create Mounting Notch

In this step, create a mounting notch in the metal bracket.
  1. Create a pattern by tracing the metal bracket and folding it over twice.
  2. Punch the pattern over the metal using a scribing tool.
  3. Drill the bracket in the middle using a drill bit slightly larger than the screw body.
  4. Cut into the bracket to open up a notch.
  5. Screw the bracket onto the shelf with long (2" or more) screws.

Step 5: Mount the Shelf

In this step, mount the shelf.
  1. Use a wet sponge to wipe the bracket.
  2. Put 3M mounting putty / earthquake putty onto the bracket anchor hole.
  3. Level the shelf and press it into the wall.
  4. The putty will be left behind.
  5. Center punch the putty for drilling.
  6. Create a catch for the drill dust.
  7. Roll the putty below the hole.
  8. Press the catch onto the putty.
  9. Drill the anchor holes.
  10. Insert an anchor.
  11. Insert the screw.
  12. Add some foam padding to shelf bases.
  13. Mount the shelves.
Finally... enjoy as the cats ignore the shelf and instead choose to spend their time inside shoe and shipping boxes.
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    8 years ago on Introduction

    Law of Feline Obtusity : The likelihood of a cat using any human construction is in inverse proportion to the amount of time the human spent making it.

    Putting expensive ornaments on the shelf may lure your cats up there, at least for as long as the ornaments survive.

    A year on and our cat has not entered the cat cave I made for him, although he does use it as a scratching post and look-out point so I think that's the best I can hope for.


    7 years ago

    I covered the tops of the shelves with padding then stapled furry fabric over it. It gives my cats a surface to grip for added comfort and safety. The result was running full speed up n down the shelves along with comfortable place to lurk and stalk the humans.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    My Cats love floating cat shelves they raise and chase each other. I arranged them so the can leap over each other or reach down and bat at each other and or race to sit in the window sill in the family room..... who needs art work just put these shelves up in a "maze" like design and you have "modern modular art" or a cat gym.... I think I will sell the tv and watch the "boys climb the walls. Thanks for the post. Notice to Nay sayers I used plural as in Shelves....so make more than one and let the fun begin.

    Chris Logan
    Chris Logan

    8 years ago

    Cats are simple.... if you want them to go somewhere, let them watch you put their feeding dish there at dinnertime. Do that until they either start using the space or starve to death. (Make sure they know where the food is. Starving cats are loud and obnoxious.)

    transforming vintage

    That last part is funny and true. Two cat trees and several scratching posts later and we have learned to just leave all empty boxes out for a period of time. still a cool idea tho.