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set 02-27-2012 04:29 PM

Building Shelves for cat

I am planning on building some long shelves that will really function as cat walks for my two cats. The plan is to run the 12" wide shelves as a large "L" along two walls about 14" from the ceiling. These shelves will be in our family room, so we would like them to look reasonable pleasing, such that they could function as trophy or nick knack shelves were we to sell our house some day. We don't plan on putting heavy items on the shelves such as lots of books.

Along side "A" we plan on putting a 96" shelf
Along side "B" we plan on putting a 230" shelf


1) Wood - what do you recommend?
I am limited my choices to 11 or 12" wide pre cut shelving from places such as Lowes or Home Depot. I don't have a table saw, so I would limit my cuts to adusting the lengths of the shelves. I was in the Home Depot and noticed they sell Melamine shelving ( e.g., which looked appealing because it looks finished with a glossy trim, but I'm not sure how solid it is. Otherwise I don't mind priming and painting the shelves before I hang them.

2) Shelf Brackets
Keep in mind I have a stud finder and plan on attaching all my brackets to them. I found these cool looking brackets from IKEA ( & that support the shelving from below and above, what do you think of this choice or do you have other recommendations?

3) Shelf Bracket Spacing
I was thinking about placing the brackets at the ends along every other stud, does that sound reasonable?


oh'mike 02-27-2012 04:54 PM

Those brackets will not work on long shelves---they have a 'pocket' that grabs the end of the board--
Not designed as a center support---

Nice look--but not for this job--

With limited wood working tools,I think your idea is fine---you just need to find a different bracket.

set 02-27-2012 05:19 PM

The other set of brackets IKEA makes is for the center support, won't they do? :

oh'mike 02-27-2012 05:47 PM

With that --you are in business---

7echo 02-28-2012 08:49 PM

The melamine surface may be a little too slick for the cats. If you use that you might consider attaching carpet to the top surface. Might not be a worry if the shelves are only 4' or 5' off the floor, 'tho.

user1007 02-29-2012 08:18 AM

Have you seen the book, The Cats House? Great and as I remember it has material lists and plans. Owners loved folk art and cats. Built for the cats to protect the art. Had a website.

set 02-29-2012 03:36 PM

True, the melamine surface may be a little too slick. Is there a different type of wood/paint combination that might make it less slippery? I am trying to avoid the carpet.

user1007 02-29-2012 03:59 PM


Originally Posted by set (Post 866821)
True, the melamine surface may be a little too slick. Is there a different type of wood/paint combination that might make it less slippery? I am trying to avoid the carpet.

If it is high enough where it will not be seen? Leave it unfinished.

My monster was known by many names: Spike, Spikezilla, and Spikemoto Schwartz (for film work). Most said I should call him God****it Spike since that is what they heard me call him most often. I slimmed him down to 25 pounds of Royal Orangeness. He was a climber and could scale up two stories of brick walls and get to the top of anything. Melamine waxed with ski wax would not have slowed him. He was clawed though.

Here is a cat fact irrelevant to this post perhaps. One reason cats scratch is that their cuticles grow both outward and upward. Imagine what you would do if your nails not only got long but built up a layer pressing on your cuticle and hurt as you used your hands or feet? You would want to get rid of it right?

Make sure you give them lots to scratch as they climb.

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