DIY Cat Wall Playground Ideas
Cats need things to scratch, jump, sleep on, and chase, and as long as you provide ample amounts of all of these things, they might just tolerate you!
Even senior cats need stimulation and play to keep them healthy and active, whereas kittens need something to take their attention away from the things you don't want them to ruin.
The best solution for cats at any age is to give them a specific place to hang out and get frisky! These DIY cat wall playground ideas provide ample inspiration to create a space that your cat(s) will absolutely love.
Steps and Shelves
This idea uses vertical space on the wall to create steps for cats to jump onto and even sleep on. One or two may be enough for an older kitty, but a series of steps up the wall can be a cool idea for a more playful cat who likes to explore.
The great thing about this idea is that you can customize it for your space and your cat's abilities. You can also use a variety of materials to make it happen.
A few simple wooden shelves and shelf brackets staggered up the wall can be all you need to create a neat playground spot.
Think about how high your cat can jump (or how high you want them to), as well as how big they are. Shelves should be wide enough and deep enough for cats to jump onto safely and fully lounge on.
They will also need to be reinforced into the wall securely. Brackets screwed into drywall anchors won't cut it, you'll need to find wall studs and make sure the shelves are fastened into them.
Alternatively, you can get creative with what you use on the wall, too. Floating shelves look neat but may be harder to secure. Old dresser drawers or wooden crates are a fun way to give kitty more of a nook to sleep in and hide away, mimicking how they would do it in nature.
Along with the steps and shelves idea, there are other fun things to add to the cat playground wall to give them even more stimulation. Hang a ball and twine from the top of one shelf, or suspend other toys on individual plant hangers or shelf brackets.
You can also customize the shelves further by attaching carpet to the top or all around them, as cats love to be able to extend their long legs and scratch away. Velcro is a good way to attach carpet, or use a heavy duty stapler.
Perhaps you can figure out how to put one shelf on an angle to give the cat more of a ramp. This can be a good way to modify the idea for cats that have a harder time jumping. The shelves don't need to be put up high in case they do have a tumble, or would like an easier entry point.
Tip: Don't put shelves above anything that can be mistakenly hit while your cat is playing. Plants, jars, vases, picture frames, and musical instruments should be kept well away from the area.
Better to have nothing underneath the play area, except for maybe a cat condo or a fluffy cat bed on the ground for when they do want to come back down to earth.
Cat Tight-Rope Bridge
Every cat loves a challenge, and a cat tight-rope bridge that extends across the wall or from one to another gives your feline friend a fun adventure to embark on - or lounge on, whichever they feel like in the moment.
This project will take a little more time and is good for someone who's crafty, but you can get creative and customize it to your wishes, even extending it from one wall shelf to another.
Just like the shelves, the bridge must be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the cat, or multiple cats if that's a possibility. Your materials should be strong enough to do the job.
Sisal rope, twine, and plywood are all good materials that can be fastened together to make this project come to life. Plywood can be cut into small pieces to act as the bridge steps with circular holes cut into the ends of each one to run the rope through.
Cut two similar lengths of rope so it can be strung into the plywood at the bottom and then run along a few inches higher to create a rope railing of sorts, held together by smaller twine.
Two dowels can be attached at each end and either fastened into a wall or connected to a plywood platform or other wall steps.
Climbing Wall of Carpet
True story, I've stayed in a bedroom that had one wall fully carpeted in a dark burgundy shag and I can attest that my cats full-heartedly believed it was made for them! They literally climbed the walls all day and all night.
You don't have to do an entire wall in carpet to get the same results, but instead can pick a smaller area that's dedicated to cat-scratch-fever! It's an excellent way to get them to scratch something soft other than your furniture, and if it extends tall enough, can be good exercise for them, too.
This project doesn't have to be expensive, either, and while you may not want dark burgundy shag on your wall, any off-cut from the hardware store or carpet tiles will do the trick.
You may even be able to find free tiles or samples at local carpet stores and make sure to look on websites where people give their used materials away—just check carpet thoroughly, you don't want to bring fleas, mold, or other nasty elements into your home.
The carpet can be attached to the wall using long enough drywall screws, or use a staple gun and compressor and nail along wooden studs for an even better hold. You can even put a piece of plywood behind or frame the carpet area with trim to make it look nicer.
Feel free to customize and add little toys and shelves for a fully amazing cat playground area.
Hexagon Cube Center
Hexagon shapes were popular in wall design for the last few years, so you can find different cabinets and wall storage in these shapes in various online or retail stores, or make your own.
Either way, make or purchase a few to make this project fully come alive, as the more places for the cat to jump in and out in, the better. Place one angled side of the hexagon against the angled side of another cabinet, and stagger in whatever design you think looks good, and will stimulate your cat.
Add some circular holes to the sides, tops, and bottoms to allow your cat to find different ways to get inside the wooden spaces. You could even build a few sections so that the cat can jump from one area to another, much like the shelving idea.
This would be great if you have multiple cats who want to claim their own hexagon-cabinet area!
To construct your own hexagon cabinets, cut out six similar sized pieces of soft-sided plywood (no OSB so kitty doesn't get slivers), and attach them together with wood glue and your fastener of choice.
Build your kitty its very own indoor tree and it will love you forever! Cats are naturally drawn to trees as it's a safe place for them to sleep and watch the world below, and they're great for homeowners as cats love to scratch away at branches.
This project might take a little time and patience as you'll need to collect branches from your backyard or in a forested area where you're allowed to take fallen trees away.
There's a fair bit of work that you'll need to put in to clean them off, including de-barking them if necessary, or scrubbing with a solution of water and bleach.
This will ensure that any bugs or grime are removed and safe to bring inside. You should also treat the wood with an all-natural sealer - stay away from polyurethane finishes, or any paint and stain as the cat will scratch the wood and then lick their paws.
Linseed, tung, hemp, and walnut oil are all safe "drying" finishes that protect and seal the wood by penetrating instead of covering it with a synthetic material. These are long-lasting and prevent the wood from rotting.
Once your branches are cleaned and treated, it's time to get creative. Individual branches can be placed between shelves for a post for your cat to scratch or climb, or you could actually create a tree along the wall, either extending from a plywood base, or attached to the wall itself.
There are multiple ways to do it, but make sure once again that the branches are secured properly, and provide your cat with enough surface area to jump and lounge on.
You can make it as big or small as you and your cat want, but putting it next to a window is a great idea to give cats the feeling of being outside with the safety of being indoors.
Cat Playground Materials
The best materials to use for any of these cat playground ideas will be as natural as possible, while also being tough enough to handle a little cat's play.
Plastics like PVC contain phthalates, BPA, and other kinds of toxic chemicals that can mess with your cat's endocrine, kidney, and liver function.
While the damage may not be noticeable right away, the more they are exposed to plastics, the more they have a chance of ingesting them, leading to problems later on. Choose wood products over plastic, especially eco-friendly ones without added glues, like acacia and bamboo.
Some cats are allergic to materials even at a young age, so if you notice any reactions, don't wait for them to go away, but remove the item that you think might be causing any distress.
Old carpet that has mold or other allergens can cause reactions, and can also hoard dust mites and even fleas. Choose carpet that is low in VOC's (volatile organic compounds) when possible, and look for environmentally-conscious companies.
Sisal rope is a non-toxic, natural product that can be used in various ways, including wrapping around posts to create a carpet-like surface. Twine is generally fine for cats to play with, as well, just make sure there aren't risks of them biting it off and swallowing it.
Corrugated cardboard has been known to have a certain amount of glue in it, as well. Cardboard itself is a fairly benign material and cats love to rip it apart, but if you notice your cat ingesting some, best to take it away.
While you may not be able to remove every bit of toxic material from your home, making conscious choices to use non-toxic materials will help both you and your feline friends live healthier lives.
Know how much your cat or cats weigh so that you can make sure that any shelves, brackets, anchors, etcetera can support their weight. And, make sure that any shelves, bridges, or other equipment are wide enough and spaced close enough together for your cat to be able to at least walk on or land on safely when jumping.
Keep elderly cats and ones with mobility issues in mind. Don't make a cat playground only fun for the younger, playful cats, but inspire your older ones to move around more, too.
Soft surfaces that are lower to the ground can be easy enough to get an older cat to feel comfortable with. Add some other stimulation that's easy for them to reach, like a toy on a string that doesn't require them to leap up to the ceiling to get to.
For cats of any age, make sure you aren't using any sharp objects or materials that they could accidentally swallow and choke on. Ensure that any screws or nails are fully hidden, and not poking out anywhere.
Cats are naturally curious, playful creatures, and since more owners are choosing to keep them safely indoors, they'll need more stimulation than merely looking out the window day in, day out.
Give your feline fur-babes an awesome place to run, jump, hide, and play the day away with these DIY cat wall playground ideas.
You'll be rewarded with happier, well-behaved kitties who may even thank you with some nuzzles once they've tired themselves out.