The 6 Best Cat Shelves

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by Masha Vapnitchnaia
best cat shelves

Give your cat the gift of their own special perch and their love for you will soar to new heights. The best cat shelves will make the most out of the vertical wall (or window) space you have. They come in an assortment of sizes, styles, and materials, so you'll want to choose yours based on your kitties lounging and playing habits, though still keep in mind that they need to be able to support the weight of your pet(s). Bonus if they are easy to install and come with the necessary hardware to be hung securely.

When you begin shopping for your new pet-friendly piece of home decor, consider where your cat likes hanging out the most. If you have a playful cat and the wall space, you can find sets or systems that come with multiple pieces that you can configure to your liking (and your furry pal's climbing ability). However, you'll want to be prepared with a stud finder and a drill in order to secure the shelves properly.

For cats who like to snooze a lot, a simple, cozy window perch may be more suitable. These models are often the easiest to install as many don't require a lot of measuring or putting holes in your walls (and instead rely on attachments like Velcro). That said, you'll want to make sure you have the clearance space for your feline to get on and off.

You'll also want to pick a product that's suited for your feline's size and weight since the threshold can vary (some models, for example, max out at 15 pounds). Finally, consider what material your shelf or lounger is lined with because your cat will likely be spending a lot of time there. If you're trying to get your cat to stop scratching your furniture, a perch that incorporates fabrics commonly found on cat scratching posts— like sisal or jute — can provide a nice alternative. Canvas and cotton are a little smoother, more durable, and typically washable, and while you can place a soft blanket on them, you can also find models already covered in plush fabrics.

To get you started choosing the right vertical playground for your home, you'll find a list of six of the best cat window perches or shelves on Amazon below!

1. The Best Shelf For Heavy Scratchers

  • Dimensions: 19 x 10.8 inches (length x depth)

This curved cat shelf is made from 100% solid wood and has a sleek, modern design that will blend in with your decor. With your purchase, you'll also get three pre-cut "scratch" pads that affix to the shelf with Velcro. While the manufacturer does not disclose what material the pads are made from, several Amazon reviewers report that they are washable and that their cats "adore" sitting on them, with one noting that their's likes to "use the carpet to scratch and rub against it to itch themselves." The shelf hooks on to the wall with three anchors and screws (included). And if you want to create a full playground, you can get several and hang them at different heights for cats to climb. The weight threshold for this unit is 30 pounds and customers find the shelves very sturdy.

Praise from one cat owner: "My cat loves this so much, which means I love it so much!! The second it was installed she jumped on it! It’s not too heavy so it’s easy to install but feels very sturdy as it comes with three screws and wall anchors. Any cat and cat lover will love this!"

2. The Best Window Hammock

  • Dimensions: 21.25 x 12.62 inches (length x depth)

With more than 1,800 five-star ratings on Amazon, this cat hammock window shelf is a hit with cat lovers because of its wallet-friendly price and fuss-free installation (just note that per Amazon shoppers, there are no instructions included in the box). All it requires is just four (included) suction cups to hang. You'll just want to be sure to place it correctly, as the stainless steel cords hang down 23 inches. The hammock itself is made from breathable Oxford cotton, available in cream (pictured) or pink. The cover is removable and can be washed by hand. Reviewers do note that the fabric is sturdy but not very soft, so if your cat prefers a cozier seat, you can always add a blanket It can also hold an impressive 30 pounds.

Praise from one cat owner: "This is a lot sturdier than what I thought it would be! Very simple to put up. My cats range from 8lb-15lbs and it holds them well. It even fits my biggest fine! Even when there are two up there, it still has not fallen. We just leave the suction cups on the window, and pull the platform to hang down when we shut the curtain. Would definitely buy another!"

3. The Best Wall Climbing System

  • Dimensions: full unit, 50.5 x 11 x 48 inches (length x depth x height); escape hatch hole, 8 inches (diameter)

The unique elements, beautiful design, and versatility are what make this cat wall worth its higher price tag. Adding to its appeal is the sustainable bamboo and canvas materials, which are available in six colors and wood finish combinations (the picture featured here is "English chestnut and natural"). Instructions include a design template, but the cat wall is also customizable beyond what comes in the box — you can also add parts like this fun bridge. The pre-cut canvas fabric is designed so that it easily slides in and out of the planks, which means you can remove it to wash it (it's machine washable) whenever fur piles up. Multiple-cat homes will appreciate that the wall has been weight tested at 62 pounds per hammock and 85 pounds per wooden piece. All of the necessary hardware is included, but note that the brand recommends installing the unit across four studs (that are ideally 16 inches apart).

Praise from one cat owner: "My cats adore this. They use it all the time. I originally got it to give the cats more vertical space. They wanted to watch me cook in the kitchen, but I didn't like them on the counters. This way they can see everything that goes on without being on my counters! I strung pipe cleaners through the grommet holes and they have loved playing with them on it."

4. The Best Heated Window Seat

  • Dimensions: 24 x 14 inches (length x depth)

Made with orthopedic foam, this cat shelf comes with a removable heating pad that warms up 12 to 15 degrees above room temperature. The coziness factor is turned up even more with the addition of a faux lambskin cover that's removable and machine-washable. Using either included Velcro fasteners or screws, the shelf can be attached to a windowsill that's at least 2-inches wide — just remember you'll want to install it on a window that's within reach of an electrical outlet if you plan to use the heating pad. Best of all this pick comes has an impressive 40-pound weight threshold.

Praise from one cat owner: "Definitely a hit with the resident house panther. Ollie isn't big width wise, but he's long, and this shelf fits with some room left over. The heating element is just enough...not so much of a draw that your electric bill will spike; Definitely enough to be attractive to the felines. We permanently installed this because there is a lot of oomph when he jumps up or off and we just felt better installing it with screws.Definitely a high recommendation from my cat."

5. The Best Cat Lounger With Steps

Dimensions: Hammock, 21 x 18.5 inches (length x depth); each step 3 x 14 inches (width x depth)

In addition to helping kitty scale the wall, the two steps of this cat hammock set are covered in jute rope and make excellent scratching posts. The lounger itself is made from padded, cotton canvas that can be easily removed from its hooks, so you can throw it in the wash. How high and/or how close you want to install each of the three parts is entirely up to you and your cat's agility. The wood is crafted from a contemporary mix of beech and plywood, and all of the mounting hardware is included. Each part in the set can support up to 40 pounds of weight, though you'll need to mount at least one of the hammock's screws to a stud.

Praise from one cat owner: "I was hesitant to spend this much money on a cat product, but boy am I glad I did. This was an incredible purchase that my cats use all the time. It’s sturdy, incredibly well-made, and minimalistic. My cats use the sisal poles for scratching, and the hammock for naps and Living Room Surveillance."

6. A More Affordable Cat Lounger & Condo Set

Dimensions: Each step, 7 × 8.5 inches (width x depth); Condo, 18.75 × 11 × 11.25 inches ( length x depth x height); lounger 22.75 x 11 x 12.75 inches ( length x depth x height)

Much like the pick above, this cat lounger set can be configured in a number of ways, only you get one more piece (a cozy condo) for an even more affordable price. All four pieces feature a sisal scratching surface, though the hammock lounger and the interior of the condo unit are lined with a plush polyester fabric that's perfect for cat napping on (note: the only removable piece is the cushion inside the condo, which can be hand washed).

Keep in mind that even though the weight capacity for this pick is the lowest of any of the products on this list (only 15 pounds max), you still want to be extra careful when installing. Especially because reviewers are quick to point out that the quality of the included hardware isn't very reliable. Therefore, many fans suggested that in addition to aiming for wall studs, you should also try to use heavy-duty drywall mounts— just make sure they are "rated for the weight that well exceeds the weight of your cats," one user notes. The core of this set is made from carb-certified medium-density fiberboard and metal.

Praise from one cat owner: "My cats love these climbers on the wall, and it's a wonderful stimulation for them! Definitely use a stud finder though when mounting the wall brackets. The instructions call for one, and I missed that the first time. Poor kitty took a small tumble, but all is well, and now that they are mounted properly, everything is purr-fect!"