An Inexpensive Hack for a Cat Climbing Wall

Climbing is one of the natural behaviors for felines. While there are all sorts of climbers for cats such as cat wall shelves, gyms and cat ladders, I wanted a climbing wall that would take up very little space and could be fitted in any small room or apartment. 

So to give my indoor cats a new challenge I made them a climbing wall. (Cue: Spidercat theme.) 

What I did was attach a large sisal rug to the wall and made a landing platform above the door next to it. They can reach the perch by stepping through the open staircase or by climbing up the wall.

Climbing wall for cats
Climbing wall for cats
cat jumping onto sisal rug

For the climbing wall you need:
1 OSTED rug, 80 x 240 cm (2’7″ x 7’10”)
(Update: The original hack was made with an OSTED rug, which is now discontinued. You can choose other durable IKEA sisal rugs such as the VISTOFT or VOKSLEV.  The natural coloured VISTOFT comes in 3 sizes and the grey VOKSLEV in 2.)
at least 8 screw hooks
sturdy wire

For the cat wall perch you need:
2 EKBY LERBERG brackets (Replace this with other IKEA brackets such as the RAMSHULT)
1 shelf
2 BORRIS doormats (Replace with the KRISTRUP)
screws to hang the shelf

How to make a cat climbing wall and cat shelves

First check to see if the rug fits between your floor and ceiling. I decided to attach it to the wooden plinth on the ceiling so I didn’t need to drill in the wall. If you can drill in the wall this might be sturdier. Be sure to use a stud finder to hang the rug up securely.

The rug itself is pretty heavy and you need to count in the weight of your cats, so make sure your connections can hold the weight. I screwed 6 screw hooks into the ceiling at regular intervals, to hang the rug from.

I then threaded some wire through the top end of the rug, right beneath the rim.

The stitches were about 4-5 cm wide. I then measured out where the rug would meet the hooks and at those points made a small loop in the wire that could fit over the hook. Then, I fitted these loops over the hooks so the rug now hung from the ceiling.

wire stitches to hang up the cat climbing wall rug
hooks to hang up the cat climbing wall rug
hooks to hang up the cat climbing wall rug
anchored to the floor plinth

I decided to make some anchors on the bottom end so it doesn’t come off the wall when the cats hang onto it. To do this I screwed two more hooks in the plinth near the floor, open end down, and attached the bottom corners of the rug to these anchors with some more wire pulled tight.

You might want to make more anchors, but for me 2 was enough.

wall shelf as a perch

Making the cat wall shelf

I then made a perch near the top, so they had a destination to climb to.

To do this I hung two shelf brackets (EKBY LERBERG) on the doorframe and laid a solid wood shelf over it. It’s pretty strong, so it can hold our three cats.

Do check how much weight the shelf and brackets can hold, if you have larger cats. 

To make sure they could grab onto the perch with their claws I covered the plank with some BORRIS doormats, cut to size. These I nailed onto the shelf. The door mats make it a comfortable place for them to rest after the hard climb up to high places.

I then hung some toys from the top end of the carpet to get their interest.

Our kitties love it, I hope yours will too!

cat climbing wall made from IKEA sisal rug

~ Rosa Sellies

Post updated with new information.

Other IKEA pet hacks you may like:

Cat tower and scratching post hack
Kitchen cat to cat hammock
See all IKEA cat furniture hacks