I adopted my first cat when I was in my early 20’s. Oyster was a gray & white ball of fluff. Who grew up to be a little rascal. I was excited to have my own pet and my own apartment (with roommates). So I went online and bought a giant cat tree. It was over 6’ tall. And Oyster loved it. It cost me about $50. But in pet stores they go can go for well over $100.
Cat trees do provide your cats with their own space. And provide an excellent scratching respite. But they are also, ugly. Difficult to clean. And take up a lot of room.
After keeping that cat tree for far too long, I recently threw it away. It was in storage for a period of time when I didn’t have a cat. Then I decided to use it again when I adopted my two new monsters. Well, my tastes have changed in that time. And my living space is much smaller.
Tiered Shelving Provides A Tasteful Cat Space
Since I live in an apartment, I can’t build an amazing cat maze. But I can put up shelves on the wall. After a morning IKEA trip, I bought three deep shelves with brackets. And a four-shelf tower (that is actually a towel rack). I put up the shelves in a tiered way to make them cat friendly
As you can see in the photos, the cats can jump to the towel stand, then up to the bottom shelf, then up to the top shelf. I have half of the bottom shelf for actual storage. Then the other half for a cat. There’s a blanket down on both shelves. This provides the cats comfort and also ‘tells’ them where they should go.
Of course they walk along the shelf and try to knock things over. They’re cats after all. But most the time they just sleep on the shelves. Overlooking the rest of the apartment.
Stand-Alone Scratching Post to Save Your Furniture
However, the shelves did not provide the cats with a way to scratch their claws. And I certainly did not want them to move to using the couch or door frames. At the same time as I put up the shelves, I also bought a tall stand-alone scratching post. Yes, it is expensive. But it works!
This is also an alternative to those messy cardboard scratchers. Those are super cheap but I could not stand seeing the bits of cardboard everywhere. This post is tall enough for the cats to stretch out. And is stable enough that it doesn’t wobble or get knocked over.
When changing your cat’s space like this, it’s recommended to provide them encouragement to use everything. I did this during the first week after the change. Every time they would use the new scratcher, I gave them a little treat. This is also to help discourage them from scratching the couch.
It’s unfortunate that it took several different objects to replace the one cat tree. But my living room looks much nicer now. And the cats are just as happy (maybe happier?) than before. What can I say, the cats live here too!