How to Create a Multi-Level Play Structure for Urban Cats with Limited Space?

Living in an urban environment can be challenging for cat owners. With limited outdoor space, it’s important to provide our feline friends with ample opportunities for play and exploration. A multi-level play structure, also known as a catio, can be an excellent solution. Today, we will guide you on how to create a multi-level play structure for your urban cat. By cleverly using wall shelves, window sills, and even trees, you can construct an engaging playground for your furry friend, even in the most compact of homes.

1. Wall-Mounted Cat Shelves and Beds

Introducing wall-mounted cat shelves and beds is one of the most innovative ways to create free space for your cats on vertical home surfaces. It transforms your plain walls into a fun-filled playground for your kitty, increasing their exercise opportunities and reducing boredom.

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Installing these shelves involves measuring your wall space, purchasing or crafting sturdy cat shelves, and attaching them securely to your walls. You can arrange these shelves in a staggered pattern to create a climbing wall for your cat. Further, adding comfy cat beds to these shelves will provide your cat with cosy nap spots high above the ground, a place they naturally love. Modern options for cat shelves and beds come in a variety of designs and sizes, so you can choose those that best fit your home’s decor.

To make the climbing wall more engaging, hang toys or attach scratching posts alongside the cat shelves. This will provide your cat with an array of activities to engage in, keeping them entertained for hours.

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2. Window Catio Enclosures

Windows come with a great opportunity to expand your cat’s play area. You can use the window to create a catio, an outdoor cat enclosure that can be attached to a window, balcony or porch. It’s the perfect solution if you reside in a high-rise building or a house with limited outdoor space.

When choosing a catio for sale, ensure it fits securely to your window and is strong enough to support your cat’s weight. Catios come in various shapes and sizes, with the most popular model being the window box type. If you’re handy, you can build your own catio using wood and wire mesh.

Once installed, fill your catio with cat-friendly plants, toys and a comfortable bed for your cat to lounge in. This way, your cat can enjoy fresh air, watch birds, and sunbathe, all while staying safe from outdoor dangers.

3. Cat Trees for Indoor Play

Cat trees are another fantastic feature to include in your cat’s indoor playground. They provide your cat with a ‘tree’ to climb, fulfilling their instinctual need to be in high places.

When shopping for a cat tree, look for one that’s sturdy, tall, and equipped with numerous levels and scratching posts. Some cat trees also come with built-in condos, hammocks, and dangling toys for added fun.

The placement of the cat tree is equally important. It would be best to place it near a window so your cat can enjoy the view while lounging on the tree. Alternatively, you can place it near the wall shelves to create a comprehensive climbing and playing area for your cat.

4. Furniture for Cats to Play and Relax

Incorporating cat-friendly furniture into your household can further enhance your cat’s indoor playground. These can include cat-proofed sofas with built-in tunnels, coffee tables with hidey-holes, or bookshelves with cat-friendly nooks.

When choosing furniture, consider your cat’s size, age, and activity level. For instance, older cats may prefer furniture with lower levels and softer beds, while younger cats may enjoy furniture with tunnels and multiple levels to explore.

You can even DIY some furniture pieces to suit your cat’s needs. For instance, a simple bookshelf can be easily transformed into a cat-friendly structure by adding carpeted steps, scratching posts, and soft beds.

5. Indoor Cat Enclosures and Play Tents

Finally, you can consider setting up an indoor cat enclosure or play tent for your cat. These structures provide a safe and contained play area, especially useful if you’re introducing a new cat or if your cat tends to be a little too adventurous.

Cat enclosures and play tents can be purchased, or you can create your own. Ensure they are spacious enough for your cat to move around freely and include things your cat loves, like comfy beds, scratching posts, and toys.

Remember, the secret to creating a multi-level play structure for your urban cat lies in utilising every inch of available space innovatively and safely. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated; instead, it should be a fun and creative process that will ultimately improve your cat’s quality of life.

6. DIY Catio Project

Building your own catio can be an exciting and rewarding project. With limited urban spaces, a DIY catio not only provides a safe outdoor environment for your cat but also allows you to maximize the space you have. This could be a small area in your balcony, porch, or even a window.

Start by sketching a design that fits your space and cat’s needs. Your catio should include multiple levels for climbing, a shaded area, and a comfortable perch for your cat to observe their surroundings. Remember, your cat’s safety and comfort should be a priority. Therefore, choose materials that are sturdy, durable, and weather-resistant – such as wood for the frame and wire mesh for the walls.

Install cat shelves and cat condos within the catio to create a multi-level play area. You can use pieces of wood for the shelves and add carpeting or a cat bed to provide comfortable resting spots. A scratching post is also a great addition to provide a place for your cat to sharpen their claws.

Decorate the catio with cat-friendly plants and toys to make it more engaging. Ensure there’s a safe entry and exit point for your cat – this could be a small door or a cat flap connected to your home through a window.

Building a custom catio allows you to create a unique cat house that perfectly suits your cat’s needs and personality. Plus, it’s a fun project that can be done over a weekend with a bit of creativity and some basic DIY skills.

7. The Importance of Keeping Your Cat’s Play Structure Clean

Just like any other pieces of furniture in your home, your cat’s play structure will need regular cleaning to keep it hygienic and inviting. Dust, fur, and dander can accumulate on the surfaces, and these can lead to allergies in both humans and cats if not properly cleaned.

For wall-mounted cat shelves and cat trees, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove dust and loose fur. If they are made of wood, wipe them down with a damp cloth and a mild detergent. Remember to check and tighten the screws regularly to ensure the structures remain secure.

For cat beds, most come with removable covers that can be machine washed. If not, use a pet-friendly upholstery cleaner to clean the bed. Regularly check the beds for signs of wear and tear and replace them if necessary.

Lastly, for outdoor cat enclosures or a DIY catio, remove any debris and clean the surfaces regularly. Ensure the wire mesh is intact and repair any damages immediately to keep your cat safe.

Remember, a clean play structure not only looks more appealing but also keeps your cat healthy and happy.


Creating a multi-level play structure for your urban cat might seem like a daunting task, but with a bit of creativity, you can design an engaging and fun-filled playground that your cat will love. From wall-mounted cat shelves to a custom-built DIY catio, there are numerous ways to provide your furry friend with the stimulation and exercise they need, even in the smallest of spaces. Plus, it’s a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your cat, enhancing their quality of life. So start planning your cat’s playground today and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing them play and relax in their own special space.