If you have an obsession with cats and bookshelves, combine them into one with these epic bookshelf cat trees!

While it’s hard to find bookshelf cat trees in stores, there are a few out there that I love. 

They’re also fairly easy to DIY, even if like me you can barely hold a hammer. 

FYI, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. 

Check this comparison table for a quick guide. Read the review for further details.

Editor's Choice
modular modern cat tree
DESIGNER PET PRODUCTS The Sebastian Modern Cat Tree in Black
Iwell Ladder Shelf, 5-Tier Bookcase, Ladder Bookshelf, Tall Bookcase, Display Storage Shelves for Living Room, Home Office, Rustic Brown
Top Benefit
Totally modular and versatile
Painted with non-toxic, lead-free paint
Large load capacity
Check Latest Price
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Editor's Choice
modular modern cat tree
Top Benefit
Totally modular and versatile
Check Latest Price
Check Latest Price Button
DESIGNER PET PRODUCTS The Sebastian Modern Cat Tree in Black
Top Benefit
Painted with non-toxic, lead-free paint
Check Latest Price

Read on to learn more about both options. 

Epic Bookshelf Cat Trees to Buy or DIY

I have an odd fascination with book shelves. Once upon a time, my entire house was basically one ginormous shelf, loaded with books.

These days, those books are packed away, save for a few favorites. I don’t have space for all of them anymore.

Besides, I’ve been buying more ebooks lately because a Kindle is just easier to hold with my carpal tunnel.

Still, I do have a few books that I like to keep out…and an ongoing obsession with shelves.

I’m not the only one, either! My cats LOVE shelves. Sitting on them, sleeping on them, climbing, bathing, knocking stuff off them.

They must have inherited my shelf-loving gene through osmosis.

So, the idea of bookshelf cat trees really appeals to me. I can keep one shelf for my books and the rest for my kitties.

The problem? I couldn’t find many specific bookshelf cat trees in stores that I liked.

Then it occurred to me that I was looking in the wrong place. Instead of searching the pet section, I needed to search the home furniture section.

See, a bookshelf doesn’t need to be made specifically for cats. It’s already pretty cat-friendly.

So, below, we’re going to look at a few of my favorite DIY ideas for turning an ordinary shelf into an epic cat tree.

First, though, we’ll peek at the few ready-made ones that I did find (and actually like).

Related: Find out how to: DIY cat wall playground

3 Bookshelf Cat Trees to Buy Now

The first two items below are actually from the “pet” section (meaning they’re legit “bookshelf cat trees”), while the other one can easily become a cat tree with little to no extra work.

1. Katris Modular Cat Tree

modular modern cat tree

If you’ve read any of my cat tree reviews like ever, you know how much I love this thing.

While it’s not specifically a bookshelf cat tree, the modular design makes it a breeze to transform into one.

Set it up however you want to fit the space you have, then decide which shelves go to your cat and which to your books!

Features and benefits of Katris Modular Cat Tree

  • Totally modular and versatile
  • Sets work together, so you can expand it as much as you want
  • Perfect for all breeds from munchkins to Maine Coons
  • Each block holds up to 300 pounds
  • Comes in black, white, or fun colors


  • Expensive
  • Made from cardboard- albeit strong cardboard


So, there’s the elephant in the room- it’s expensive. Like, almost $300 per set. That sounds like a lot for what is essentially cardboard.

However, it’s super strong and thick cardboard, so it’ll last a long time.

I really love the modern look and the versatility, though. It’s a great buy, overall, and perfect for all breeds.

2. The Sebastian Modern Cat Tree


Another ready-to-buy model that I like is the Sebastian Modern cat tree.

While three levels are clearly cat-centric (with scratching mats and lounging pads), the others can be used for books or decorations.

Features and benefits of The Sebastian Modern Cat Tree

  • Six levels
  • Sisal scratching mat on the first level
  • Carpet on the second and fourth levels
  • Cubby hole with hiding place on the second level
  • Available in black or white
  • Painted with non-toxic, lead-free paint


  • Expensive
  • Cubby isn’t really big enough for large breed cats
  • MDF, not real wood


While this one is somewhat pricey, especially considering it’s MDF versus real wood, it does have more of a real wood look to it.

I like that you can use three of the levels for whatever you want (or at least whatever cat-safe thing you want).

Reviewers say it’s big enough for the average cat, and even for some “big cats.”

However, they’re talking “larger end of domestic house cat” and not “Maine Coon big.”

So, I’d recommend it for small to medium cats only.

DESIGNER PET PRODUCTS The Sebastian Modern Cat Tree in Black
  • Six separate levels for climbing and playing and space for...
  • Sisal scratching material on the first level.
  • Carpet on the second and fourth levels for lounging.

3. Iwell Wooden 5-Tier Bookshelf

Iwell Wooden 5-Tier Bookshelf

Out of all the regular bookshelves that can easily become cat trees, this one has to be my favorite.

The staggered tier style makes it a breeze for agile kitties to climb, while the overall design has a very trendy industrial feel.

It would fit in beautifully with just about any home decor. Let’s check it out.

Features and benefits of Iwell Wooden 5-Tier Bookshelf

  • Ladder style offers up 5 open shelves for kitties to climb and books to chill out on.
  • Large load capacity (each shelf holds up to 80 lbs) means it can safely handle the heaviest books…or the chubbiest cat.
  • Roomy enough for cats of all sizes
  • Made from a thick MDF frame and certified environmentally durable chipboard shelf
  • Easy to assemble, comes with anti-tip kit


  • MDF versus real wood
  • Not ideal for senior cats who can’t jump well.


Unless you count the fact that it’s made with MDF, the only downside is the space between shelves.

They’re a little too far apart for senior cats to make the leap. Beyond that, this is really a great versatile piece!

I would use Velcro to attach a cat bed to the top shelf and some sisal mats on alternating levels.

Put books on the inside section of the bottom shelf for added stability and maybe leave the middle as a makeshift cubby.

Look, I drew you a picture! The unmarked yellow boxes are books. 😀

bookshelf cat bed mock up a

Isn’t it beautiful? Shouldn’t I be in the Louvre?

Yes, I know, it’s absolutely wretched. I can’t draw using a mouse to save my life, but it gives you an idea of what I’m thinking!

DESIGNER PET PRODUCTS The Sebastian Modern Cat Tree in Black
  • Six separate levels for climbing and playing and space for...
  • Sisal scratching material on the first level.
  • Carpet on the second and fourth levels for lounging.

If none of these capture your attention, or if you’re thinking more along the lines of how to turn an old bookshelf into a cat tree, keep reading.

CHECK OTHER Wooden Cat Tree!

DIY Bookshelf Cat Tree Ideas

From upcycled old shelves to reimagined new ones to totally built from the ground-up combo ideas, at least one of these DIY bookshelf cat trees should catch your eye!

1. Cutest cat house made from repurposed book shelf!

This one uses a fairly cheap bookshelf, like this one that comes in multiple colors, and transforms it into a totally fun cat condo/tree.

The secret is actually the type of machine she uses, called a CNC machine. It’s pricey, but you can do a lot more with it than just make your own cat tree.

mcwdoit CNC Router Machine Kit, 3018 Pro GRBL Control 3 Axis DIY CNC Router Engraver Machine, Desktop Wood Acrylic Plastic PCB MDF Carving Milling Engraving Machine, Working Area 11.8 * 7.1 * 1.8″
  • 【Easy Assembly Version CNC Router Machine】Cnc 3018-Pro Is An...
  • 【Latest Version CNC Router Machine】After repeated tests, we have...
  • 【Offline Controller CNC Router Machine】Great for beginners....

2. Easy Bookshelf Catification DIY

This one uses floating shelves to “catify” any bookshelf and make the best cat wall shelves.

Follow her directions to create a dual-purpose structure, or use them to add dimension to a shelf that you intend to use just for your cat.

STORAGE MANIAC Invisible Floating Bookshelves Wall Mounted, Heavy-Duty Book Organizers, Iron Wall Mounted Shelves for Bedroom, White 4-Pack Large
  • UNIQUE DESIGN & DECOR: Another way to store and display your favorite...
  • SPACE-SAVING: Our floating shelves allows you to utilize empty wall...
  • DURABLE: Made of strong steel with stainless steel coating, each...

3. Upcycled Shelf Cat Tree

Upcycle an inexpensive cube shelf into the ultimate cat tower with a few cheap supplies and a little bit of time.

The bigger the shelf, the larger the tree! I like this model below:

ClosetMaid 1290 Cubeicals Organizer, 12-Cube, White
  • CUBE ORGANIZER: 12-Cube design with twelve square, cube shelf openings...
  • CUBE STORAGE UNIT: Create storage and display space for any living...
  • STACKING DESIGN: Hardware included for easy stacking of multiple units...

Final Recommendation

Try this beautiful modular cat tree.

modular modern cat tree
If you have an obsession with cats and bookshelves, combine them into one with these epic bookshelf cat trees! Check them out!

Which of these bookshelf cat trees and ideas do you love? Share below!

Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen

Nicole is one of the writers here on CatVills. She’s been a cat lover most of her life and-at one point- counted five felines as part of her family. Today, she’s proud cat mom to two indoor kitties and caregiver for a slew of ferals.

Last update on 2023-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API