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
Editor's Choice
modular modern cat tree
Top Benefit
Totally modular and versatile
Check Latest Price
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 decorations.
  • Sisal scratching material on the first level.
  • Carpet on the second and fourth levels for lounging.
  • Cubby hole with hiding place on the second level.
  • Available in Black or White, painted with durable, glossy, non-toxic, lead-free paint - made to last.

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. 😀

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 decorations.
  • Sisal scratching material on the first level.
  • Carpet on the second and fourth levels for lounging.
  • Cubby hole with hiding place on the second level.
  • Available in Black or White, painted with durable, glossy, non-toxic, lead-free paint - made to last.

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.

CNC Router Machine 3018 Pro, mcwdoit Simple Assembly Version, Desktop Wood Acrylic Plastic PCB MDF Engraving, 3 Axis with Offline Controller, Mill Bits, Working Area 11.8 * 7.1 * 1.8″
  • ♞【CNC Router User Manual】Please view or download the manual for this machine at the 'Product guides and documents'. Please check the video to know how to install and use the software
  • ♞【Easy Assembly Version CNC 3018 Pro】We have UPDATED! You don't need to spend a lot of time assembling it! This new version already has the base installed, you just need to install the gantry part
  • ♞【Latest Version Control Board】After repeated tests, we have upgraded some parts of the control board to make it work more stably. Integrated Driver Chip + Fixed Heat Sink + External Fan + Sturdy Casing + Add Emergency Stop Switch Port to extend the life of the control board, Self-contained short circuit protection, Not easy to damage
  • ♞【Offline Controller】Great for beginners. Upgrade from 128MB to 1G Capacity. Main advantages: 1,can operate without connect the computer; 2,Included SD card reader to write into the root directory G-code files or NC file; Support Manually adjust X, Y, Z axis location as engraving starting point, manually open or close spindle
  • ♞【Wide Application】Suitable for carve wood, plastic, acrylic, PCB CCL, soft metal like copper and aluminum and other materials, but can not carve hard metal, jade and other very hard texture of the items
  • ♞【Professional Factory Team】Please let us know if you need any help about the cnc machine

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 books. Stacking books on the sturdy metal shelf, the shelf will become hidden behind the books which looks like books are floating on your wall.
  • SPACE-SAVING: Our floating shelves allows you to utilize empty wall space. One shelf can hold many books. Perfect for small spaces that are not quite large enough for a traditional bookcase.
  • DURABLE: Made of strong steel with stainless steel coating, each bookshelf can support up to 15 lbs of books; Size: 6.42" x 4.59" x 4.92"
  • MULTI-USE: This not only for books, but also can stack other things like toys, art works, pot plant, DVDs and etc. which make your room neat and distinctive.
  • QUICK TO INSTALL: All necessary hardware are available in the package, you just need to mount the bookshelf on the wall.

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 for horizontal or vertical display orientation
  • CUBE STORAGE UNIT: Create storage and display space for any living area in your home for books, toys, garments, décor, picture frames or keepsakes; Ideal for trendy organization with 6 back panels
  • STACKING DESIGN: Hardware included for easy stacking of multiple units (sold separately)
  • ADD FABRIC DRAWERS: Add on compatible 11 in. fabric cube drawers to add in color & style; Cube compartments measure: 11.25 in. H x 11.25 in. W x 11.75 in. D
  • EASY ASSEMBLY: All hardware included for easy assembly; Assembled dimensions: 35.91” W x 11.61” D x 47.56” H

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.

Find her on Linkedin. Read her latest articles.

Learn more about Nicole Here

Last update on 2023-02-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API