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How to Install a DIY Cat Obstacle Course

4211769373_0017718b03_oNote: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication. CC-licensed image by Sean Naber.

Cats are wonderful pets, but when they're feeling playful, they can turn into little destruction machines. Claw marks, bite marks, and items knocked over all happen when you have a feline companion. Try creating an obstacle course especially for your cat, so that your feline friend has somewhere to play without ruining your home.

Create a Climbing Wall

Install wall shelves in a stair-step pattern to make a simple wall obstacle course for your cat. Choose shelves that are wide enough for your cat to sit on. If you want, you can connect some of the shelves with hammocks to allow your cat to go up and down more easily.

Attach a few toys to the shelves so that your cat has something to do. Scratch pads and posts are essential, too, especially if your home is new and you don't want your cat clawing your furniture or walls.

Add Ceiling Access

The DIY Helpers blog features a post about adding walkways across the walls and ceiling for your cat. Be warned: If your cat likes to pounce, ceiling access is not the best idea. Most cats love to be up high, so putting up a few wooden walkways across the ceiling for the cat will be kitty heaven for your pet. Make sure the walkway has two entrances and exits so that the cat has an easy way up and down.

Make a Space for Sleeping

8025158770_96bfe39099_cImage via Flickr by Sensual Shadows Photography

Cats can be picky about where they sleep. Many pet owners buy plush cat beds only to find their cats sleeping under couches or in baskets of clean laundry instead.

Try hanging a cat hammock in one corner of the ceiling. Put up your wall shelves to give your cat access, then make this little hammock or cat bed irresistible to your kitty by putting pillows and some of its favorite toys inside the hammock. Attract your cat with a few treats the first time you introduce the hammock to your pet.

Give Your Cat Safety Outdoors

For many reasons, pet owners don't want to let their cats outside. Predators, feral animals, and cars are some of the dangers outdoor cats face. Create a tree house or obstacle course for your cat outside. Using wood and chicken wire, craft some enclosed walkways that your cat can play on outdoors. Give your cat access through a cat door so that it can choose when to go outside. As long as you treat your cat monthly for fleas, heartworms, and other parasites, your cat can safely enjoy the outdoors.

Remember not to force your kitty to use the obstacle course you've set up. Instead, add items you know it likes to the obstacle course. Consider sprinkling a bit of catnip on a few of the shelves or pathways, or leave some treats behind. Cats are naturally curious and they love to climb. It won't take long for your clever, agile feline to find the joys of its new obstacle course.