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How to Cat-Proof Your Bookshelf (The Easy Way)

If you are sick of your cat jumping on your bookshelf you may be looking for a solution to stop it (Click here to see my best, on Amazon #Ad), or deter her.

Why does your cat jump on your bookshelf & climb?

Jumping on your bookcase is only natural: cats are explorers and instinctively want to climb, scratch, and jump on everything, furniture included. They are built for climbing. They have strong, muscular legs that provide the power for them to jump up high.

What you will need to deter your cat from your bookshelf

Description Image My Rating
01. Cat Tree Tower (My Best)
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5 stars
02. Cat Window perch Kitty Sill
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03. Cat Shelf
Click here for the price on Amazon #Ad
4 stars

So, now you know why your cat is climbing on your bookshelf, and some items you can use to deter her. But, how can these items deter your cat from your bookshelf?

Why are bookshelves dangerous if they are not secured correctly? What is anchoring, and how can it help you?  Keep reading these answers, and so much more.

How can you cat-proof your bookshelf?

Despite cats’ need to climb bookcases being instinctive, it is frustrating and annoying. Fragile objects easily get knocked off and smash, shelves can flip, or the entire bookcase can come crashing down. Not to mention the claw marks that get etched into your bookshelf’s surface.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to cat-proof (If you have a pet lizard, Click here) your bookshelf to help deter our kitty cats from climbing the furniture. Luckily, there are several ways that you can do this:

01. Offer an Alternative

A cat’s instinct to climb is natural, so one of the easiest ways to prevent your pet from climbing your bookcase is to offer them an alternative. If there is another option available, your cat will leave your furniture alone and have fun climbing its new toys. Here are a few options:

Cat Tree

A cat tree is a great deterrent (Click here to see the price on Amazon #Ad). Your cat will prefer this over your bookcase as it has multiple different levels and platforms, providing your kitty with lots of options to climb.

The two hidey-hole design gives your cat a place to curl up and get some privacy, mimicking how they sleep in the wild to avoid predators. Additionally, the two hanging balls will provide hours of fun, and the surface is designed for clawing to keep their talons from getting too sharp and preventing claw marks on your furniture.

This provides everything your bookcase does and more, meaning your cat will have a new favorite climbing spot and let your furniture be.

Window Perch

A big cat tree is great, but you might not have space for this in your home. If not, a window perch is another great alternative (Click here to see the reviews on Amazon #Ad). This simply clips onto your window ledge and takes up minimal space and is easy to install.

The fleece material makes it more inviting than a wooden bookcase so your cat will jump up onto this perch rather than onto your shelving. It’s cozy, it’s functional, and it saves your furniture. Win-win!

Cat Shelf

Another space-saving solution is a cat shelf (Click here to see the reviews on Amazon #Ad). This shelf is affordable and comes in multiple colors, so whatever the design of your home you can buy a shelf that works in harmony.

The benefit of buying a cat shelf over a window perch is that you can position the shelf at any height you want. If your cat always jumps to the top shelf, position this shelf high up on your wall and your furry friend will love this new spot to perch. The shelf is also carpeted, making it more comfortable for your pet and an ideal place for it to relax.

02. Secure the Bookshelf

If you don’t want to buy a new alternative, one way to help prevent damage is to secure the bookshelf to the wall. Doing this will keep it stable and help avoid damage to the shelf itself, the contents on it, and the surrounding area.

This option is also great at protecting your cat too. Toppling bookcases and falling shelves could become a danger to your pet, so prevent any nasty accidents by fastening it to the wall. Securing the bookshelf is a simple fix and makes for an all-around safer home.

03. Place Orange Peels on the Shelf

This may not be an obvious solution, but it is effective. It is not particularly well-known, but felines hate the smell of citrus, similar to how mosquitoes can’t stand the smell of citronella.

Place orange peel in the back corners of the bookshelf where your cat likes to jump. After a few days, the smell from the fruit will get stronger and deter your kitty from jumping up. This does work but remember to change the fruit peels regularly as you don’t want rotting fruit on your bookcase!

Cat proofing doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated to be effective. Let’s take a look at a couple of quick ways to get the job done.

04. Use double-sided tape

A double-sided tape is an excellent option, as cats simply cannot stand the sticky feel of the stuff under their paws. Just put a little on the shelf to get the cat’s attention and leave the tape on until your cat makes a habit of avoiding the bookshelf.

05. Use loud noises

Noise can also be quite effective, but this is an option to be very careful with. An easy deterrent is to simply fill a coffee can partially full with pennies, tape down the lid, and hide it from sight. When your cat gets near the shelf, shake the can – but don’t let them see you.

While the sounds will make them distrustful of the shelf fairly quickly, if your cat sees that you are the one making the noise then you could lose a bit of trust.

Other reasons cats love your bookshelf

Cats and bookshelves seem together like peanut butter and jelly and there are some practical reasons for this. Let’s take a look.

They can see your home easier

Cats are little predators and quite territorial, so a high vantage point such as your bookshelf gives them a highly desired view of the house. They can see much more area, pounce from up high, or simply relax a bit in the knowledge that it’s now much harder to sneak up on them!

Escaping from another pet or kids

If a cat feels threatened or harassed, then the bookshelf provides them an excellent escape option. It is high enough that small children and other non-feline pets in the house cannot easily get to them. That said, this can be a little hazardous if the shelf is not very sturdy or poorly secured.

Keep themselves warm

Sometimes your cat just loves the warm, cozy security that a bookcase shelf provides. The small nooks are perfectly sized for a cat’s physique, making for an excellent place to simply warm up a little and perhaps even take a nice nap.

Why cats are naturally made for climbing

Cats have sharp claws that act as natural crampons to help them grip surfaces.
This all goes back to how they get their food in the wild. Cats are tree-hunters that in the wild use the high advantage to stalk their prey and catch themselves some dinner.

Resting in trees also provides safety as they are away from other dangerous predators. It is these wild instincts in our domesticated cats today that make them climb on our bookcases.

As much as we love our feline friends, cats can have several annoying habits such as jumping on our bookshelves and climbing our furniture.

Why are bookshelves dangerous if they are not secure?

Bookshelves, especially large ones or ones holding lots of heavy items, are dangerous if not secure. A cat jumping on one end of a shelf can cause the shelf to tip and come loose, sending the objects and your cat flying.

If your cat knocks the entire bookshelf down it can break the bookcase entirely, as well as damage the floor or anything that the shelf hits on the way down (cats and children included!).

How can you Secure your bookcase with brackets?

Securing your bookcase with brackets is easy! Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove all items from the bookshelf and move the bookcase away from the wall.
  2. Locate the studs on the wall and mark the center with a pencil.
  3. Put the bookshelf back in place, positioning it in between the studs.
  4. Using a ladder, place an L-shaped bracket on the top of the shelf on the stud line and use a drill to screw the bracket into the shelf.
  5. Screw the other side of the bracket into the wall.
  6. Repeat on the sides of the bookcase to make it more secure.

What is anchoring, and how can that protect your bookshelf?

Cat-proof Bookshelf

Cat-proof Bookshelf

Anchoring is where two brackets are attached by a strap (Click here to see an example, on Amazon #Ad). One of the brackets is screwed into the bookshelf and the other into the wall. The strap between the two brackets is tightened to hold the shelf in place. This protects your bookshelf by preventing it from getting knocked over.

What if you have a large bookcase, will it get damaged if you anchor it?

No, large bookcases can be anchored without causing damage to the furniture or the wall. The straps and adhesive prevent any permanent damage.

How do I stop my cat from knocking things over?

You can stop your cat from knocking over things by putting fragile objects in cabinets with doors. This stops your cat from being able to get to them. For other objects, you can try putting cat deterrents such as double-sided tape (Click here for the price, on Amazon #Ad) or velcro along the edge of the shelving to deter them from climbing up.

Also, scold your cat or use deterrent sprays (Click here to see this one, on Amazon #Ad) so it learns that climbing and breaking objects is bad.

Why are cat shelves a good alternative to get your cat off your bookshelf?

Cat shelves are a great alternative (Click here to check the availability, on Amazon #Ad) to get cats off your bookshelf as they provide your cat with another stimulus. Usually, cats will climb more when they are bored, so keeping your cats entertained with a cat shelf can help keep them out of trouble.

Why is the location of your cat’s shelf important?

You must put your cat’s shelf in a safe place so that your cat doesn’t jump down onto you or valuable objects. We recommend placing the shelf away from the television, expensive and delicate items, and couches and beds.

How deep should cat shelves be?

Cat shelves should be at least 12 inches deep so that your cat has enough room to comfortably jump up and lie down.

What should you avoid?

There are two definite no-nos when it comes to keeping your kitty off of the bookshelf and avoiding losing your cat’s trust. You never want to punish them or ever push them off of the shelf – below you’ll find the reasons why!

Do not punish them

Punishment doesn’t work with cats. At the very best, you’ll get some compliance, but only because they are afraid of you. While your cat understands that you react in certain ways when they go to ‘forbidden’ spaces in the house, it is not something that they are doing out of malice.

Your cat views the house in ‘its territory and sometimes even goes to these places to see if you will do something amusing. When punished, by the time that it happens your cat won’t have a mental association with going to that space as being the reason for the punishment – they will simply believe that you are being mean!

This results in a loss of trust from your kitty and can also make them afraid of you or even react aggressively. As such, it’s vital to stick only with positive reinforcement and deterrent strategies that do not involve a ‘punishment component’ – cats simply will not respond or respond poorly to other methods.

Never push them off the shelf

Pushing your cat off the shelf is a bad idea for several reasons. First off, it’s not very safe for either of you. Your surprised kitty will try to stay in place with their claws and when they fall, they could easily break a leg with a bad landing, scratching for purchase the entire way down!

This will lose some of your cat’s trust, even if you are simply lightly nudging them off the shelf. It is better to call them to you with treats and when they stick around, give them a bit of attention.

The next time that they go towards the shelf, distract them with another treat and say ‘no’ in a firm voice and with a little patience, your cat will get the idea that you’d prefer they not occupy the shelf.

Lindsey Browlingdon