A Great Catio from IKEA Bookcases: 5 Essential Considerations

How to Turn an IKEA Bookcase Into a Catio

This IKEA bookcase into a catio is something your cats will really love!

When I graduated from college, I got married right away. That’s why most of our furniture during our early years was from our college dorms. We didn’t have much money, so we had to make do with what we had. But we were happy together and that’s all that mattered.

A few years later, when we had good-paying jobs, one of the first things that we bought was IKEA bookcases. As voracious readers, we had a lot of books. The bookcases were needed not only for storage but also for displaying our favourite titles. Over the years, we’ve added more and more IKEA bookcases to our homes, and they’ve become one of our most cherished possessions.

As the years went by, we learned how to simplify and de-clutter our lives. The books were donated to our local bookshop but we held onto the bookcases for sentimental reasons. They have become outdated and we wanted to upcycle them into something new and creative.

If you're looking for a nice project for your cats, this should be it.
If you’re looking for a nice project for your cats, this should be it.

We came across an impressive catio ( a patio for cats!) project and it was made using IKEA bookcases. Perfect, right? We figured it would be great for our pet cat, too so we decided to convert the bookcases into a catio.

A catio is an enclosed outdoor space that provides a haven for your feline friend to enjoy the great outdoors. This type of enclosure is also known as a cat porch or cat patio. It can be as simple as a screened-in porch or as elaborate as a multi-level structure with climbing features, perches, and hiding spots. A catio is a perfect way to let your cat enjoy some fresh air and exercise while keeping them safe from predators, cars, and other hazards.

First, we removed the doors from the bookcases and sanded them down so that our cat wouldn’t scratch them up. Then, we attached the bookcases to create a solid structure. Next, we added a door to the catio so our cat could easily get in and out. We also added a few shelves inside for her to lounge on. We even painted the whole thing to match our house – she loves it!

The results of my little bookcase makeover project were amazing! I was pleased with how it turned out – it looked modern and stylish, and my pet cat loved it! If you have any old bookcases that are looking a bit tired, I highly recommend that you give this project a try. It’s really easy to do, and you’ll be amazed at the transformation.

Space Planning

A. Measuring Available Space:

When embarking on the creation of a catio from IKEA bookcases, the initial step is to measure the available space where the catio will be situated. This measurement process is crucial as it provides the foundation for the entire project. Be thorough in your measurements, accounting for both width and height, and consider any constraints such as nearby walls, windows, or other furniture.

This will help ensure that the catio fits seamlessly into your designated area and allows for comfortable movement both inside and around the enclosure.

B. Choosing Appropriate Size and Configuration of IKEA Bookcases:

Once you have determined the dimensions of your space, the next consideration is selecting the appropriate size and configuration of IKEA bookcases to form the structure of your catio. IKEA offers a variety of bookcase options, ranging from narrow to wide, tall to short, and with different shelving arrangements.

Evaluate your space measurements and take note of any specific features you desire, such as adjustable shelves or built-in drawers, to guide your selection process. Additionally, consider the overall aesthetic you wish to achieve and how the chosen bookcases will complement your existing decor.

Safety and Security

A. Ensuring Secure Enclosure:

One of the primary concerns when constructing a catio is ensuring the safety and security of your beloved feline friend. To achieve this, it is essential to ensure that the enclosure is fully secure and escape-proof.

Start by carefully assessing the surrounding area and identifying any potential escape routes or weak points in the enclosure’s design. This may include gaps between bookcases, loose fittings, or areas where the structure is not fully enclosed.

Once any vulnerabilities have been identified, take steps to reinforce the enclosure and eliminate potential hazards. This may involve adding additional panels or barriers to close off gaps, securing all fittings and fastenings, and ensuring that the structure is stable and resistant to tipping or collapsing.

Additionally, consider installing mesh or wire screening around the perimeter of the catio to prevent your cat from squeezing through any openings or accessing areas outside the enclosure.

By taking these precautions and ensuring that your catio is securely enclosed, you can provide your cat with a safe and enjoyable outdoor space while giving yourself peace of mind knowing that your furry friend is protected from harm.

Do you know anyone who would love this Catio project?


  • Two IKEA bookcases
  • Two 1x3s
  • Chicken wire or galvanized steel hardware cloth
  • Two-door hinges
  • Two-door bolts
  • Doorknob
  • Wood screws
  • Siding screws


  • Staple gun
  • Heavy-duty wire cutter
  • Power drill

Click on any image to start the lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.

Want to give your old bookcases a new lease on life? Turn them into a catio! Watch the video below to learn how to easily convert bookcases into a fun and safe space for your feline friend to enjoy the outdoors.

Your cat will love having a safe outdoor space to explore, and you’ll love knowing they’re safely contained. Plus, it’s a great way to upcycle an old piece of furniture! So what are you waiting for? Gather all the materials and tools needed for this project, watch the video and get started on your catio today.

Addressing Potential Hazards

  • Inspect the catio for any potential hazards such as sharp edges, toxic plants, or small openings where cats could get stuck.
  • Remove any poisonous plants or substances that could harm cats if ingested.
  • Cover any exposed wires or electrical outlets to prevent cats from chewing on them.
  • Secure any loose or dangling cords or strings that could pose a strangulation risk.
  • Ensure that any climbing structures or perches are stable and secure to prevent cats from falling or getting injured.

Maintenance and Cleaning

A. Establishing a Cleaning Routine:

  • Create a regular cleaning schedule that includes tasks such as sweeping or vacuuming the floor, wiping down surfaces, and cleaning litter boxes.
  • Consider the size of your catio, the number of cats using it, and the materials used in its construction when determining how frequently cleaning tasks should be performed.

B. Conducting Regular Inspections and Maintenance Tasks:

  • Regularly inspect the structural integrity of your catio, checking for signs of wear, damage, or deterioration.
  • Repair or replace any damaged components promptly to maintain the safety and stability of the enclosure.
  • Check for signs of wear or damage on any furniture or accessories, and replace them as needed.
  • Monitor the condition of any plants or landscaping elements and trim or replace them as necessary.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of pest infestation and take appropriate measures to address any issues promptly.

By implementing these safety measures and establishing a regular maintenance routine, you can ensure that your catio remains a safe and enjoyable outdoor space for your feline companions.

Advantages of a Catio from IKEA Bookcases

1. Affordability: IKEA bookcases offer a cost-effective option for building a catio compared to custom-built enclosures or pre-made kits. This affordability makes it accessible to a wide range of cat owners.

2. Versatility: IKEA bookcases come in various sizes, styles, and configurations, allowing for versatile design options when creating a catio. Their modular design makes it easy to customize the catio to suit different spaces and preferences.

3. Ease of Assembly: IKEA bookcases typically come with clear assembly instructions and require minimal tools for assembly. This ease of assembly simplifies the construction process, making it suitable for DIY enthusiasts of all skill levels.

4. Customization: With IKEA bookcases, cat owners can easily customize to meet their cats’ specific needs and preferences. From adding shelves and platforms for climbing to incorporating hammocks and hiding spots, the possibilities for customization are virtually endless.

5. Readily Available: IKEA stores are widely available in many areas, making it convenient for cat owners to purchase the necessary materials for building a catio. Additionally, IKEA’s online store offers a convenient option for ordering bookcases and other supplies from the comfort of home.

6. Durability: IKEA bookcases are typically constructed from durable materials such as particleboard or solid wood, ensuring that the catio remains sturdy and long-lasting. When properly assembled and maintained, a catio built from IKEA bookcases can withstand outdoor elements and provide a safe and secure environment for cats.

7. Enriching Experience: Cat owners offer their feline companions the opportunity to engage in natural behaviours, such as climbing, exploring, and sunbathing, in a safe and controlled outdoor environment. This enriching experience contributes to the overall well-being and happiness of the cats, promoting both physical and mental stimulation.

In summary, building a catio from IKEA bookcases is a practical, cost-effective, and versatile solution that allows cat owners to create a safe and enriching outdoor space for their beloved pets. With its accessibility, affordability, and customization options, IKEA bookcases empower cat owners to provide their feline companions with a fulfilling outdoor experience while ensuring their safety and security.

Designs for A Great Catio from IKEA Bookcases: 5 Essential Considerations

1. Single-Level Catio Design

  • Utilize IKEA bookcases placed horizontally to form the base structure of the catio.
  • Enclose the sides and top with mesh or wire panels to create a secure enclosure.
  • Add shelves or platforms inside it for your cat to climb and lounge on.
  • Incorporate a cozy bed or cushion for your cat’s comfort.

2. Multi-Level Catio Design

  • Stack IKEA bookcases vertically to create a multi-level catio with different tiers for your cat to explore.
  • Connect the bookcases securely to ensure stability.
  • Install ramps or ladders between levels to facilitate easy movement for your cat.
  • Include various amenities like scratching posts, hammocks, and hiding spots on each level to enrich your cat’s experience.

3. Modular Catio Design

  • Arrange IKEA bookcases in a modular layout to create a customizable design.
  • Combine horizontal and vertical bookcases to create distinct zones, such as a lounging area and a play area.
  • Incorporate modular accessories like removable shelves or dividers to adjust the layout as needed.
  • Enhance its with features like climbing structures, tunnels, and hanging toys to stimulate your cat’s senses.

4. Window-Accessible Catio Design

  • Position IKEA bookcases adjacent to a window to create a window-accessible catio.
  • Secure the bookcases to the wall and window frame to prevent tipping or shifting.
  • Install mesh or wire panels between the bookcases and window to create a safe barrier.
  • Consider adding a cat door or cutting a hole in the window screen to allow your cat easy access to the catio from inside the house.

5. Enclosed Patio Conversion

  • Convert an existing enclosed patio or balcony into a catio using IKEA bookcases as part of the design.
  • Place the bookcases strategically to enclose the space and create a safe outdoor environment for your cat.
  • Enhance the catio with features like climbing structures, perches, and plants to provide stimulation and enrichment.
  • Ensure that the patio is escape-proof and secure, with no gaps or openings that could allow your cat to escape or get injured.

By considering these designs and essential considerations, you can create a functional, safe, and enriching catio for your beloved feline companion using IKEA bookcases.

The Wrap Up

A catio offers a wonderful solution to provide your feline companions with a safe and enriching outdoor experience while ensuring their safety and well-being. By following the essential considerations outlined in this guide—planning and design, safety measures, construction, maintenance, and personalization—you can create a space that meets both your cat’s needs and your preferences.

Through careful planning and design, you can ensure that the catio integrates seamlessly into your home and outdoor space while providing ample room for your cats to explore and enjoy. Implementing safety measures such as secure enclosures, hazard checks, and escape-proof barriers guarantees a protected environment where your cats can roam freely without risk.

Construction of the catio with sturdy materials and the inclusion of essential features such as perches, shelves, and hiding spots enhance your cat’s experience and encourage natural behaviours like climbing and sunbathing. Establishing a regular maintenance routine ensures that the catio remains clean, safe, and enjoyable for your cats over time.

Finally, personalizing the catio with decorative elements, comfortable furnishings, and amenities tailored to your cat’s preferences adds a unique touch and fosters a sense of ownership and comfort for your furry friends.

In essence, a well-designed and maintained catio provides your cats with the perfect balance of safety, comfort, and outdoor enjoyment, enriching their lives and strengthening the bond between you and your beloved pets. So, armed with the knowledge and inspiration from this guide, embark on the journey of creating a fantastic catio that both you and your cats will love.

Tips for a Safe and Durable Catio

To keep your outdoor area secure and fun for your feline friends, catio repairs are a must. It’s crucial to think about the required maintenance and repairs when you build a fantastic catio out of IKEA bookcases or any other materials to guarantee the longevity and functionality of the structure.

  • Structural Integrity

Regularly check your catio for wear, damage, or degradation to spot any indicators of structural integrity issues. Verify the bookcases’ stability and that the other building components are firmly secured and able to sustain the enclosure’s weight.

  • Weatherproofing

Make sure your catio has enough weatherproofing to endure a range of weather scenarios. Look for any damage, leaks, or holes in the walls, floors, or roof that could jeopardize its structural stability. To shield your cats from the weather and avoid water damage, take quick care of any problems.

  • Mesh and Netting

If your catio features mesh or netting panels for ventilation and protection, regularly inspect these components for tears, holes, or loose fastenings. Repair or replace damaged mesh promptly to prevent cats from escaping or predators from entering the enclosure.

  • Door Repair

Assess the functionality of the patio sliding door in your catio. Check for smooth movement along the track, ensure the locking mechanism works properly, and repair any damage or misalignment promptly. A well-maintained door, such as patio sliding door repair, enhances security and convenience for your pets.

  • Pest Control

Watch for signs like insect infestation in the catio, such as spiders, ants, or rodents. Take the required action to address the pest problems, such as sealing holes, using pet-safe bug repellents, and keeping the areas surrounding food and water clean.

Your IKEA bookshelf catio or any other catio structure can continue to provide your feline pals with a secure, entertaining, and useful outdoor area if you take care of these catio repair issues. The longevity of the enclosure may be increased with timely repairs and routine maintenance, which will also give your cats a safe space to explore and unwind.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a catio, and why should I consider building one?

A catio is an enclosed outdoor space designed specifically for cats, providing them with a safe and enriching environment to enjoy the outdoors. Building a catio allows cats to experience fresh air, sunlight, and mental stimulation while keeping them protected from outdoor hazards such as traffic, predators, and toxins.

2. Why use IKEA bookcases for building a catio?

IKEA bookcases offer a versatile and cost-effective option for constructing a catio. Their modular design allows for easy customization and adaptation to different spaces and preferences. Additionally, IKEA bookcases are readily available and come in various sizes and styles, making them suitable for creating a personalized catio design.

3. How do you ensure that your catio is safe for your cats?

Safety is paramount when building a catio. Ensure that the enclosure is securely constructed with sturdy materials and escape-proof barriers. Regularly inspect the catio for potential hazards such as sharp edges, toxic plants, or small openings where cats could get stuck. Provide ample shade, water, and shelter to keep your cats comfortable in all weather conditions.

4. Can I customize my catio to suit my cat’s preferences?

Yes, absolutely! Customizing your catio allows you to tailor the space to meet your cat’s individual needs and preferences. Consider adding features such as shelves, perches, scratching posts, and hiding spots to provide enrichment and stimulation for your cat. You can also incorporate toys, plants, and comfortable bedding to create a welcoming and enjoyable environment.

5. How can you maintain and clean your catio?

Regular maintenance is essential to keep your catio clean and safe for your cats. Establish a cleaning routine that includes tasks such as sweeping or vacuuming the floor, wiping down surfaces, and cleaning litter boxes. Conduct regular inspections to check for wear and tear, and make any necessary repairs or replacements to ensure the structural integrity of the catio.



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