Tuesday, September 27, 2022

We Made Leather Hammock Shelves For Our Cats!

Hiya and happy Tuesday, cool cats and kittens!

John and I are staring down a hurricane this week, and the prep is adding a slight wrinkle to some of our projects and party plans. So instead of our next Haunted Mansion reveal, today I'm going to show you a slightly more mundane - but infinitely more useful - build: our new leather cat hammocks!

Here's a cat-free closeup:

You may remember our Quidditch Cat Tower that used to sit in that corner, which we built back in 2018:

We've all loved the tower, but it's time for something new. (And don't worry,  it's going to a fellow FoE who's a Ravenclaw, so I'll share the new paint job when it gets one!)

In its place we plan to build a crate display for our BB-8, who's been tragically hidden in a closet. We have our Claptrap in the opposite corner of the room, so I can't wait for BB to join him.

That's for another day, though. 

In the meantime we had to replace our girls' favorite part of the tower, the top perches.

I looked at all the cat shelves I could find online, took the bits I liked, and mashed them into one design. Best of all, we already had everything we needed, so this was a zero cost build! Aw yeeeah.

John made these so fast I don't have earlier process pics, so lemme explain. (No, there is too much. Lemme sum up.)

Each support arm is made of 2 stacked 1X2s, and sandwiched between those are metal L brackets. Each arm is screwed together and wrapped in sisal fabric, with an aluminum rod between them to act as a safety rail.

Those sandwiched L brackets are key. We screwed one bracket of each shelf in a stud, so these are holding like champs even with 17-pound Suki jumping around.

For the hammock we used this thick leather remnant left over from - ooh, here's a blast from the past - my White Rabbit mask:

We had just enough to make both hammocks, which we stained dark brown and sealed with water-based clear coat. Then we added 3 large grommets to each side and screwed them to the underside of the support arms.

I wanted leather because vinyl disintegrates after a few years, and fabric clings to cat hair and is hard to clean. This leather is almost as hard as wood, nearly glass smooth, and a dream to vacuum/wipe out for cleaning. I was also happy to use up something we already had in our stash.

When we first finished the shelves they looked like this:

... and I didn't like them. (Whomp WHOMP.)

I couldn't figure out WHY, though, so we lived with them a few weeks while I pondered.

As for the cats, they needed a little bribery with their favorite blankie, but after a week they were onboard:

So then we just needed them to LOOK better.

The shelves, I mean.

This is about as good as the cats get.


Now, here comes the upgrades train, choo choo! We went from that...

... to this!

Other than a properly lit photo, can you spot the changes?

First we added decorative trim across the front, and then John fauxed the brackets so they (mostly) disappear into the brick.

(We were faux finishers in our past life. Dude's still got it!)

With the brackets gone they look like floating shelves:

And the decorative wood trim helps them blend with the rest of the room.

Ahhh, much better.

I put the end table there just for these photos, but it's not bad, right?
Not as good as BB-8 in a display crate, of course, but OK. ;)

Both Suki & Eva love their new spots, and yep, routinely fight over them. (Well, Eva tries to fight, Suki stands her ground and ignores her.) Every night that we watch TV back here they alternate between being in our laps and on their hammocks.

Also Suki LOVES the sisal edges; she not only scratches at it, she likes to rest both paws and her chin on them:


And that's our cat hammock shelves! I hope this inspires some of you to build your own, or at least gave you a smile. In fact, let me end with a little more Suki cuteness, since she is VERY good at it:

Have an awesome week, y'all, and if you're also in the path of the hurricane, then I wish you safety, peace, and uninterrupted electricity. (It's still 90 degrees here, so we reeeallly miss our A/C when it goes.)

Love y'all!


P.S. I know it's not really the season for it, but if you like my throw pillows then you're going to love the whole set:

I friggin' love these, the art is SO pretty and the linen is smooth and strong. Plus the set is on sale right now for $14 Prime! I like that they're zip-on covers, so I can switch them out without buying all new pillows. In fact I just bought new covers for Fall for the first time, I'll let you know how those look when they get here. :)


  1. Those look great! The upgrade you made was just perfect. I would have been pleased with myself with the first finish, but you guys are so good at what you do. Love it!

  2. I have those exact same pillow covers just north of you in Jacksonville!!

  3. I have the pillow covers but in canvas wall prints for a blue/orange ocean guest room. Great colors.

  4. So I have no idea what the best way is to send you this sigting so I'm tossing it in a comment... I've been work through a math textbook called "Discrete Mathematics With Ducks." In a section on cryptography, one of the encryption prompts was "naked mohawk baby carrot jockeys" and I broke down laughing because of *course* I knew the reference. I hope you also find the fact that you're in a math textbook amusing!

    1. I have just shown this comment to the author of the book. Glad to see it's appreciated!

    2. That is AMAZING, and made my afternoon. :D

  5. Oh Wow! A still life cat installation! SO fun and SO cute!

  6. Omigosh! Those pillow covers are PERFECT for the new living room furniture I'm getting. I ran to Amazon and ordered them. Thank you so much!

  7. WAIT!! Tell me all about that end table!--

    1. It is VERY old, and I think originally came from Kane's Furniture. It's also part of a set; we have the sofa table and used to have a cabinet/chest thingy of the same style. I do love it, goes great with our style!

  8. Bloody hell! That's an insane faux finish on the brackets! :O

  9. The hammocks are really cool. But how do the cats get up there? From the back of the couch? And they don't mess with the light over the higher one? I'll have to come back to this one. I think my cats would love something like this.

    1. Yes, they jump from the couch - which is how they always got to the top of the Quidditch Tower, too, so they were already used to the maneuver. ;)

  10. I love these! And I think our small furry roommate would like them too. Now to find the right spot for one...

  11. Mad props for the Princess Bride reference!

  12. First up - please stay safe this week. Second - what a wonderfully majestic tail Miss Suki has. And this "shelf" displays that floofy plumage nicely. Well done!

  13. Great. Now I want a cat.

    More importantly, DO YOU HAVE YOUR HURRICANE SNACKS? Cuz I read that is a thing. We don't have hurricanes. We have a volcano, but not volcano snacks. Cake. Cake could be a volcano snack...

  14. The hammocks look great, but the cats look even better :) You cats are just adorable.
    I hope you all are safe and doing OK there.

  15. Did you use bolts or wood screws to attach the L-brackets to the 1x2s?


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