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New book documents the kitty inspired urban design phenomenon

Cat ladders are popular in Bern cat-wow
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Cats are by far the most common pet in Switzerland. So it's no surprise Swiss cat owners have come up with a unique way to help their kitties get in and out of the home.

By Ashley Murphy

Published on the 15/06/2019, 19:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:46

As many people in Switzerland live in apartment-type buildings, they needed to come up with a new idea that went way beyond the traditional cat flap.

The invention of the cat ladder

Thankfully, the Swiss are renowned for their technological and architectural innovation and quickly came up with the concept of the cat ladder. These slender ladders and structures are attached to the outside of buildings, zig-zagging down to allow cats easy access in and out of the building.

Briggete Shuster is the creator of Swiss Cat Ladders, a book documenting the wide range of cat ladders constructed in the Swiss capital, Bern. The book combines photos with a series of diagrams and short essays on the unique relationship between the Swiss people and their cats.

In the introduction,  Shuster writes that the ladders “indicate a willingness to house cats properly and respect the animal's needs. Cat owners in Bern are particularly concerned about the wellbeing of their cat, a phenomenon called humanisation.  Cat ladders are part of this process of humanisation. They help cats to ascend and descend, just as we humans use staircases or ladder."


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Cat Ladders are yet to catch on outside of Switzerland, but it might only be a matter of time before UK kitty owners realise their benefits.

If you're already thinking of getting your cat it's own ladder, then there are a few things to consider.

When will we see cat ladders in the UK?

First of all, unless you're an expert, building a DIY ladder might not be the best idea.

Cat ladders should be made by a reputable carpenter or a company. It needs to be stable and angled in a way that makes it easy for the cat to walk up and down.

You can find more information on the Cat Ladders photobook at brigitteschuster.com


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