I’ve received a few emails from pet owners who have arthritic, senior, or disabled cats wondering if I can help them figure out how to solve a few questions they’ve had about increasing their pet’s quality of life here and there. While most of the questions I’ve received have been about ideal cat toys that may work out for cats with disabilities or who are high up in years, it made me think of other quality-of-life enhancing products out there that could really make a huge difference in the life of an elderly or disabled cat.
Hence the topic of today’s post – cat stairs that make stepping onto beds, couches, furniture, window sills, heck even high cat trees, as easy as possible on cats who sometimes or more often than not struggle with jumping and mobility issues.
Speaking of which, I have to say that after receiving a few emails from tripod owners, then getting curious and looking up videos of them online, I really am in awe of how so many tripod cats are able to maintain so much mobility. Have you seen the way they play? I honestly think I’d have to look twice, or maybe would never even realize until told, that many of these tripods had three legs rather than four. I’m already in awe of the jump ability, run speed, and agility of a four-legged cat, the fact that three-legged cats often adjust to be nearly as good at jumping, nearly as fast, and nearly as agile as their four-legged counterparts leaves me completely dumbstruck! Cats are so terribly skilled; what a talented, adaptive bunch!
That ramble out of the way, it’s time to get back on the topic of pet stairs for cats. I’m sure some days are easier than others for disabled cats, and on days they’re tired, exhausted, stressed, or just don’t feel much like jumping, I’m sure it’s a good idea to have easy ways for kitty to get around into their favourite spot in the sun, or onto bed to cuddle up with mommy and/or daddy at night. Of course the exact same goes for elderly and arthritic cats having a bad day and potentially struggling with quite a bit of pain when they try jumping wherever they want to be. I haven’t personally had experience with cats who have mobility issues, so I’d really appreciate any comments you have on how to make their lives better and easier – I’m sure so many other pet owners would love to hear any tips you have!
Now onto the cat steps I thought were some of the best and why…
Pet Stairs to Help Senior & Disabled Cats onto Beds & Couches
I feel these types of cat steps are ideal in cases where you want to be able to move around or even put away the pet stairs you want to use. They’re plastic, lightweight, durable yet foldable, and easy to stash away in case you don’t need them out all the time, or in case you need to transport them (say for taking your cat over to a friend, family member, or cat sitter’s house while you’re travelling). I don’t think slippage would ever be a problem considering they have carpeting lining the top portion of the steps.
One reviewer spoke about how these particular steps were perfect for his adorable arthritic cat, Gus Gus: “The joints in his hind legs got so swollen he could barely walk and could not get up on the couch, bed, or his favorite cat perch anymore. With these steps he is able to do all those things again. He took to them right away. They are extremely easy to set up. Literally the back clicks into place and you’re done. The steps also fold up into about 6in high so they can be stored anywhere and are perfect for travel. They are lightweight, but very stable. They’re portable so moving from room to room is no problem. They are plastic with fabric on the steps. They are so perfect I purchased a second set of stairs so one could stay next to his cat perch at all times.”
Considering reviews like this, I’d say they’re likely to be on the top of the list for those looking for portable rather than permanent steps.
If you’re looking for something easy to move around, but don’t ever care to fold and hide your pet ladder/stairs away, this may be a better option, especially if you have a multi-cat household with at least one cat who’s very boisterous and energetic with toys, running, and overall play. I can see folding type pet steps as being a little bit of an issue if they’ve got the potential of being rammed into – you don’t want any cats getting hurt with this landing on them. These, however, I doubt would be any trouble even if there was a huge slide and ram into them during play.
One pet owner grabbed these for his/her obese dog who struggled getting up onto the bed, and another for his/her older dog who had the same problem; both found that while the pet steps were intended for the dog, their cats decided they quite liked using them as well – so apparently these get votes of approval even from completely able-bodied lazy cats; completely love that.
One other hilarious review from a cat owner on these pet steps: “Great product! Easy to put together! Now my 17 year old fat spoiled cat get get up on my bed in the middle of the night without waking me up! Yay!”
If you’re looking in particular for what are essentially cat trees that are cross bred with stair steps, this Armarkat scratcher ramp is perfect for that kind of thing. Ideal in cases where you want as many cats as possible to be able to enjoy the cat steps, whether or not they need them.
One reviewer mentioned: “I got the 4 step stair because one of my cats was beginning to have issues jumping on the bed. (He’d attempt a jump and then just cling their on the edge fear in his eyes, his little face saying “Help me, brother.” before he’d either be rescued or fall into the stampede below.) […] They both like them, but my older man totally loves them. He goes up and down them like a champ and loves to sleep/sit on the top step. They’ll both scratch on them as well.”
There are a number of other pet stair/cat tree hybrids like this one by Armarkat that you may want to consider before making a final decision. Some popular options include:
- New Cat Condos 110223 Wood Constructed Large Pet Stairs for Cats and Dogs
- PawHut 24″ 4 Steps Carpeted Cat Scratching Post Pet Stairs Steps
- Good Life 25″ 4 Steps Pet Stairs Carpeted Ladder Ramp
If you’re looking for something super lightweight and yet still sturdy, and aren’t too concerned over really heavy spills, this is probably the ideal. I’m actually surprised at how good these steps look in reviewer pictures – much better in my opinion than the product photos.
The inside is made of a durable cardboard, so I think it’s really hard to snag anything more lightweight than that. Definitely not ideal if your cat has issues with incontinence or vomiting, but if your cat is typically not a stair-sleeper, or doesn’t have these issues at all, I’m sure it will work out. Otherwise, for something a little more durable on the inside, though not quite as lightweight I would think, you may want to try something like the foam steps in the next recommendation…
These types of steps are typically the most cutesy, adorable, and aesthetically pleasing, but do be forewarned, some pet owners explained they do sway a little while pets go up them. They’re very high, and while they are great for cats and dogs that can walk in a straight line, they may need to be worked on a little to create a rail of sorts to prevent falling if your pet isn’t very good at that. This reviewer explained how she added lattice to the two sides of these pet steps – incredibly helpful and very clever hack if you ask me.
Another reviewer explained how he had to do a little bribing and training, but once he did, his 15 pound elderly cat was happy to climb up and down these steps at night without help from him: “I have them parallel to the side of the bed and she scampers up and down them with no trouble at all. No more scratching at the side of the bed several times a night for me to put her up in bed. I’m a happy customer and so is she.”
I’m sure there are some situations where a pet ramp would come in a lot more handy than a set of pet steps. There are a number of great ramps for cats, and really all the dog ones should work perfectly, especially since dogs are typically much heavier than cats and thus if they can handle the weight of even a medium sized dog, they sure should be able to handle the weight of a cat.
One reviewer mentioned she bought this ramp for her and her boyfriend’s aging pug, and it worked out perfectly: “She can still make it up the stairs and jump on the bed (with a lot of effort), but we didn’t want to tire her out too much. The ramp we were originally looking at would’ve been the entire length of our bed (and double the price) so we thought that was a little over the top. This one is sturdy and fits almost exactly the width of our queen-sized bed. The height is perfect too coming maybe an inch or two under my big mattress.” Take a look at her review if you’re interested in seeing how it looks next to a queen bed.
As a heads up, I’ve seen a number of reviews saying this ramp isn’t skid proof, so if you want to use it on carpet, you should be golden, but if you want to use it on hardwood or laminate flooring, you may need a non-slip mat of some kind to keep it in place. Just keep that in mind!
Loved the idea of cat tree/cat step hybrids and want to take it one step further? What about a cross between pet stairs, a cat tree/condo, and a cat lounger/nap spot. I doubt you’ll find more practical cat furniture than types like these.
One reviewer mentioned this was purchased for his/her tripod Ragdoll: “Bought this for my three-legged, 8-pound, Ragdoll cat because it’s low (only 23 inches tall) and easy for him to jump up on since he struggles with our other/taller trees. This one is a compact cat tree that is inexpensive yet sturdy. […] I would definitely buy this tree again, and I may buy a second one of it so my three-legged boy can have another perch by the back door.” He sure looks happy in the pictures shared to me!
If you’re not sure whether a ramp or a step ladder would come in more handy, or if you’d rather have both on hand just in case, this two-in-one pine wood pet ramp/step should do the trick. It’s not at all cheap in my opinion, but it looks quite durable and hard-wearing, and sturdy as heck, and since it’s easy to flatten down, it’s easy to store in tight spaces or transport as well, in case those are things you may need to do with your cat stairs/ramp.
Love the idea of wooden steps, but don’t mind the idea of just having stairs rather than a ramp/stair combo? Have a peek at the Solvit PupSTEP Large Wood Pet Stairs.
These pet ramps look like an absolutely perfect bet to me for cats that have mild to serious struggles with mobility, though as with anything, it may take some getting used to at first. One reviewer mentioned: “I bought this for my 14.5 lb tripod cat to help him get on my bed. It broke my heart every time he jumped off and landed on one little foot. I have an overweight kitty who started using it right away. Then the other 2. It took my tripod about a month to use it. I have hardwood floors and it doesn’t move when the cats use it.”
These type of step cat condos are in my opinion not for every disabled or senior cat as they may be a struggle for some to get up into. That being said, for those that are, they do seem to work out wonderfully. Check out this happy, senior-furry customer! An alternative to this particular cat stair tree: Ollieroo Cat Tree Scratcher Post Play House.
I feel like these types of pet cushion ramp steps are way too cute for words, and in my opinion, a fun way to make many hard-to-reach spaces incredibly effortless to walk into. They’re easy to move around, to layer on top of each other, their amazing colours make them really nice to have around the house, not much to dislike about them besides maybe the fact that they’re pretty low. That being said, since they’re so stack-able, I don’t think that’s too much of a downside as at least the steps themselves will be low enough for any cat to climb. Have a look at this adorable layout for a chiwawa to get up to a couch. Adorable! One quasi alternative – the Milliard Soft Foam Toddler Stairs and Ramp Climber Gym Toy.
Your Thoughts on Cat Stairs?
Have you ever bought pet stairs for any of your cats to get up on couches, beds, or anything else?
What types of places did you use them to help your cat step into?
Which types do you feel are better than others? Do you prefer ramps or stair types, and have you ever bought a cat stair/cat tree hybrid? What did your cat think?
Any and all thoughts on cat stairs, steps, ramps, and other mobility-aids for cats – would love to hear them in the comments down below!