As your cat gets older, keeping it comfortable can get more difficult. Long gone are the days where your cat can jump up on the couch happily or leap daringly from a bookshelf to the floor. Your cat may develop arthritis in their older days which leaves them hurting and missing their favorite perch.
Unfortunately, the desire to be up high and be able to look out over the house still lives in your cat and their arthritis may not prevent them from jumping or climbing.
If your cat suffers from arthritis, then you’ve probably seen them staring longingly at what used to be their favorite high spot. While some cats still continue to jump and climb with their arthritis, this only makes it worse. Some cats stop jumping and climbing altogether, but this doesn’t necessarily make them happier.
Of course, getting your feline medication to help with the pain is one of the first steps to making their life at home easier. However, it’s not the only thing you can do.
In order to help your pet keep roaming around the house and getting up to their favorite spots, some manufacturers have designed cat stairs.
Now, these stairs can be used by other pets such as dogs, but they are great for cats with arthritis. Putting a set of pet stairs up against the bed or couch so that it can easily walk up to you can help with their arthritis so much.
To help you figure out what’s best, we’ve put together a thorough guide on how to find the best steps for you cat and how to help them around the house with their arthritis.
Why Buy Steps for Cats with Arthritis?
Wanting to keep your feline comfortable in their old age is normal. They’ve been part of your family for so long and now that their days are getting numbered, you’ll do anything to keep them happy and free of pain.
Cats develop arthritis pretty regularly in their old age. Because they do so much jumping and climbing when they’re young, their joints and muscles grow tired and sore as they get older. By the time they are diagnosed with arthritis, they may be limping around and staring longingly at the places they used to be able to climb when they lived a pain free life.
When cats develop arthritis, it makes it difficult for them to climb and jump. It can also make things like walking or eating painful if they have to bend down to reach the food bowl. Unfortunately, there’s no way to help it recover or get over its arthritis.
You can only work to make them more comfortable by changing the way things are done.
By providing your cat with steps to some of their favorite places, you give them back a bit more freedom. Sure, they may not be able to climb all the way to the top of that bookshelf they used to perch from, but being able to get onto the couch without jumping painfully can make life that much better.
The 5 Top Cat Steps For Arthritis
To help narrow down the options and help you find some of the better products out there, we’ve made a list of all our favorite cat steps and written a short summary of what other customers think of them.
Armarkat Pet Stairs
These cat steps are durable and well sized. Made from wood and covered in a soft, cushioning fleece, these stairs are sturdy and make a nice little cat tree as well. They are visually appealing so they won’t stand out in your living room or house and are built to last several years.
They are incredibly durable as they can hold up to 70 pounds at once, making them perfectly safe for even the heaviest cat (and some small children). They also won’t take up too much space as they measure only 17 inches wide and 25 inches tall.
Most reviews for Armarkat are positive. The stairs are easy to put together and stable. However, there are some comments about how after the cat started using it as a scratching post, the stairs quickly deteriorated.
New Cat Condos Large Pet Stairs
These steps come fully assembled so you won’t have to do any extra work once they arrive. They are made with carpet and well cushioned. They are also very sturdy as the base is made from wood and built to be strong.
These pet stairs are a little wider than the ones above, measuring 20 inches wide and 20 inches tall. They aren’t designed to be super fancy, but they are appealing enough that you won’t mind them propped up by your bed or in your living room. Just be aware that these stairs are a bit heavier than other options, so you might not enjoy moving them around too often.
New Cat Condos has a widely positive review page. The stairs are built well and priced reasonably. They’ll last for a long time too, even if your cat uses them as a scratching post from time to time, so they are well-loved by cats and owners alike.
Pet Steps CertiPUR-US Certified Foam for Cats
These stairs are made from foam that has mattress grade cushioning. They come in different height options too: 3, 4, or 5 steps. The lightweight foam makes it so they are easy to move around and comfortable for your feline to walk on and has an anti-slip cover. What’s even better is that the cover is easy to remove and wash!
The stairs are only 15 inches wide and the height varies depending on how many steps you choose. The ability to purchase taller or shorter stairs makes it easy to buy a matching set for different areas of the house such as your bed or couch. These stairs also come in different colors so you can decide which matches the best.
These stairs get pretty great reviews and are a great lightweight, portable option. They’ll last a while, but they won’t be a great scratching post for your cat.
Majestic Pet Portable Stairs
These steps are specifically designed for cats with arthritis. They use a soft, cushioning foam that is non-slip and a removable cover that is easy to wash. They are 16 inches wide and come with the option to make them taller or shorter by choosing between 3 or 4 steps. The stairs are lightweight and easy to move around depending on where you want to put them throughout the day.
This is a great portable option that is also durable. These stairs will last a long time and can move with you. Since they were also designed with arthritis in mind, you can be sure that they’ll help your cat move around.
Dallas Manufacturing Co. Pet Steps
Another foam step option, these stairs are lightweight that use a cardboard base. They are super easy to move around the house and are relatively durable. They’ll hold up to 150 pounds so if you need to borrow them to reach something on the top shelf, you can!
These pet steps have a handle on the side that makes them easy to carry or drag around. Just like the other foam steps, there is an easy to remove cover that you can wash whenever you need. These steps are also non-slip and come with either 2, 3, or 4 steps.
What is Arthritis in Cats?
If your pet was only just recently diagnosed with arthritis, you might not be very familiar with how this affects them or how it may change their daily life. Arthritis in cats is very similar to how arthritis is in humans. The cartilage in their bones starts to deteriorate and their body tries to regrow it. Unfortunately, the cartilage is often poorly recreated which results in inflammation and pain throughout your cat’s body.
The most commonly affected areas are joint areas such as the hips, shoulders, ankles, and elbows. These areas are constantly under pressure from all the jumping and climbing they do so it should come as no surprise that these are the biggest problem areas. There are, of course, other places where your feline may develop arthritis such as spine, but this is not impossible.
Arthritis in cats is often indicated by limping, stiffness, or signs of pain when getting up or moving around. If you see your cat looking uncomfortable or in pain when they move, it’s quite possible your cat has arthritis. Even if you aren’t sure, you should still take it to the vet in order to get it checked out and prescribed the right medications.
Although arthritis isn’t life threatening for cats, it makes their life less enjoyable. Everything from walking to eating to standing up could be painful and since it can’t necessarily tell you this, it’s up to you to notice and take action.
How Can You Help a Cat with Arthritis?
Aside from getting your cat steps to help them access more of the house, there are ways you can help them. Of course, medication prescribed by the vet is possible and an easy way to do so, but there are also other ways.
When getting medicine for your cat’s arthritis, it’s vital that you get the prescription from the vet. If you pick up medicine on your own, it’s possible that you find a brand that is harmful for your cat. With dogs, you can often give them typical anti-inflammatory medicines, but cats are more sensitive and need special medication or they could die.
If you’ve already gotten medications, you can also try glucosamine. This cat friendly version of painkillers helps promote joint health and ease the pain of arthritis. The pills are easy to mix in with your cat’s regular food and can do a great deal of help.
There is also the option of using fish oil. Fish oil promotes joint health as well and since cats generally like fish, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get you cat to take it.
As always, consult your vet before giving your cat any unprescribed medications, even if it’s something as simple as fish oil. You always want to be sure that what you’re giving it is helping and not accidentally harming it.
Types of Cat Steps
Helping your cat continue to live comfortably even with arthritis can seem difficult, but it’s not. There are dozens of options for cat steps and there’s even the possibility to get a ramp if you’d rather that. Both products will greatly increase the places your feline can access and improve their quality of life.
When choosing cat steps, you’ll find there are different types of steps available. The most popular type is carpeted steps as this will help alleviate the pressure on your cat’s ankles as they walk.
It creates a softer area for them and cushions their steps. This reduces the pain of walking and can act as a secondary scratching post if your cat likes it enough.
Another type of cat steps are plastic. These are harder and less cushioned so they’re not as ideal, but they will definitely provide some aid and help your cat get around. They’re easy to clean and transport, but not so comfortable to walk on.
There is also the possibility to purchase wooden or cardboard steps. Cardboard steps aren’t a great long term option and they definitely won’t work with multiple cats at once, but they are easy to store as you can take them apart when they aren’t in use. Wooden stairs are definitely a more luxurious option and will last a long time. They’re stable and often come carpeted as well, but they sometimes aren’t very easy to transport.
Making the decision to purchase pet steps can really change the quality of life for your cat. Even if they aren’t around for much longer, allowing them to get up high and continue exploring can keep them happy and healthy until the end.