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STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
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Pet stairs & ramps: This document describes and includes photographs of stairs provided for pets such as dogs & cats inside or outside of buildings. Old or disabled dogs, cats, and even birds, snakes, rabbits and gerbils are sometimes treated by their owners to a personal step or stair to ease their passage in or out of bed or in and out of a building.
Here we provide some examples of creative building access provided for pets, including a remarkable second story catwalk that was actually constructed for cats.
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Pet stairs or ramps are also used to assist dogs and other elderly or disabled pets climb onto sofas, into vehicles, etc. Pets with arthritis, hip displacia, overweight problems, or simply old age may benefit from these products.
The dog stair at left is a mail-order pet stair suitable for small dogs or cats. Constructed of carpet-covered foam blocks, this particular model of pet stair would not be suitable for a large heavy dog and would be unsafe for humans to use.
Notice the improper step design? The foam step risers are not uniform in height..
The carpet prevents the dog or other pet from slipping off of the stair tread surface.
No pet stair railings were judged necessary for this particular stair.
Pet ramps and also more sturdy dog steps and dog stairs for senior and other disabled pets are available from several companies.
Pet ramps (usually constructed of fiberglass or plastic) are also provided to assist pets in climbing into vehicles such as the back of an SUV or pickup truck. Typically a pet ramp for vehicles is capable of carrying heavier weights, 110 lbs up to 500 lbs. Floating pet ramps are also provided to assist animals in boarding small boats.
Tips for Choosing a Pet Stair or Ramp - Specifications for a Catwalk
A Real Catwalk for Cats
Below our photographs show a catwalk that was actually built for cats. Our client occupied the second floor of a home converted from an antique barn to living space. She needed to let her cats have regular access to outdoors without bothering the downstairs tenant with whom she shared a common entry door.>
As we describe in detail at HANDRAILS & HANDRAILINGS, a good handrail is important at every stairway.
But what about railings on pet stairs and catwalks? It may be that cats, even elderly cats, rarely fall off of a stair nor off of a narrow catwalk.
However, as our photos show just above, the owner borrowed a design detail from ramps commonly used for chickens and other poultry: she nailed cleats along the cat walk at regular intervals to give better purchase to the cat feet which traversed this high catwalk from a building window to an outdoor fire stair.
Watch out: This catwalk design is not suitable for human use, even in an emergency, which raised a question about indoor access to the second story fire-stair.
Continue reading at STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS - INSPECTIONS, CODES or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
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