I decided to make stairs for one of my cats after a few failed attempts to jump on the couch resulting in her falling onto her back. She is 16 years old and on the larger side, so any unnecessary stress on her body is bad. I looked online and found pet stairs for sale for anywhere from $40 to $300, the cheaper ones were quite ugly and seeing as they would remain in my living room for the foreseeable future I would have to look at the eyesore every day. So rather than spend hundreds of dollars I came to the conclusion that building my own was the best option.
I happen to be very cheap person, also I hate pointless waste. My boyfriend and I make regular trips to our local dump and we rescue any and all materials that we can. It just so happened that I had TONS of finished plywood scraps that we saved from a landfill, so I decided that's what I would use to build my pet stairs.
Step 1: Measuring and Cutting the Stringers
Your measurements will be specific to the furniture or object that you want your pet to be able to climb up to. Also you will have to take into consideration the size of your pet, this will help you decide how wide to make the steps and the height between each step.
Once I measured and decided on dimensions I marked the plywood and used my circular saw to cut the stringers (sides of the steps).
Step 2: Attaching and Bracing the Stringers
Next I framed the bottom and back of the stringers to help in attaching and bracing them together. Again, I used the plywood scraps in order to do this. The amount of bracing needed depends on the weight of your pet, seeing as my cat is under 20 lbs I didn't need much.
Step 3: Risers and the Back
I closed off the back of the steps with another piece of plywood, you could leave it open as this part isn't required but I find it gives it a more finished and clean look.
Then I added the risers, again these aren't required. I decided to add them to unsure the cat couldn't slip between the stairs and possibly hurt herself.
Step 4: Paint!
As I mentioned before, I wanted the steps to be nice on the eyes if I was going to have to see them every day. I chose a latex paint that I had leftover from when I re-did the kitchen cupboards. You will want to use a durable paint/stain, pets aren't always the most delicate. I did three coats, although two probably would have been fine.
Step 5: Staining and Attaching the Tread
I also had some 1"x4" pine boards that I had leftover from another project, I decided to use these for the Tread to give it a shabby chic look. I had some old walnut stain and I did one coat to give it a subtle bit of colour. After cutting and staining the boards I glued them down first and then used large finishing nails to ensure they were sturdy and wouldn't come loose. Depending on your pet and taste you may want to use carpet to give them more grip.
Step 6: Finished Product!
The finished product, all in all I am very happy with how they turned out. For a project that took me 3-4 hours and only a few dollars, it looked pretty dang good if I do say so myself.
It took lots of treats and catnip to get her comfortable with using the stairs, but I think if she could thank me, she would!
Remember Reduce Reuse Recycle! You would be surprised with all of the materials you can find that others have disposed of.