Have an aging pet? Nothing is as difficult as watching them struggle to do activities they could easily have done in their youth (true of us all really). Your heart breaks a little to see the arthritis set it, maybe their hips are aching or their coördination is a little off and snuggle time on the bed or couch becomes difficult. This DIY pet ramp will help your little fur-baby to reach higher areas without strain from jumping up or down.
My friend Sherri has an old man at her house – Aussie – a love bug that has spent years snuggling Momma at night. Unfortunately, age has made it impossible for him to jump up onto the bed and possibly dangerous for him to jump down, so Sherri asked if I could make a little cat ramp to help him out.
This is version 2 of the pet ramp because version 1 had poor little Aussie climbing Everest to get into bed (the slope was WAY too steep). This pet ramp ends up being 20″ tall and about 47″ long, so shorter than the actual bed height, but close enough that he can just step the last step up.
Start your pet ramp build by cutting 4 pieces of 2″x2″ to 20″ long. WAIT! You need to cut both ends at a 5° bevel on your mitre saw. Your bevels will run parallel to each other. This 5° angle will make the legs splay outwards slightly so that the cat ramp is less likely to tip over.
Next you’ll cut two pieces of 2″ x 2″ wood to 7″ long – again with a 5° bevel on either end. These will be the spacers between the legs, so the easiest way to imagine it is to picture your legs as a triangle and this 10″ piece is going to go across the upper section of your triangle, so the bevels will line up short-side to short-side and long-side to long-side.
Maybe the image will help?
The angle is very slight. Line up the leg bevels with the top of the 7″ piece for a straight edge, then use wood glue and screws, or pocket hole screws, to hold in place. Repeat with the other two legs.
You could get fancy here and calculate angles and bevels for the other frame pieces, but I just went with standard 10″ long 2″ x 2″ pieces. These will be glued and screwed to hold your two leg sections together and will sit just slightly below the top of your leg sections. (To see how low, turn your legs upside down onto your platform piece and line everything up as close to flush with the platform as possible.)
I’ve built this so that the legs splay to the sides of your cat ramp so it won’t tip over.
Once you have your leg sections framed up, reset your mitre saw to 0° bevel and cut your platform board to 10″ by 13″. Tack in place with finishing nails – but you may end up removing it later if you plan to carpet your pet ramp.
Cut another section of board to 10″ by 41″ to act as the ramp section. One end of this will be cut on the mitre saw at a ~31° bevel – this is the end that will butt up against the platform.
I used a scrap piece of rough pine to act as a brace for my ramp. It’s also cut at a ~31° bevel, but sits below where the ramp will be to give it some extra strength since I’m using ¾” mdf (not a very strong material).
I used wood glue and screws to attach the reinforcement piece to the frame and then topped it with the actual mdf ramp section.
If you are using wood (not mdf) you can attach your ramp right to the upper platform section with screws and wood glue. For my pet ramp, attaching a weak board to a weak board was a bad idea, so I dropped it down ¾” so that I could screw it right into the wood legs.
Aussie is a small cat, probably not more than 8 lbs, so this ramp will be more than strong enough to handle his weight. I tested it out on my Odie (16 lbs ) and it was very sturdy. If your pet is heavier than that – maybe a pug or an overweight dachshund – you’ll want to add a second brace mid-way down the pet ramp for added stability.
Sand your cat ramp smooth and finish with paint or stain.
Sherri had some upholstery fabric lying around, so we decided to cover the cat ramp with fabric instead of carpeting.
This is where you might want to tuck your carpet piece underneath the top platform, staple in place and then nail the platform onto the frame for nice, clean edges.
I ended up wrapping each section with material and folding to hide seams before stapling into place.
This is a better image to show you how the legs splay out to the sides. It’s a small thing, but it makes a world of difference in the rigidity of the pet ramp.
I may have rubbed a bit of catnip on the platform to get Odie to test it out for me – I call this look “leave me alone, you’re killing my buzz”.
This whole build – both version 1 and 2 – came in at about $5.50 for the 2″ x 2″ wood. The rest was scrap wood and leftover material. I’m sure you could get carpet scraps if you called a carpet company and asked them for the leftovers after an installation, or skip the carpet altogether and nail 10″ scrap strips of wood up the ramp to act as ladder steps.
This DIY pet ramp really is an easy build, it’s just getting your head around the 5° bevels and where to place them. After that, you’ll fly through it!
I hope little Aussie will use it to crawl into bed tonight.
Give your fur-babies an extra hug and have a great one!