Re: Handicapped Access to Salon?
I have a sister with CP that effects her lower body, but she has excellent upper body strength. She can get herself around our boat better than she can ashore. As the OP points out, hand holds on sail boats tend to be placed strategically. I'm a little worried about a cat, in that the hand holds are usually fewer and further between, but I am sure if you search and add hand holds you can make it work.
The 2 difficult steps are boarding from a dock or dingy, and going below as mentioned. We have used a bosuns chair successfully in both cases, suspended from the boom. Another nice thing about a sail boat is that you can find ways of leading lines to winches and blocks to create huge mechanical advantage, and easily lift anyone.
Once my sister is on deck or below, she needs no help moving around as hand holds are always within easy reach.
Good luck and PM me for details if you like. It's terrific you are out there doing it. Don't give up, just adapt!