Strollers…for Cats?

Many pet guardians are familiar with pet strollers for dogs, but have you ever considered getting a pet stroller for your cat? At first glance, a stroller might seem like an indulgence for pampered pooches. However, there are lots of ways dogs can benefit from a stroller, which are often used for dogs that have difficulty walking due to age, injury, after recovery from surgery, or simply because they are too small to walk for long distances. In some ways, cats can benefit even more than dogs from the use of a stroller.

Most experts agree that indoor-only cats are safer and live longer, healthier lives than cats that are allowed to roam unsupervised outside. A pet stroller allows your indoor cat a chance to experience the sights, smells and sounds of the great outdoors while safely confined.

If you’re considering a pet stroller for your own cat, you know that cats vary greatly in their temperaments and tolerance for new experiences.  I have one cat that loves trips around the neighborhood in the stroller, and another that is too anxious to enjoy the experience. Some tips for helping your cat enjoy the stroller:

  • Before venturing outside with your cat and stroller, set the stroller up inside your home and allow your cat to become comfortable with it.  Leaving cat treats inside the stroller can help your cat learn to associate the stroller with good things. My cat enjoyed spending time relaxing in the stroller cabin before we ever set foot outside.
  • Once your cat is used to being inside the stroller, zip the cabin closed and try pushing the stroller around inside the house so your cat gets used to the sensation of movement.
  • Now you’re ready to go outside. Begin with short outings, gradually extending the length of the trip if your cat feels comfortable. Since loud noises and other animals may frighten your cat, try placing a small blanket in the stroller cabin that your cat can temporarily hide beneath.
  • There are also pet strollers designed specifically for cats; these strollers have a covered area in the rear which allows your cat to retreat to should he or she become frightened or anxious.
  • Unless your cat is comfortable around dogs, if possible, don’t allow dogs to approach your cat while in the stroller. Even though safely confined in the stroller, your cat can feel trapped and unable to escape the perceived threat of a dog.

If your cat clearly isn’t enjoying the experience, never force your cat to use the stroller. Your cat might just enjoy hanging out in the stroller with you in your own backyard, enjoying the fresh air but not having to deal with an unfamiliar environment. However, most cats do enjoy outdoor adventures in the stroller, and it’s a great way to for you to get exercise while enriching your cat’s life.

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