A pet stroller can be a perfect way to give your kitty some fresh air and a change of scenery.
When I take my cats for a walk, I use a pet stroller. People we encounter smile and exclaim, “I’ve never seen a cat in a stroller before! He looks like he loves it!” They’re correct! In fact, whenever I take just one of the cats out, the ones left behind loudly voice their disapproval. Upon my return, I’m greeted at the door by the left-behind cats, excitedly hoping it’s their turn. They jump into the stroller, eyes sparkling in anticipation.
Although some people write me off as just “another crazy pet owner”, there is a method to this madness. As with dog walking, cat walking introduces you to new neighbors and animal-related conversations. The reactions I get are worth the stroller’s weight in gold.
Finding the right pet stroller
When purchasing a pet stroller, consider your cat’s weight and size. Strollers vary in size and cost. Our first one was a small model, perfect for beginning our “will-the-cats-like stroller-riding?” experiment. However, I was able to walk only one cat at a time. So I decided to walk two cats at once – big mistake! Just like human toddlers, the cat in the back hit the cat in front to make him move aside, causing a fight. So we got a larger one that can accommodate all four cats at once. It also sports bigger wheels, making for a smoother ride and easier maneuverability.
All pet strollers have zipped enclosures for your animal’s safe viewing through mesh windows, so there’s no need to worry about cats escaping. Before loading my cats into the pet stroller, I put each into a harness with an attached leash.
Notice your cat’s body language for indications that he needs to use the “facilities”. One of our cats bobs his head up and down like a small child who urgently has to use the toilet. Another scratches at the stroller’s mesh like he is digging in a litter box. Because they are wearing harnesses and leashes, I allow them to jump out while I hold the leash and they “go” within five feet of the stroller. If you do this, be sure to clean up after your cat. In case of accidents, which are occasionally inevitable, I line the stroller with a puppy pee pad.
For the cats’ comfort, we bought a high quality foam pad the same dimensions as the stroller’s interior for them to sit on. The foam is wrapped with the pee pad and a towel for easy laundering.
Pet strollers are a blessing for injured, handicapped or older cats that have difficulty walking. When an animal loses the ability to walk, he may become depressed. A daily stroller outing provides a disabled cat with the freedom and opportunity to observe the “outside world” that he has always loved. Fresh air is as important to your his health as it is to yours, and everyone benefits from the sun’s vitamin D-enhancing benefits.
A pet stroller is also a wonderful alternative on a hot day when you’re traveling or running an errand with your cat. Many retail establishments will accommodate strollered animals. Also, if you yourself have some disabilities, pushing a stroller gives you better balance while you exercise.
There are strollers for both joggers and walkers. Stroller wheels vary in design and size, depending on if you are pushing it over rocky terrain or paved surfaces. Some models have four wheels, some three. We found that the three-wheeled strollers offer better driving negotiability. And we love the 12” EVA tires for their lighter weight and worry-free rides over broken glass; and there’s no need to refill them with air.
Pet strollers have additional benefits. Your cat can nap in them inside the house. And when you’re working outside in the yard, he can watch you from the safety of the stroller – cats love “snoopervizing” and you don’t have to worry about your kitty wandering away while you garden or paint the house.
If you think pushing a cat in a stroller is an outlandish idea, don’t underestimate feline potential. My cats’ resumes include bike-riding, leash-walking, car-riding and swimming as well as pet stroller sightseeing. We enjoy our outings, and the cats nap in the stroller when we’re home. In fact, they love the stroller so much that after I returned from a week-long business trip, one of the cats looked at me, ran full tilt to the stroller, leaped into it, then looked back at me as if to say: “Good. You’re finally home. Lets go for a ride!”