Thinking about taking your feline friend for an outdoor stroll? Many cat parents use leashes to take their cats outside safely, but most cats don’t like walking on a leash unless they’ve been trained to do so since kittenhood. If your furry pal won’t walk on a leash, consider using a cat stroller instead. Cat strollers are similar to baby strollers, but are completely enclosed, making them a great way for your indoor cat to enjoy the outside world from a protected space. While strollers are pricier than leashes, they are a worthwhile investment and require less training—once your cat gets used to it, you can simply zip it up and go.
The most important part of getting your cat to ride in a stroller is to get them comfortable with being in it. This should be done gradually at your cat’s pace, so putting them inside the stroller right away is not recommended.
The training process will likely take at least a week; avoid getting angry at your cat, as this will make them less accepting of the stroller. In addition to patience, you’ll need some treats on hand. Always praise and reward your feline companion when they sit in the stroller, even for a few moments.
Once your cat becomes acclimated to this new mode of transportation, you can spend more time outside together. Being outdoors not only keeps your cat mentally stimulated, but also hones their senses of sight, smell, and sound.
Giving your cat an opportunity to safely enjoy the fresh air and explore beyond their window perch provides essential enrichment, greatly benefiting their mental well-being.
Be sure to choose a stroller that is large enough for your cat to sit up, turn around, or lie down easily. Your cat should also be able to see out of multiple spots; aside from the front, many strollers have mesh windows at the top and back as well.
Before every ride, see to it that your feline friend is securely placed inside the stroller and that all openings are closed. Some strollers also have tethers that hook to a harness for extra protection; if your cat has been trained to wear a harness, it would be a good idea to take advantage of this feature.
The Slow and Steady Method Method
Bring the stroller into your home to let your cat get comfortable with its presence. Don’t put your cat inside yet; let them investigate it on their own for a few days. Make it more appealing by placing treats near or inside the stroller.
Into the driver’s seat
After your cat has explored the stroller for a few days, place them inside, still in your home, but leave the mesh cover open. Reward your cat with a treat if they stay in the stroller, even for just a few seconds.
Zip it up
Once you feel that your cat is ready, close the cover with your feline friend inside for a few seconds, and then open it again. Praise and reward your cat for staying put. Repeat, and increase the time they spend secured inside each time.
Go for practice rides
Now that your cat is comfortable being inside the stroller with the cover zipped up, it’s time to take them for short rides around your house. If your cat gets nervous, keep the rides very short and gradually increase the length. Do practice rides a few times a day for a few days. Don’t forget to give your cat praise and treats for sitting still.
Time to head outside
Place your cat in the stroller, close the mesh cover, and go outside. Push the stroller slowly and watch how your cat reacts. If they seem fine, keep walking. Go to a place with minimal distractions and when the neighbors’ dogs aren’t out for walks to help your cat feel calm.
Patience is key
Remember to be patient with your cat as they get used to this unfamiliar object. If you get angry or frustrated, they will associate those negative emotions with the stroller, so always use a happy tone and reward them with treats and praise to let them know that it is a fun and safe space. Happy strolling!
By Aurus Sy
Published: 08/23/2021, edited: 08/23/2021