How To Get Your Cat To Like Pet Strollers
You just bought a pet stroller and prepared for a walk. Your cat jumps out as soon as you put him there. What do you do?
Pet strollers are a great way to take your cat out and about. There are lots of great strollers available to accommodate cats. With a little research, you're sure to find one that's perfect for you and your kitty.
Training Your Cat For Pet Strollers
If you want to get your cat to go along for the ride, the bottom line is that your cat must feel comfortable with it.
Your cat may need some convincing to get used to their new ride at first. This is why incentives are a good idea.
You should also choose a stroller that is roomy and accommodating, be prepared, and make sure that your cat is comfortable.
Here are some tips to get your cat to like their pet stroller:
- Your cat must be comfortable
- Appropriate size is important
- Consider enough space for several cats
- Familiarize your feline before a walk out
- Include blankets and toys inside the stroller
- Carry your cat to the stroller
- Use a reward system for training
1. Consider Comfort
If you want your cat to enjoy their stroller, you need to make their comfort and security top priorities. Quality materials are essential.
2. Size Matters
When choosing a stroller, consider its size compared to the size of your cat. An extra large tabby might not be comfortable in the smallest of pet strollers, and a small area might be too tight. The right size should allow your feline to move comfortably.
3. Make Room for Everyone
If you have more than one cat that you will be walking, when possible it is probably best to choose a stroller that can accommodate all of your cats at once. Some strollers are made to seat up to four cats.
Attempting to cram cats in a stroller built for one is likely to result in an unhappy experience.
4. Familiarize Your Cat Before a Walk
When you purchase your stroller, bring it inside where your cat is likely to spend time. Leave it inside for several days so that your cat can grow comfortable with its presence.
5. Add an Incentive
After a day or two, place one of your cat's favorite toys, blankets or treats in the stroller to get them interested in being in the seat. This incentive will be used to get them into the seat, and once they are there, they will see that it is not so bad.
6. Give Your Cat a Helping Hand
If they do not get in the stroller on their own, you may need to help them up, especially the first few times.
For older cats or those who suffer from joint problems, you may always need to place them in the seat. More agile cats will often jump in the seat on their own.
You may want to think about leaving their favorite cuddly or cat-nip filled plaything in the stroller consistently, even once they are comfortable enough to take the stroller for a spin.
7. Use A Reward System
When your cat does begin to willingly get in the stroller, or allow you to place them there, and stay even for a few minutes, this is when to start to reward their efforts. You should always have a supply of healthy, tasty treats as it comes very handy in training.
Precautions Before Your Walk
- You and your cat's safety is top priority
- Zipping shouldn't be used a punishment
- Plan your walk
- Bring leash and harness
- Include bathroom breaks in your plan
- Don't forget your cat's feeding schedule
- Don't forget to bring pet necessities such as a water bowl
- Do not rush out, gradual change and introduction to the new environment is effective.
- Don't forget to connect with your cats
1. Safety First
When your cat is in the stroller, you should exercise caution and care at all times. Even when you are just circling your living room, make sure that you don't jerk or make sudden movements or turns.
You do not want to hinder your cat's progress by frightening them at any point in the process. Your cat needs to feel safe, or they will come to resent pet strollers.
2. What About the Zipper?
Once they can sit in the stroller without becoming agitated or frightened for a few minutes at a time, then you should zip the enclosure.
You may be able to zip the enclosure without them even noticing at first. But, if they do notice, you should be prepared to whisk them around the room, so they understand that the zipper is not to bore or punish them.
The goal should be not only to get your cat to tolerate the stroller but that they enjoy their time here.
3. Map Your Route
Before taking your cat out for a spin, walk the neighborhood to check for anything that is likely to spook your cat or make the ride unpleasant.
Avoid noisy or loose animals on your route. Also, steer clear of construction sites, road work or major bumps in the road. Lastly, try avoiding dog parks or areas with plenty of dogs. You don't want to put your cat in a tensed mood.
If your neighborhood is equipped with sidewalks, it would be ideal to stay on them for your walk. If not, then just choose the route on the calmest street, with the least noise and traffic.
Your cat will enjoy a smooth ride, free of loud noises and distractions.
4. Use a Leash and Harness
All pet strollers have a zippered mesh enclosure to keep your cat from falling or jumping out. But you can also use a harness and leash when you are going for a stroll.
Go ahead and secure your harness and leash to your pet before hitting the street. This will keep your cat safe if the zipper is undone for any reason.
5. Have a Plan to Manage Bathroom Breaks
Undoubtedly, if you use your stroller regularly, you will run into the dilemma of managing bathroom breaks while you're on the go.
While you are out and about, watch for signs that indicate when your cat needs to take a bathroom break. If they have to use the bathroom, you can unzip the enclosure, and since they are wearing a leash, they can safely do their business in a more private spot.
If you don't respect your cat's basic needs while traveling, they most likely won't be a fan of their stroller. To ensure that your tabby is content, take into consideration what they might need during your walks together.
6. Be Mindful of Your Cat's Feeding Habits
Pick a time between meals for your walks.
Don't wait until too close to meal time or your cat may be hungry, and could become irritable and impatient.
On the other hand, you shouldn't plan on a walk immediately after a meal, either. Make sure you allow plenty of time for a meal to settle before heading out.
7. Be Prepared
If you plan to be out for a long time, you may want to bring along a portable litter box, portable water bowl, and perhaps a small snack, in case they become hungry or thirsty during your outing.
Choose a cat carrier with storage platform such as the image to the right:
Remember, a hungry cat is not a happy cat.
8. Take it Easy
For those just starting out with pet strollers, you want to take it slow.
You shouldn't plan on walking a marathon during your first few trips. Start with a short walk and stay close to home at first. There is plenty of time as your pet grows more comfortable in their stroller to begin extending your walks for longer periods.
Eventually, you might want to take your cat with you when you go for a hike or a ride on your bike. There are pet strollers that are made for rough terrains and those that attach to your bicycle. But for now, your cat will appreciate easing into this new activity.
If you want your cat to enjoy strolling, it's best not to make the ride too rough, especially when you are just starting out.
9. Stay Close to Home
It may help if you stay in the area that your cat is most familiar with in the beginning. A walk around your block might be preferable to a walk around the city park when you are just starting out.
Staying close to home in the initial period is beneficial for a couple of reasons. Your cat may be able to sense their surroundings, which might make them less tense. And, if you run into people along the way, your cat might even recognize them if they are neighbors that they have met before.
Another reason that it helps to stay close is if your cat does become distressed during their first few tries with their new wheels, you can always turn around and head home. If this does happen, you will be glad that you haven't wandered very far.
If your cat feels out of place or wanders away during your walk, neither of you will be very happy.
10. Reassure Your Cat Along the Way
When walking your cat in their stroller, it's a good idea to give them boosts of reassurance for encouragement.
Try talking to your cat while you walk. Our pets are often reassured just by hearing our voices.
If you do stop to speak to neighbors or take a break, you may want to get your cat out and hold them or give them a few strokes. However, don't unzip your cat's enclosure unless you have safely secured them with a leash and harness. Otherwise, if your cat decides to make a run for it, you could be in trouble.
Cats, like infants, feel comforted by the sound of your voice. Talking to your cat can be a comforting way of letting them know that you are there, and it will help them to relax if they are nervous along the way.
The Benefits of Using Pet Strollers
Pet strollers offer cats and their owners a multitude of advantages.
For Elderly Cats
If your cat is growing older and doesn't have the get-up and go that they used to have, a cat stroller would come in handy. It also offers a solution for cats who have arthritis, or physical limitations that prevent them from moving around much on their own.
For Urban Dwellers
It's perfect for cat owners who live in apartments or communities that are dangerous to let your pet outside without supervision. Unfortunately, in most neighborhoods today it's risky to let your pet roam free.
A pet stroller enables your cat to a change of scenery without worrying about traffic or other hazards. They also allow you and your cat more freedom. Spending time with your favorite feline is no longer limited to inside your house.
In addition to taking your cat for excursions, pet strollers can also be beneficial in letting your cat get some fresh air, but stay safe in one spot, while you garden or go to the mailbox.
Your cat will grow to love your walks and will appreciate the change of scenery, fresh air, and mobility that a stroller offers.
By following these simple recommendations, your cat will be ready to ride. And, chances are, you and your cat will grow to love taking walks together.