It's a Strollerpalooza!
Welcome to Stroller Week at The Cat's Meow!
Memorial Day officially marks the beginning of the strolling season, and to mark the occasion, we're celebrating all week by interviewing strollin' cats to get their perspective on the stroller phenomenon. We'll provide a buying guide to help you select the stroller that's right for you, and we'll even go strolling with a special Catster celebrity! Whether you think cat strollers reside in crazy cat lady territory, or are an invaluable means by which you can bond with your cat, we promise to make you a stroller savant by next weekend.
I bought a pet stroller for Skeezix a couple of years ago, and am thrilled with the purchase. Skeezix LOVES strolling. He sits quietly and attentively, watching the neighborhood go by. Mao, my cranky Siamese, was not as thrilled with strollering at first, but once he got the hang of it, he really began to enjoy it. About half the time we take both cats out together. It's funny to watch the two of them in the cabin -- I swear, they jostle for control of the "front seat" just as young children would.
Is strollering just another nutty crazy cat lady craze? Well, my perspective may be biased, but I don't think so. It's analogous to taking dogs for a walk. Although Skeezix is leash-trained, I don't really "walk" him, I just hold the leash and watch as he sniffs every. blade. of. grass. It's tortuously slow. And if there's a dog coming at us, I risk getting scratched to death if I pick him up to protect him.
With the stroller, you determine the pace, and Fluffy gets to sit back and enjoy the ride. Skeezix feels extremely safe within the stroller and nothing fazes him: traffic, dogs or screaming kids. Most other strolling cats that we've talked to feel similarly secure within the cabin. Skeezix loved the stroller from the first moment we set him in it. Mao, who is resistant to anything new, was not quite as enthusiastic at first. But after one ride, even he was sold, and he now rides quietly (well, mostly quietly) with Skeezix, taking in the scenery. We even have a formerly feral cat who follows us like a dog when we take Skeezix strolling (watch the video here).
I've turned a lot of people on to cat strollering over the last couple of years, so I'm familiar with the questions most people have when they're considering the purchase. Here are the most common questions I get asked:
How likely is my cat to enjoy strolling?
You never know until you try. But after talking to a number of people who have cats who don't like strolling, stroller aversion seems to be more common among cats who are terrified of the outdoors, are uncommonly timid, or don't like being enclosed. If your cat is leash-trained in the outdoors, she is likely to enjoy strolling. If you have multiple cats, the odds are that at least one will enjoy strolling.
Where do you buy pet strollers?
If you aren't sure whether your cat will take to strolling, I recommend buying the stroller on eBay. You can get a pet stroller that's been used only a couple of times for a fraction of the retail price. And if it doesn't work out, you can turn around and auction it back. Overstock.com is another good place to get a deep discount on strollers.
Most major pet retailers sell strollers, though not always in their bricks-and-mortar stores. And if they do carry them in stores, they usually only keep one or two models in stock. Some online merchants specialize in pet strollers; at least two of which offer free shipping:
How much do pet strollers cost?
Like baby strollers, cost runs the gamut from around $60 to over $300. But you can get some pawsome deals on eBay and Overstock.com, and JustPetStrollers.com will match other retail vendors' lowest price (with some restrictions).
How do you get your cat accustomed to strollering?
The most effective way is to put your cat's favorite blanket, toys, and even a little nip inside. Leave it in the house where your cat has access to it, and let your cat explore it on her own.
Once she's acclimated to it, zip her in. Once she's okay with that, push her around a bit inside the house in it. Depending on the cat, some people will make the outside transition gradual as well... leaving her on the porch for a bit, then in the driveway, and gradually taking her down the street. Find a quiet place to stroll, at least at first. For your first stroll, don't go too far, and monitor the cat for stress. We try to time our strolls for points in the day when the cats are unlikely to need to use the litter box, and we pack leashes and harnesses, just in case.
What kind of stroller does Skeezix have?
We have a Jeep Rubicon pet stroller.
Would you recommend it? Would you buy the same model again?
I do recommend it highly. If I had it to do over again, I might consider the Pet Gear AT3, mainly because the Jeep has a fixed front wheel which sometimes makes it a bit difficult to maneuver. Not a big deal, but the less expensive Pet Gear stroller is probably a better buy... UNLESS you jog with the stroller. Then I think you really need the Jeep's inflatable rubber tires (which also provide a silent ride). Over the course of this week, we'll talk to cats who have various stroller models to give you an idea which is right for you.
What should I look for when shopping for a stroller?
That's a great question! Check out The Cat's Meow's Stroller Buying Guide for everything you need to know to pick the stroller that's purrfect for you and your cat(s). We'll also interview six strollin' cats to find out thare purrspectives on the stroller phenomenon, we'll give you tips on how to pimp your ride if you have a stroller, and you'll get to watch video footage of Skeezix strolling with Catster friend, Finn. It's gonna be a fun week!