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Does Lyft Allow Cats? Pet Policy & Travel Tips

maine coon in car cat carrier
Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Grant Piper

There are times in life when you might need to travel with your cat. Whether you are flying on vacation or trying to bring your cat to the vet, you might need to catch a ride via Lyft with your cat in tow. But does Lyft allow cats? How can you ride Lyft with your cat?

Lyft does not deny riders with cats, but they also do not guarantee that you can get a ride if you have your cat with you. The final decision for letting you ride with your cat will be up to your driver.

Here is everything you need to know about riding Lyft with a cat, including steps to take to get a ride, the policies in place regarding animals, and tips to follow to increase your chances of getting a ride.

3 cat divider

Lyft’s Animal Policy

1. Service Animals

Lyft allows all service animals in all situations. This is required by Lyft’s internal policies and by law1. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires servicers to accommodate service animals. Lyft’s official policy for drivers when it comes to service animals is Always Say Yes. That means that if you have a legitimate service animal, Lyft has to accommodate you. However, cats are not service animals.

The ADA does not recognize cats as legitimate service animals. There is a difference between a working service animal and an emotional support animal. Cats can be emotional support animals, but emotional support animals are not legally protected in the same way that service animals are.

Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

2. Non-Service Animals

Lyft will still take non-service animals, but there is no overarching policy regarding cats. Lyft tells their drivers, “We encourage you to take all animals,” but they recognize that each driver has the power to deny rides to anyone with an animal. That means that cats can ride on Lyft, but it will be dependent on whether or not your specific driver allows you to board with your cat.

The Lyft Non-Service Animal Policy reads as follows1:

Passengers may sometimes ask to bring their pets along for their ride. Unless the passenger has a service animal, it’s up to the driver to allow the passenger’s pet into their car.

Passengers should call their driver after requesting a ride to ask if they can bring their pet along. If your driver doesn’t feel comfortable with having a pet in their car, you should cancel the ride and request a new one.

If you’re charged a cancellation fee, contact us, and we’ll take care of it.

Drivers aren’t allowed to bring their pets along while they’re driving. Some passengers may be allergic or feel uncomfortable with unfamiliar animals.

cat in cat carrier
Image Credit: zossia, Shutterstock

3 cat face dividerHow to Ride Lyft With Your Cat

This policy means that you are not guaranteed to get a ride with your cat on Lyft. However, there are some steps to take to try to get to where you are going with your cat. Here is how you can ride Lyft with your cat. Results are not guaranteed.

  • Request a ride like usual.
  • Wait for the ride to be accepted.
  • Call your driver and explain that you are bringing your cat.
  • Ask for confirmation that you can bring your cat along for the ride.
    If Yes – Complete your ride as normal.
    If No – Go to step 5.
  • Cancel your ride request.
  • Request a new ride.
  • Repeat until you find a driver that will accommodate your cat.

Most drivers should be accommodating to pets as Lyft encourages their contractors to be flexible. Some drivers might require that your cat be in a carrier or restrained in some fashion. The exact requirements will be up to your specific driver. This can make riding with a cat frustrating because you are not guaranteed to find a driver that will accommodate your cat. This means it could be difficult to get where you are going in a specific time frame.

man talking on the phone
Image Credit: Mimzy, Pixabay

Tips for Riding Lyft with Your Cat

While rides are not guaranteed, it is possible to find drivers willing to take both you and your cat and get you where you are going. In order to get the best chance of success, you should follow these tips when hailing a Lyft with your cat.

  • Always call your driver before you ride with a cat.
  • Do not surprise your driver with a cat without a heads-up.
  • Be polite while talking to the driver.
  • Keep your cat in a carrier.
  • Explain why you are bringing your cat.
  • Ask if the driver has any requirements that would make them more comfortable or more willing to accept your cat.
  • If you cancel the ride request, don’t let them hit you with a cancellation fee. Lyft does not charge cancellation fees for rides canceled because of animals.
  • If a driver accepts your ride request with your cat, be sure to tip them and give them a good driver rating. This will make it more likely that they will accept riders with pets in the future.
  • Know the rules, the policies, and your rights.
  • Remember, cats are not legally protected service animals.
  • Don’t argue or fight with drivers that deny your ride request because of your cat.
  • It could take a few attempts to find a willing driver for your cat. Build in some extra time so you are not late getting to your destination.
cat in cat carrier
Image Credit: SpeedKingz, Shutterstock

3 cat dividerConclusion

Lyft does allow cats to ride, but it is left up to the driver’s discretion in all situations. Cats are not legally protected service animals, so they are not guaranteed to be accepted by any individual driver. However, most drivers will likely accommodate your request as long as you are prepared and polite when making your request. It could take a few cancellations to find a driver that is willing to take your cat, but eventually, you should get where you are going. It is important to know the nuances of these rules, so you are not surprised or left in a bad spot when trying to ride Lyft with your cat.

Featured Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

About the Author

Grant Piper
Grant Piper
Grant is a freelance writer with years of experience writing about a diverse range of topics. He currently lives in his native Florida with his wife. His days are spent writing, raising a rambunctious son, and caring for eight animals (two horses, two donkeys, two goats, and two dogs). In his free time he enjoys slowly carving out a quaint hobby farm from the Southern scrub.

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