Have you ever wished you could take your cat for a walk? Stroller training your cat is a fun way to expand your cat's world. This training can give them a safe way to go to more pet-friendly places with you. Going out in a stroller can be a fun adventure for indoor cats. It can give them an opportunity to experience the sights, scents, and sounds of the outside world.
Selecting a pet stroller for your cat
If you're wanting to stroller train your cat, you'll need a pet stroller. Cat strollers are fully enclosed with mesh windows — unlike ones that are made for human babies and toddlers. A pet stroller allows cats to see through a mesh window — all while keeping them safe and contained.
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There are a variety of pet strollers on the market. Some are large jogger styles with one front wheel and two rear wheels. This type may have storage space for shopping bags or even cup holders — if you are going on a longer outing.
Other cat strollers are more compact and are easily foldable. Unlike baby strollers, most pet strollers have an enclosed compartment. This design feature allows cats to get some fresh air in a safe way — from behind a mesh window. The window is also designed with zippers to open and close it.
Some of these cat compartments can be removed and also used as a cat carrier or car seat. Cat strollers also have a leash or tethers built-in. These can be connected to a cat harness for extra security while out walking together.
The basics for the first time in a cat stroller
Many social and adventurous cats really enjoy being in a stroller and getting the chance to explore more of the world. If you are wanting to teach your cat to ride in a stroller it's important to use positive reinforcement training techniques. This means we want to use rewards like high-value treats to help cats build positive associations.
1. Introduce your cat to the stroller
The first step to teaching your cat to ride in a stroller is to let your cat spend some time building confidence in exploring the stroller at their own pace. To do this, you'll want to put the stroller together in an area of your house and let your cat have free access to explore at their own pace. If your cat shows any interest in the stroller praise and give them treats.
2. Encourage your cat to spend time in the stroller
Once your cat is comfortable with the presence of the stroller in your house the next step is to encourage your cat to spend time inside the stroller. Keep the stroller open so your cat can get in and out on their own. To encourage your cat to go inside, place some treats and toys inside the stroller. You can also use the stroller as a place to put your cat's food bowl at mealtime to further encourage them to spend time inside. This can help your cat to make even more positive associations with the stroller.
3. Have your cat adjust to the movement of the stroller
When your cat is comfortable spending time in the stroller it's time to start getting them used to the movements. Make sure your cat is wearing their harness and attach it to the tether inside. Praise your cat and give them treats. Sprinkle some cat treats in the stroller. Then, close the stroller's door and windows and gently roll your cat around your house in the troller. Then give your cat treats and praise, and let them out of the stroller. Keep these first training sessions short.
4. Give your cat a ride in the stroller at home
Once your cat is comfortable with getting into the stroller and being rolled around your house, it's time to head outside. Make sure your cat is secure inside the stroller, sprinkle treats, and bring your cat's stroller outside. Start during a quiet time of day or in a less busy area near your home for this first outing. Try staying in your driveway or if you live in an apartment try pushing it down your hallway. The goal is to keep these first outings short to let your cat adjust to being out in the stroller.
5. Go exploring with your cat outdoors in the stroller
Once your cat is comfortable going for short stroller rides near home it's time to start slowly building up to longer walks in your neighborhood and out in the community. At this stage, you want your cat to be comfortable and confident in the stroller. You also want that they are curious about the outside world. Start slowly and build up your outings over time. Make sure your cat is having fun — instead of going on the longest walk possible.
You can begin taking your cat out on longer walks in your neighborhood or to pet-friendly stores when your cat is more confident. Go out during quieter times of the day and then build up to a more crowded or noisy outing. If at any point your cat seems stressed about being in the stroller, end the outing immediately.
Make sure your cat is comfortable and not stressed out by the stroller
You never want to force a cat into a stroller. As you stroller train your cat, monitor them closely for any signs of stress or anxiety. Always use positive reinforcement techniques when training. If your cat is stressed out by the stroller riding process, you'll want to go slower. Or, you can go back to the earlier steps of the stroller training process.
Teaching your cat to be comfortable riding in a cat stroller can be a great way to add enrichment to your cat's life. Strollers are a way to provide your cat with safer access to the outside world. Social and outgoing kitties can also get access to new sights and smells through a stroller. Go at your cat's pace. Allow them to first get comfortable with it while inside your home. Then, build up to longer walks and eventual outings.