Cat Strollers: Embarrassing or a good idea?

“Were you not the tiniest bit embarrassed? It looks a bit better than the average cat carrier, but OMG”

“I was thoroughly embarrassed! But at least my shoulders don’t hurt from lifting.” (these are quotes from the photographer’s Flickr page)

So, what do you think? I’ll tell you what I think for what it is worth. I’m crazy about cat strollers….. 😉 Well, not quite, but…they do fix some cat problems if you can get over the embarrassment. One day, I might get up the courage and try one out in London.

Cat Strollers. A good idea?
Cat Strollers. A good idea? Photo by brownpau
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What is probably certain is that you are sure to meet people! LOL. Imagine going to the local shops pushing your cat in front of you in a cat stroller. At first, other pedestrians would think you were pushing a rather odd looking pram. They’d look for the baby and see a cat 😉 Then they’d look at you and probably smile and begin a conversation.

It depends how much of an exhibitionist you are and whether you can take the attention – update: no one notices my cat in his stroller. They see a baby instead. On the practical side the advantages are there if your cat is a full-time indoor cat:

  • Your cat gets to see, hear and smell new and stimulating things (we hope!).
  • Your cat is safe while exploring new places.
  • The device overcomes the need to provide fresh stimulation for your cat in safety. That can be quite hard to achieve.

Is the cat stroller slightly anthropomorphic? It looks like it! It treats the domestic cat as a baby. But I think that is just coincidental. The device was not born out of a desire to treat a cat as a baby. It was created as a practical solution to the age old problem; to mentally stimulate a cat in safety. It also allows a cat owner to be with their cat more rather than being at home alone.

Some cat strollers look like prams which is why 90% of people you pass in the street don’t see a cat but expect to see and therefore see a baby instead.

Update: I did it and went and bought a cat stroller. Here it is (below) by the Thames river near Teddigton, England. The woman is my SO. The boat is a pleasure cruiser going from Richmond to Kingston Upon Thames. It was a very fine day for a walk by the river. This was Gabby’s (my cat) first outing in the stroller.

Cat Stroller and Girlfriend

Gabriel in Cat Stroller

Update: June 2002-the years have rolled by and there is quite a strong movement towards keeping cats indoors full-time nowadays. This alters the dynamic between owners and their cats. It puts greater emphasis on good cat caregiving. The owner has to do more to stimulate and entertain their cat. To create an environment inside the home which is, from the cat’s perspective, interesting. And you can enrich their life through a cat stroller as it enables the owner to take their cat outside and he bombarded with all the stimulation that your cat can take while being kept safe in their stroller.

And it is a good way to meet people so if you can pluck up the courage, I would recommend them. I have tried mine many times and they put a smile on your face an on the face of people you meet with whom you start up a conversation. You should try and make the stroller an attractive place for your cat to be so they, ideally, jump into it and ask to be taken outside.

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57 thoughts on “Cat Strollers: Embarrassing or a good idea?”

  1. I love this piece, thank you for posting! We have this exact division in our household of one of us being embarrassed and the other thinking it’s a good idea. In January we adopted a rescue cat from an organization and promised them we would keep her indoors. I understand the reasoning (and we live in New York City) but having never had a cat before I had no idea how often they look out the window observing the outside action – birds, trees, pedestrians, she finds it all fascinating. Of course we have to keep windows closed so she won’t jump out. But she loves windows and seeks sunlit spots. A leash would be dangerous as she might get distracted and get lost (a cat just did run away whose owner walked her on a leash, in Central Park). She also gets very anxious and skittish about being put in her carrier. And she sometimes tries to follow me outside. I’ve ordered a stroller for her so I can bring her on walks with me and she can get some fresh air and sun and see some sights but safely, behind a mesh screen. I will obviously wait until it’s a bit warmer and use it at times and in places that won’t be too crowded. I feel it will make life easier for her when I actually have to take her somewhere, like the vet, and she won’t be zipped up in a bag. But I also hope that she will actually enjoy it. Keeping an animal indoors its whole life seems much stranger to me than putting it in a place where they can enjoy the scenery. My husband is mortified and wants never to be seen wheeling a cat especially by his college students!

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have found that strollers are a nice idea. They can actually attract attention which is good for meeting people. It may take a cat a while to adjust but they work. Some cats actually love them while others may be fearful. Some cats jump in ready to go….!

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  2. I can relate to wanting to find a way to safely let the cat have some new experiences. That’s how I first got the idea of going for a walk with a cat using a leash and harness. I had adopted a cat who felt a need to have a bigger territory to patrol , and he would have no doubt liked to go out and wander on his own, but it was way too dangerous in a busy urban area, with lots of traffic and a cat-killing Rottweiler next door who did not always stay in her own yard. and my cat Louis chased other cats and could get himself into problems that way.
    So I tried getting him used to a harness then a leash , and he very much enjoyed going out to patrol and rub his scent on things. It was important to him to do his regular rounds.

    Yes we got some odd looks from people not accustomed to seeing a cat walking on leash. but I’m sure Louis did not care. We also got people stop to say hi and admire what a big handsome cat he was, and he seemed to like the homage, which he accepted as his due.

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  3. Charlie can’t say in human language “I love being a celebrity” but he can show how he feels in his own way about the experience of riding in a thing like that, or about visiting new places. and Michael doesn’t strike me as being a clueless or uncaring person who would be oblivious to (or ignore) signals. He knows his cat and he seems sensitive enough to animals that I would think he’d be likely to pick up on it if Charlie doesn’t like it — and would not keep doing it.

    I’m sorry if I expressed too strongly my feeling that some of the other commenters were stereotyping cats. I’m sure you don’t see cats as absolute clones. Clearly anyone who has dealt with cats a long time would know they have a range of personalities.

    But it still seems like some of you are not taking into account part of that range, and thus see cats in some kinds of activities as being forced to do something they could not possibly enjoy , but can only stoically tolerate. I absolutely think there is a wide variety in cats’ temperament and what they enjoy. Some are much more extroverted than others.

    I’vv met cats who are so social that I just cannot agree with Rose that all cats are by their species very independent, private individuals. There ARE cats like that, absolutely, but I would not apply that as a species-level characteristic.

    I think researchers in the past few decades have come to see cats as a species are not so solitary and independent as once believed; it’s now thought that they’ve evolved into a more social species than their wildcat ancestors. Thinking about this, I recalled Sarah Hartwell had an article about it. http://www.messybeast.com/soc_cat.htm. Michael also referred to this in this article:

    http://cat-chitchat.pictures-of-cats.org/2012/03/sociable-domestic-cats.html

    It definitely may be I have happened to meet a greater proportion of more social cats.

    I do agree that cats in general are proud. but I think many cats just would not care what some silly human stranger thinks about them riding in a thing like this. What I think most cats really dislike is looking clumsy (like falling off the bed , or trying to jump for something and not quite making it) and being laughed at for that.

    I don’t take my cats out for walks in a pet stroller and I don’t have some stroller marketing contract. but it just doesn’t seem like it would be inherently a bad thing in all situations, depending on the cat. And depending on the stroller. I mean something that was totally open and exposed would not be good . (I dont even know if they make them like that. ) You’d want something where the cat has got room to move back to a covered area if he doesn’t want to be out in public view . (Of course if the cat turns out to spend all the time huddled in the back corner not taking an interest in anything, obviously that means he doesn’t like it.)

    Michael, IF you decide to try this,
    a general remark is that when you introduce something that is new, it is better to get them used to it in increments.
    Like if you are going to bring a cat or kitten somewhere in a carrier and they’ve never experienced that before, it is best to get the carrier in advance and set it out in the house for them to explore.
    I would think the same principle would apply with this thing…. you’d want the cat to first get used to the object, get their scent on it, put a blanket with their scent on it inside it. Toss some treats in, or a toy, include it in a game.

    The next thing is for the cat to get used to being in it when it’s moving and ideally one would want to first try that within the cat’s home territory.

    Then, walks in a quiet neighborhood and/or at a time of day when there are few pedestrians or vehicles about.

    In other words, don’t just put him in the thing and immediately head to some very busy , heavily populated place looking for fame. ( lol. I do think you were joking about that part.)
    And just be observant and attuned to his reactions and ready and willing to admit it was a mistake if he doesn’t like it. Some cats definitely would not care for it. but I don’t know Charlie and it sounds like you have some reason to think he might enjoy it.

    Reply
    • Thanks for taking the time to write this informative comment. I added a link to your comment on the sociability of the modern domestic cat. I concur that the domestic cat, subject to personal preferences, can be quite sociable.

      I am seriously considering trying out a cat stroller for the sake of my cat. He might like it – the sensations: smells and sounds he can’t get inside. I firmly believe that most cat caretakers, including me, can do more to stimulate a cat’s mind and make life richer.

      The difficulty is doing that in a world that is dangerous for a cat in many places. London is dangerous because of traffic.

      I am very protective of him and if he hates it the device gets dumped but as you say, a slow and careful introduction may bear fruit.

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      • Go for it, Michael! Charlie may enjoy the change in scenery with the feeling of safety. I have a 16 year old male, Oscar, who loves going for rides around the RV park where we live. I can’t afford a fancy carriage for him, but a wire pet crate in the garden utility wagon serves well. A large comfy pillow inside, a white cover on the top to protect him from the sun, and he’s ready for the trip around the park. Not all my cats enjoy the wagon. The first time we used the wagon was 5 years ago to try to entice Oscar’s wife, Bitsy, to come home after she was accidentally carried out of the house hidden in a chair. Bitsy was so traumatized, she wouldn’t let me near her and she wouldn’t get into the crate, but with Oscar’s encouragement, she followed the wagon home. 3 of my 4 yearling cats enjoy rides together around the park as well, but Oscar insists on riding solo. The carriages are nice, but when I have 3 wanting to ride together, the crate/wagon accommodates them comfortably.

        Reply
        • I admire you for doing it and I am sure your cats enjoy the extra stimulation it brings. Cats need stimulus. Are you in America? I don’t think there is a single cat stroller in the UK! That said I am still considering it. It would be fun and I am sure Charlie would get used to it (he is a nervous boy though). There are some good parks where I live (Richmond Park is glorious). I could go for a picnic in the park with him 😉

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          • I live on the south side of Burleson, Texas, a southern suburb of Ft. Worth (USA). The park I speak of is set up for recreational vehicles (gypsy camp). I own and live in a large travel trailer. The RV park is surrounded by woods and when not full of RVs, can be quite pleasant to walk through. I’m no longer medically fit to drive and there are no public parks within reasonable walking distance. Our winters are mild, but our summers are brutal. When the temperature goes above 80°, our walks are suspended for the season. I’ve lived in this park for 7 years and some of the other long-time residents get a kick out of seeing me pulling my “cat wagon” around the park. Being the resident catlady has been good for the feral cats, as I’ve educated the management and other residents of the benefits of hosting a feral colony. New residents are instructed to respect the cats or face eviction. I provide a feeding station for the “park cats”, foster for a local cat rescue (currently 8 kittens & 1 momcat), and have 6 of my own ranging in age from 16 years to 1 year old. I have full time employment at a convenience store/gas station next door to the park and a girlfriend takes me grocery shopping once a week.

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  4. Me too Michael and she says herself she looks more like a character from the Mikado than a mother cat lol lol
    It’s a good way to raise funds though

    Reply
    • Oh I’ve loved seeing that again,following in installments the lead up to that day was great,lol I must agree Barbara could have got a part in the Mikado in that costume lol lol
      Are you ever doing it again Barbara?

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  5. To rephrase that a bit the person pushing the pram would be finger pointingly mocked and the imprisoned cat pitied but in the US the cats feelings probably wouldn’t even enter in to it by most people.

    Reply

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