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Cat strollers are a cat person’s dream—after all, what could be better than rolling around town with your fluffy BFF? But they’re also usually a dream that doesn’t make it to the real world. The average indoor cat isn’t a big fan of either change or trips, and a cat stroller involves both.
But there’s a group of cats out there who don’t fit the mold: the adventurous kitties who are always sticking their noses out the window or making bids for an open door. These cats crave fresh air and new scenery—and a stroller can be the perfect way to meet their needs.
On behalf of on-the-go cat parents and swashbuckling felines everywhere, we tested one popular and surprisingly versatile stroller to report on the joys and challenges of getting out and about with your cat.
Why would you need a cat stroller?
There probably aren’t a lot of cats who actually need a cat stroller, but there could be some cats who benefit from one.
The obvious candidates are young, adventurous kitties who clearly feel the call of the wild when they see a portal to the great outdoors. They might even like walking with a cat harness—but if that’s a bridge too far, a stroller is an excellent way to help them pursue their curiosity safely.
The same goes for older cat with mobility issues, or cats who are recovering from injuries. For them, an outing in a stroller can offer much-needed mental stimulation (if your vet approves).
Then there are cats with separation anxiety. Though they’re not as famous as their canine counterparts, cats with separation anxiety do exist—and a stroller or cat backpack can be a good way to keep them happy while you’re walking your pup or getting some exercise.
Cat strollers are also practical tools for people: they’re an easy and safe way to transport your cat to and fro. Many of them, including our test stroller, come with a detachable carrier/carseat function. That versatility is handy for those who travel frequently (even if it’s just to the vet).
How would you get a cat to use a stroller?
This is a great question with the usual cat answer: depends on the cat. Some cats are going to say “no way” simply because a stroller is basically a carrier on wheels, and some cats just say no to carriers.
If your cat likes the security of a carrier, you might place the carrier attachment (for this specific stroller) in an area where your cat likes to relax, open it up, and allow them to explore it. After a few days, you could place the carrier onto the stroller frame, place kitty inside, and move it slowly about the house.
With lots of treats and encouragement, your cat may find it a comfortable arrangement. If this is the case, you can then slowly venture outside. Your first foray might just be outside your door, but successive trips can venture farther and farther depending on your cat’s comfort level.
If your cat seems stressed or is obviously not enjoying the ride, you may have an un-strollable cat. It’s unlikely they will change their mind, so instead of a kitty stroller for you, you may have a great re-gift for your small dog friend. Or you might find the carrier and luggage functions useful without the stroller frame. In either case, it’s worth noting that you should never leave an animal alone or unattended in a stroller.
How do cat strollers work?
My pet stroller is made by Ibiyaya, and it’s actually a combination item. Its base is a pretty great cat carrier that can be used four additional ways: as a secure car carrier (with seatbelt straps), as an over-the-shoulder-strap carrier, attached to a little luggage dolly, or with a stroller frame.
The whole getup came nicely packaged and was pretty intuitive to put together, taking in total about 20 minutes. The directions came by way of a little picture sheet, which was easy to follow, but on the box there was also a QR code to access videos for help if needed.
The carrier itself is the star of this show: it provides a variety of kitty entry points (front and sides) and is extremely breathable, with soft sides and a very sturdy frame. On the inside, there’s a clip for a harness and a plush liner pad. Outside, there are many zippers and straps (some reflective), the functions of which become obvious as you use the carrier in different ways.
As soon as I placed the carrier on the floor, my cats immediately made themselves at home in it (and in the awesome box it came in).
We were ready to roll! That is, until we ran into an immediate issue: my gravel driveway. Because the stroller wheels are hard plastic, they did not agree with the soft, textured surface. I could barely drag it across the rocks empty, much less with a 20-pound cat inside. To have tried would have made for a bumpy, strenuous, and wholly unpleasant experience for both passenger and pilot.
The strollable cat
I recently fostered a litter of delicious, floofy kittens from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter. Of this group, there was one kitten who really stole my heart: extremely person-focused, snuggly yet independent, intelligent, demanding, social, curious, adventurous, and absolutely hilarious. Not to mention as handsome as they come. It broke my heart to not be in the position to add him to my family, so my heart was born again when some friends decided to adopt him.
Paul is now about six months old—a great age (and obviously temperament) to try something like this out. Paul shares a dog with his family and is keen to go outside with everyone, but he and his people are a bit leery as to just how to make that work safely. Because Paul’s People live in a highly walkable neighborhood with paved sidewalks, leveled grassy parks, and well-worn walking paths, the situation (and the kitty) were ideal for stroller testing!
The stroller was delivered with the cat carrier attached to its frame, and Paul put himself into it immediately. He just sat in it, popping out every so often, knowing full well he was the best of all possible surprises.
After he spent a day or two entering and exiting the stroller at his leisure, and with lots of treats, Paul’s People took the brakes off and began moving the stroller, with Paul in it, around the house. His immediate response to the movement was “NO.” But with more treats and kind words, as well as the ability to escape when needed, he eventually got used to the movement.
Then the big day happened! Paul was fitted in his kitty harness (attached to the carrier with its internal harness clip) and rolled outside. Because the front netting of the carrier was unzipped a bit too far, Paul immediately jumped out. It was a great test of the safety clip, which held his harness beautifully, leaving Paul semi-dangling, but with feet on the ground, from the carrier.
With some adjustments to the size of the netting in the front opening, Paul was able to enjoy the rest of his stroll in comfort—able to pop his head out and look around when he wanted and also able to tuck inside the safety of the carrier when he so chose. And so it went for about half a mile. A pretty impressive first roll!
Let’s start with what wasn’t great, which was very little:
- The only complaint any of us had about this entire get up was how it functioned with the carrier attached to the little “luggage” wheelie. While it is convenient, especially for transporting a heavier kitty, the carrier attaches only in an upright position. This means the air holes become the bottom of the carrier—not as comfy for little kitty feet and hineys.
- This same configuration means larger kitties can only sit upright, leaving less hidey space.
What we liked:
- The instructions were easy to follow. We didn’t need to use the QR code for the instructional videos, but it was a nice touch.
- The carrier itself is fantastic—lightweight but structured, with zippers all around for figuring out how best to insert a kitty (based on their preference, of course).
- The stroller frame is extremely lightweight but super solid (not flimsy at all). It is easy to fold down, and it folds up small for transport.
- Wheel brakes on the stroller frame make it easy for kitties to get in and out on their own (or for those who depend on human loading/unloading) as well as for safety when in use.
- Drink holder for coffee as well as a little container for keys/phone if needed.
- Under stroller storage is great for trips to the mailbox and back (or whatever you might collect along your stroll).
- On hard surfaces, and even in the snow, the wheels are solid and make for a smooth ride.
Should you get a cat stroller?
If you have a kitty who is adventurous, active, and trusting, a stroller can be really fun—and this is a great option. If your kitty is not up for the adventure but you could use a hand in getting them around, this has so many options for doing so that you really can’t lose.