Monday, May 23, 2011

My Cat Strolling Adventure & $50 PetSmart Gift Card Giveaway Winner!

Strolling incognito (yes, there's a cat in there)

It was all doom, gloom, and bad hair-days last week, and this week's forecast isn't looking much better (although temperatures seem to be rising, at least!)


Fortunately, the clouds parted for a few brief moments over the weekend, during which time I took the opportunity to take the kitties out for a ride in their brand new pet stroller, which I purchased as part of Apartment Guide's "A New Place For Your Pet" Blogger Challenge!

Before we get into that whole adventure though, let's take a minute to discuss how I decided on what stroller to get.

I didn't feel like we were ready for a super deluxe model ($200+), because I don't plan on jogging up mountains with this thing, and who even knew if they were going to end up liking it? That being said, I also wanted a slight "step up" from the models available in-store at PetSmart and Petco (which were priced at $74.99 and $107.97, respectively), which left me somewhere in the more moderate range.

The only two requirements I had were that the stroller had to be sturdy enough to hold my cats, and that it be a 3-wheeled "sportster" model. After doing some research and reading a few reviews, I finally settled on the Pet Gear Special Edition. The stroller retails for around $139.99+, but I was able to find it for less on sites such as Overstock and eBay, where I ultimately purchased mine for $109.00, including shipping.

The stroller is available in three colors: Blueberry, Raspberry, and Sage. While in my normal life when given the option between those colors I would ALWAYS chose raspberry, the pink stroller just seemed too ostentatious for me (haha!), and I didn't want to subject poor Charlie to even more humiliation.

Pet Gear Special Edition Pet Stroller in Blueberry

The features of the stroller include:
  • Classic Euro-Canopy
  • Deluxe thick fleece pad*
  • Waterproof interior pad
  • Interior tether
  • Large easy access storage basket
  • Parent tray
  • Front locking swivel wheels
  • Rear shock absorbers and brakes
  • Easy fold mechanism

It arrived in a big box, and was folded and completely assembled except for the wheels and parent tray. I'm not the most technically inclined person, and the directions weren't entirely clear, so there were a few hiccups in the wheel "installation" process, but overall it was pretty easy. The "parent tray" as it's called - two cup holders and a space to store your cell, keys, etc., easily snapped into place.

I also want to point out that there's another Pet Gear Sportster stroller that sells for slightly less. I did a side-by-side comparison, and from what I could tell, the only difference between the regular sportster and the "special edition" is the color options are different, and the special edition comes with an extra pocket on the side (not pictured), along with a "deluxe thick fleece pad," which I'm going to discuss in a minute.

Deluxe thick fleece pad

Now, I don't take umbrage with the use of the term "deluxe fleece pad", as much as with the inclusion of the word "thick." As you can see in the picture above, the "pad" is really nothing more than what you might call a lining, with one side covered in thin black fleece (that's completely covered in cat hair after 4 rides, haha), and the other in blue nylon.

That being said, the cats seemed completely comfortable with it, especially since black cats, plus an all black stroller interior might get too hot with a real thick fleece mat anyway. The only other criticism I have is that I had a little bit of trouble with the front zipper (the stroller is front and rear "loading"). All this means is that I'll be keeping the front zipped at all times, so the kitties can just enter and exit through the back, which really isn't an issue.

Can you see Charlie's little yellow eyes peeping out?

The stroller has a capacity of up to 45 lbs, but there was no way Charlie and Priscilla were going to ride in it at the same time. Even if Prissy would tolerate it, I wouldn't say it's overly spacious where two normal to larger sized cats could ride together. One thing I noticed is that they both liked turning around every so often to look out a different side (views are available on all sides, including through the top and back), so strolling solo definitely afforded them the space and opportunity to do so.

For Pets Only!

Charlie went on the maiden voyage, if only for the fact that he was practically in the stroller before I even had the wheels on (Prissy was off taking a nap somewhere). After he hopped in, I quickly zipped up the back and could tell he was extremely confused. As soon as we got outside, his eyes grew wide and his head was spinning in a hundred different directions trying to get a better look at the new, mysterious world around him. I kept recalling a comment someone left on my last post about her cats getting motion sickness from their stroller (ohhnoo!), so we kept the trip short, just a 10-15 minute jaunt around the block, to get him used to the ride.

After returning to the house, I unzipped the back and he popped out looking a bit dazed. He sniffed the stroller and the path from the kitchen to the front door, and I could tell the wheels were turning inside his little kitty head, like, "Woah! What just happened??"

Priscilla put on her big girl pants and enjoyed the ride!

Priscilla's turn was next. She's not quite as laid back as Charlie, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Luckily, she was half asleep at the time, so I whisked her from her usual nap time spot into the stroller without any problem. Once inside, she immediately let out a little hiss, but I think it was aimed at Charlie standing directly next to the stroller, not at the stroller itself. She also got a little swatty when I tried to zip up the back, and looked a bit alarmed (a typical look for her) as we left the confines of her kitty kingdom, but her only audible show of disdain was a plaintive "meow" she let out as we descended the driveway.

After we hit the sidewalk, she appeared to relax and laid down to enjoy the scenery. I didn't particularly see her move around or get up, but every few minutes I would check on her and notice she had rotated to face a different direction. At one point, a neighbor from across the street who was out walking his dog asked, "Is there a baby in there?" to which I replied, "NO, a cat!!"

He crossed the street to get a better look, dog in tow, and I was very curious to see how she would react. This is a cat who's terrified of people, even under normal circumstances (instead of acting out, she usually hides or plays dead). The man peered into the stroller, and the dog barked furiously, but surprisingly, she didn't make a peep, or show any sign of discomfort. She didn't even get up and move further back in the stroller as I'd expected, which leads me to believe that maybe she thinks no one can see her, thus adding to her sense of safety and security.

"I'm invisible!"

When we got back home, before I had even entirely unzipped the back, she jumped out. Like Charlie, she seemed a bit dazed, and plopped right over to contemplate the mystery of what had just happened. I think she enjoyed the trip, but it may take some more time for her to get used to.

For his part, Charlie is completely obsessed with the stroller and makes it a point to sit inside of it whenever he can. He even takes himself for mini-rides around the house, when he leaps in and it rolls across the floor. Even more hilariously, if the back is closed, he puts his paws on it and "pushes" it across the room! I told him he needs to keep working on it, as it may be his closest shot as viral video fame.

Overall, I'm really happy with the purchase, and believe the stroller will change my cat's lives for the better by exposing them to a whole new exciting and stimulating environment, just in time for summer!

Special thanks goes out to Apartment Guide for asking me to participate in their "A New Place For Your Pet" blogger challenge!

As you know, as part of the challenge they are giving one of my lucky readers a $50 PetSmart gift card! I went old school and tossed all of the entrants names into a hat (ok, a bag..I don't wear hats) and the winner of the whole "kitty" is...Sara!


Whether you’re living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide will help point you in the right direction. Apartment Guide has tips for owning and caring for your pet whether you are in a large or small space. It’s helpful information no matter where you live. If you’re ready for a whole new space or are looking to move, Apartment Guide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you find the perfect pet friendly apartment community. You can easily narrow your search to display communities that allow furry friends. Search for available apartments right within Apartment Guide’s Facebook page on the Search AG tab, and search for apartments with your Facebook friends by using the Search with Friends application on

Apartment Guide is owned by Consumer Source, Inc. Apartment Guide partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in its “A New Place For Your Pet” Blogger Challenge. As part of that program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the “A New Place For Your Pet” Blogger Challenge. Apartment Guide and Consumer Source believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.



Ann Dziemianowicz said...

Charlie and Priscilla's Excellent Adventure!

Charlie, how cool you've got the sporty model. Lush interior, roomy, rear view window and a chauffeur!

So funny how Charlie reacted to the stroller. Looks like he wants to go for another spin.

Glad Priscilla felt comfortable.

Have the kitties been outside at all? Or just trips to the v-e-t?

Congrats also to Beth, the winner of the giveaway!

p.s. Stephanie you look so cute pushing the stroller!

Katnip Lounge said...

WANT! This might help our The Baby who PINES to get outside...

::wheels turning inside head::

The Island Cats said...

Charlie and Priscilla look like they enjoyed their adventure!! We're not sure we would like to be carted around in a stroller!! The neighbors already think our mom is a little crazy when she puts us on a leash and walks us around the yard!!

Catsparella said...

@Ann lol, thanks, Ann! No, they don't go outside at all. I have tried leashes in the past, but without any success! (she lays down and you have to drag her along)

@The Island Cats Hmm, I don't know..maybe you would.. I was pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed it!

Julia Williams said...

I would kind of like to try a stroller, but not sure my ego could take being branded the craziest cat lady in town (I live in a VERY small town). I would have told that neighbor "Yes! Yes, there IS a baby in there!" LOL. I do know that after my ill-fated attempt to put my brother-and-sister pair into the same cat carrier, they would not go for a ride together if I did get one. Which is okay I guess -- more exercise for me!

Tamago said...

I tried stroller for my Goro but he did not like it :-( Looks like Charlie and Priscilla enjoyed the stroller. It is very nice!! I would love to take a walk with my kitties like that...:-)

Daisy said...

What a great review! Strollering is awesome! I have a special pink sleeping bag that opens in the center that my Mommeh puts inside the stroller. Then, if I see something that makes me nervous, I hide inside the sleeping bag until I feel safe enough to come out. I love it!

Anonymous said...

" but there was no way Charlie and Priscilla were going to ride in it at the same time"

Does that mean that Charlie and Prissy doesn't get along with each other?

Sometimes, when I looked bored at home, my LL thought that it might be a good idea to get another cat to be my companion. But, my BB thought that I would probably not get along with the new cat because I am a scaredy cat.

Catsparella said...

@MyJoey Cat Charlie doesn't mind her, but Prissy doesn't like Charlie very much. They co-exist in relative peace, but you will never find them touching or cuddling. I think Priscilla would probably prefer to be an only cat. Maybe it would have been easier if we got them at the same time (Charlie is 6 and Priscilla is 10)

Gigi said...

The Human and I really enjoyed reading your story about Charlie and Priscilla's Day Out. But the chance **I** would ever go anywhere NEAR one a them things? Ha ha ha ha--it is to laugh! There's a bigger chance that Camping guy was just off by a few days and the Rapture is coming tomorrow!

Mr Puddy said...

I just imagine some human think some human baby is in there, and then when they saw..It's not a baby but Priscilla. What they is going to react ?..heh..heh..Really wanna se their face : )

HH and The Boys said...

Thanks for the great article. As you know... HH is looking at strollers right now. Does the one you have double as a carrier for the car? HH is looking to use it to take the boys down to the car and transfer to the car for rides. Thanks for your help.

pawhugs, Max

Marg said...

That does look like a nice stroller. We really don't need one here since most of us go outside. It would be a good way for a kitty to go outside and see all the sights. That sure was a great review of the stroller. Have a really fun day.

Pumpkinpuddy said...

OMC! You got wheels! Aren't they the best? I love my stroller so much. You are just gonna love having wheels and outdoors time and lots of whiffing and critter tv.

Anonymous said...

Oh I just stumbled upon the blog post now - I've always thought about getting a stroller for my cats but wasn't sure what they (and the neighbours!) would think! Do you still take your cats out in it? Do they love it? :o)

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