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Cats Need Exercise Too

By Dr Katrina Warren on August 24, 2012 in Other

Photo: Bob Diamond

Although cats sleep for up to 18 hours a day, it is very important that they still have an opportunity to exercise their mind and body. Just like humans, if a cat does not exercise then it will probably put on excess weight. An overweight cat is more likely to suffer from conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, cardiac disease and arthritis. Plus, cats get bored if they don’t have physical activity and as a result, they can become destructive around the house.

So how do you exercise your cat? Well, it’s not actually as difficult as may sound. Here are some simple tips that should keep your cat as fit as a fiddle…

Allocate some time every day that is designated playtime. Ten minutes, twice a day is a good start. Invest in some safe toys that allow you to interact with your cat and also offer some toys that your cat enjoys playing with when you are not there. Many cats (but not all) respond to toys that are enriched with catnip. Cats are also often attracted to toys that have a crinkly sound. Play games that get your cat moving, such as tossing a toy a distance away so that your cat chases after it. It’s also worth rotating your cat’s toys regularly to prevent boredom.

Make Your Cat Work For Its Food
Instead of putting dry food in a bowl, place a trail of food around your house so your cat has to hunt for it. You can also buy toys such as a Kong Cat Wobbler that you can place treats inside. Your cat will have to bat the toy about to get the treats out, enjoying a mini workout in the process.

Create An Enriched Environment
These days, many cats live a sedentary indoor life. This is recommended for their own safety, but in doing so they also lose the opportunity to climb trees and hunt (which is a good thing for our native wildlife!). It is important that an indoor cat is provided with things to do, such as a tall cat tree to climb, a scratching post, interactive toys and some cat grass to chew on.

Teach Your Cat To Walk On A Harness
It is not easy to teach an adult cat to walk on a harness but if you train your cat from when it’s a kitten, you will usually have success. Don’t expect to be able to walk around the block, but use it as a safe way to spend some time with your cat enjoying the outdoors. Certain breeds, like the Burmese, are usually outgoing, confident cats and generally take well to walking on a harness.