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Cat Exercise

How do you know if your cat could benefit from being more active? The first thing to establish is if your cat is of the ‘indoor/outdoor’ type or ‘indoors-only’ variety

Does your cat need regular exercise?

Generally speaking, regular exercise helps maintain healthy weight levels, keeps muscles toned, and joints flexible. It also helps prolong life, stimulates the mind, and improves daily wellbeing – whether we are talking about humans or animals. However, when it comes to cats, lack of regular exercise or activity leads to boredom and a sedentary lifestyle, so they’ll either spend their time sleeping or eating. If done in excess, both can lead to problems such as obesity, excess grooming, and behavioural changes, all of which amount to a less than ideal state of health and happiness.

How do you know if your cat could benefit from being more active?

The first thing to establish is if your cat is of the ‘indoor/outdoor’ type or ‘indoors-only’ variety. The reason is simple: indoor/outdoor cats are more likely to be active already as a result of their daily explorations, which would likely involve climbing, chasing and jumping. Importantly, they would also be getting plenty of mental stimulation. 

When home is a cat’s exercise-free sanctuary

Cats that live mostly indoors are another matter. There are many reasons why some cats are kept inside or the cat is happy to stare at the outdoors from the comfort of the indoors: it could be to do with their type of breed pet parents who want to protect them from neighbourhood skirmishes; age; an on-going medical condition; or simply because they live in an apartment. Whichever the reason, it comes down to the fact that indoor cats don’t burn a lot of calories when they are lounging around.

Many vets today recommend daily workouts to keep your cat healthy if they are not doing it for themselves. And although a cat will not be as willing to go for a 20-minute walk or play fetch as a dog would, there are strategies to keep your cat moving nevertheless. Exercise and games can be a fun and enjoyable way for a cat to expend nervous energy, and for pet parents to strengthen the bond with their cat.

You can do it kitty

Before you introduce your cat to new games or activities, keep in mind that cats prefer short periods of intense activity rather than longer periods of slower activity, such as a long walk. 

Toys

Aside from the range of toys you can purchase in pet stores, you can also make some yourself. For instance, tie a piece of string to the end of a long stick and attach some coloured feathers to it. Wave the stick or wiggle it across the floor to attract your cat’s attention and make it chase the feathers. Alternatively, do the same with a brightly coloured ball of yarn, but make sure that when play ends you put the string or feathers in a safe place to stop your cat eating the string.

You could also put a ping-pong ball in a cardboard box and encourage your cat to paw it around. The intense bounciness of the ball together with the sound it makes in the confined space will certainly keep your cat moving. You could also turn a few boxes upside down, and cut entrance and exit holes in them to make tunnels through which your cat can chase feathers on a string or something similar.

Cat trees and scratching posts

If your cat doesn’t have the opportunity to climb trees or jump on fences outside, install a multi-tiered cat tree or carpet-covered scratching pole to encourage jumping, stretching and climbing. These activities will also help improve balance and coordination. Alternatively, install a sturdy shelf near ceiling height not only to encourage jumping, but also to give your cat a vantage point from which to monitor the comings and goings in your home.

Beam of light

Have you ever seen a cat chase the red dot from a laser beam in one of those home video shows on TV? While laser beams are illegal in Australia, you can achieve the same effect with a small household torch. Aim the light low so you don’t make your cat jump and bump things off shelves, and never shine the light directly in its eyes or it will be game over.

Remote controlled toys

Any small toy that can be moved quickly and randomly around a room will imitate the movement of mice, birds or bugs, all of which are a cat’s natural prey. Naturally, your cat’s instinct will be to focus and give chase. In fact, some pet stores and online retailers sell remote-controlled toys that look like mice, which are known as ‘technocat’ toys. 

A final bit of advice

If you laugh and show your cat you’re having a good time too, it will make for an enjoyable experience your cat looks forward to. Don’t use your fingers as part of play because it will encourage your cat to bite.Finally, with a bit of patience, familiarisation and encouragement, you could get your cat used to wearing a harness and leash, so you can both go out for a walk.

Got a pet health question?

If you have a question on anything from parasites to pet health, ask us we don't bite!

Call The Advantage Pet Care Line on 1800 678 368.

Lungworm & your cat

Protect your cat from dreaded lungworm.

- ↓ -
Got a pet health question?

If you have a question on anything from parasites to pet health, ask us we don't bite!

Call The Advantage Pet Care Line on 1800 678 368.

Lungworm & your cat

- ↓ -

Protect your cat from dreaded lungworm.