Although you probably don’t walk your cat around the neighborhood, you can still encourage her to be physically active. Exercise not only helps keep your cat healthy, it mentally stimulates her to stave off boredom. Exercise tones muscles, promotes continuing flexibility and mobility, and helps your cat maintain a healthy weight. Taking part in active play with your cat also strengthens your bond.
How Much Exercise Does Your Cat Need?
Cats don’t require that much exercise because their metabolisms run efficiently even while they lounge around. However, some activity is still important. For your cat to enjoy the benefits of exercise, encourage her to be active for about 10 to 15 minutes a few times per day. Of course, if your cat is elderly or ill, she may not be able to sustain active play that long or that frequently.
How Do Cats Exercise?
Like most animals, cats primarily exercise by running. They also stretch, pounce, swat, chase, and roll. Since you can’t go outside and jog with your cat, play fetch, swim with her, or let her run around at the neighborhood dog park, you need other ways of encouraging your pet to exercise. The best ways to do so are to trigger her natural predatory behavior and to call upon her love of climbing and hiding.
Cats love to chase things, and when they do, they are at their most physically active. They are more easily enticed when young, but by regularly varying the items used, you help keep your cat interested in chasing for play. You may need to try different items with an older cat until you find some that hold her interest.
Give your cat a ball or a crumpled piece of paper to bat around. A lid from a plastic container on the kitchen floor often provides extended entertainment and exercise. Drag a long piece of yarn or a shoelace around the floor, up onto chairs, and a few feet up the walls and into the air. Just remember not to leave yarn or string out that your cat may swallow, as this can result in a life-threatening intestinal obstruction. Play with a toy mouse or bird on a string, mimicking the animal’s behavior. Laser pointers are another great way to get your cat moving, but be careful not to shine it into your cat’s eye.
Climbing and Hiding
Your cat has an inherent love of climbing and hiding. Stimulate these behaviors to encourage more physical activity. If you can afford it and have space for a large cat tree, it’s an excellent way to get your cat to climb and jump. You may be able to duplicate the effects with some furniture and cleared shelves. Design a series of tunnels by cutting holes into the sides of cardboard boxes and putting them next to each other on the floor. Laying down a few paper bags around the room will also work (don’t use plastic bags, as they pose a suffocation risk). Make sure your cat has a few tall scratching posts, too, as she will stretch while using them.
This information was provided by VetDepot.com, an online retailer of discount pet medication for cats.SHARE