If your cat is an indoor cat, you might worry about whether or not they get enough exercise. Cats, fortunately, have a much higher metabolism than humans which continues to work even as they gracefully lounge around the house. This doesn’t take away from the fact that cats still need regular exercise to keep them healthy and fight obesity.
Unlike other common pets such as dogs, most cats can’t be harnessed to a leash and taken on lovely walks around the local park. (Larger breeds that are mixed with more wild cats such as Savannah Cats or Ashera can be leash trained if put through extensive training that starts right after infancy) It may take some forethought, but there are many different ways you can assist your cat in maintaining a healthy, active life. Playing is a great form of exercise, and it’s fun for all involved. Let’s be real for a moment: we all love the cute cat videos of them chasing lasers.
Why should your cat exercise? Do they need it?
Activity is good for every living creature. It not only promotes a healthy body weight and combats the health issues associated with obesity, but it helps activate and sharpen the mind and build muscle strength. Not to mention it’s fun for both you and your pets and encourages a stronger bond and more trust. A great perk is that you don’t even have to spend money if you don’t want to when you play, and it also takes minimal effort.
Every cat is different. Many factors go into what type of exercise is the best for your pet. Weight, interests, age, attitude, and temperament, as well as the environment of your home all, determine what activities you can do. Cat posts and tiered cat play areas are a great addition to any home. They take up relatively little space, and your cat can scratch, claw, jump and climb to their heart’s content all over it. If you’re a DIY kind of person, you can even build a cat jungle gym with all sorts of levels, ropes, hiding spaces, feathers and jingly bits that will accomplish hours of entertainment and exercise for your cat even if you’re away from home. If your cat isn’t much of a self-starter or is reluctant to be active, you’ll have to be more involved in the process.
Younger cats or kittens will be better about initiating or engaging you to play or will amuse themselves with the nearest box or object. The younger the cat, the more likely they are to be amused easily and once started on a game, will continue to play long after you stop. Older cats, especially ones that are overweight or have lazier tendencies are a bit trickier to engage in any activity. Their endurance is lower than their younger counterparts, and they usually don’t have an interest in prolonged activities or playtime. A bunch of short, playful bursts of activity is better for this type of cat, and they will get the same benefit as a younger cat with younger games. Generally, if your cat spends at least 10 to 15 minutes a day engaged in some form of activity, then they are getting sufficient exercise. If they play longer, then great! It can only benefit them in the long run.
Ok, exercising is important. Is there a particular activity that is better than others?
Any activity that can stimulate a cat’s natural instincts is usually the easiest and safest bet. Especially the hunting instincts. Battery powered mice, feathers on strings, anything to simulate mock movements of common cat prey. And if we can be stereotypical for a minute: what kitten doesn’t love a ball or string of yarn? A piece of thick ribbon or shoelace can be wiggled across the floor or beneath objects just out of reach to really get their energy up. Lasers are a fun and inexpensive way to get them to give chase without the potential health hazards of strings or feathers. (if swallowed either could cause severe medical conditions) Lasers simulate the movements and look of small bugs. In the absence of a laser, a small flashlight will do the trick. Be sure to avoid flashing the light or laser into their eyes.
Thankfully cats can make almost anything fun. Crumpled paper is perfect for batting around, and empty boxes and bags are for exploring and crawling around. Anything from scratch posts to stuffed mice can amuse your cat while keeping them healthy! Which is what any loving pet owner would want for their pet. Give us a call 770-695-3096 Extension 0, and tell us how you exercise and play with your kitties.
Did you know at 2 Paws Up Inc we can provide cat sitting? 2 Paws Up Inc covers areas in Gwinnett County such as Snellville, Lilburn, Grayson, Loganville, and parts of Lawrenceville, Tucker, and Stone Mountain.