Cats, like us, need exercise to lose weight and keep in tip top shape. And also like us, the consequences of carrying around extra weight are serious, ranging from osteoarthritis and high blood pressure to decreased life expectancy.
We know that moderate portions and healthy foods are important for them just as they are for us. But a healthy diet isn’t enough. Without proper exercise our cats won’t be fit.
Where to start
There are a few key points to consider before you start. First, cats are natural hunters. Their ancestors used to stalk prey for their meals. Second, they’re also notoriously lazy. Your cat is probably happy to spend most of its day lounging around. It’s your responsibility to help your cat overcome that urge. Finally, your cat doesn’t have a very long attention span. Keep that in mind when it’s playtime.
Here are a few tips to coaxing your cat toward a daily workout
Combine mealtime & playtime
Play to your cat’s natural instinct to ‘stalk’ their food with simple toys that ration out treats as they engage in a little fun. A simple cardboard box filled with a small bit of dry food and a few holes can keep your cat active during meal time. Feeding your cat on top of their cat climbing tree is another great way to get a little extra exercise in at meal time – as is feeding them at the top landing of a set stairs.
Devote time daily
Devote time every day to exercise your cat. Keep the sessions short - 10 to 15 minutes in active play. Fishing rod toys, toy mice, motorised toys and other toys can keep your cat moving. Even a flashlight can get your cat active. Just remember to let your cat catch what they are stalking occasionally or they could get bored and move along.
Use what you have
Of course, scratching posts and cat trees can entice your cat to keep moving. But a few open boxes or a few empty toilet paper rolls can keep your cat moving too. Pay attention so none of it turns into a choking hazard. Remember that the best type of exercise for your cat is object play. Cats love their toys. The right type of play will not only keep their bodies fit, but their minds sharp as they pounce, tumble, hunt, paw or stalk across the living room.
Climbing to the next level
Most cats love to climb and any climbing activity, if undertaken regularly, will help to improve your cat’s fitness levels. The best climbing trees provide many and varied levels, scratching and climbing options. Scratching is great way to expend energy – so look for a climbing tree that includes a post which allows your cat to scratch at full stretch.
If you can provide sturdy and safe shelving for your cat to climb up, then do so. There are also plenty of pieces of cat furniture available in pet stores that can help you to help your cat get elevated.
Adjust with your cat's age
Younger cats may initiate playtime and will likely stay engaged longer than older cats. Older cats - or overweight cats - may not have the endurance to stick with it. But remember that any time you can spend benefits your pet.
For more information, please contact us at Glen Iris Veterinary Hospital & Cattery.
We are conveniently in the City of Stonnington and Glen Eira. The pawfect location for pet parents living in Glen Iris, Malvern, Toorak, Kooyong, Armadale and surrounding areas!
- Source from our supplier, Royal Canin. Ask our friendly staff for product information.