If you’re a pet owner, you know just how imperative it is that you and your furry friends get plenty of exercise in order to stay happy and healthy. In fact, many of the health benefits of exercises for humans are the same when it comes to exercises for cats. For those with a dog, it can be easier to get moving outside with a quick walk around the block, but what about those with cats (especially sedentary cats)?
If you’re a cat owner and cat lover, read on for more information about several exercises that might help your kitty stay active and ensure they’re getting enough exercise.
Info For Cat Parents: What Are Some Potential Health Risks For Sedentary Cats?
The idea of getting exercise is key for a pet owner’s health and that of their sedentary cats (indoor cats). Where outdoor cats can simply slip out into the yard to chase various critters around, indoor cats often need more attention to ensure they’re getting the proper amount of exercise.
Cat owners who don’t regularly encourage their sedentary cats to exercise risk their pet not only turning into a couch potato kitty but an overweight kitty, too. Cat obesity may lead to several specific health issues, including:
- Feline diabetes
- Liver disease
- Joint issues
- Urinary problems
- Digestive issues
- Skin problems
- A decreased quality of life1
Try Out These Cat Toys To Get Your Kitty Moving
Because sedentary cats don’t get a lot of outdoor action, playing with their toys is one of the main ways they’re able to be active. Check out this list of cat toys that may help keep your cat on their toes and contribute to a regular exercise routine.
- Feather toy wand: This wand toy often utilizes dangling feathers in front of sedentary cats in order to prompt them to jump or run around in order to “catch” it. Playing with a feather wand toy is also a great way to allow sedentary cats to hone their natural feline hunting instincts.
- Cat tree/cat tower/cat shelves: Cat trees are a great way to naturally allow sedentary cats to exercise on their own time. Cat trees create a space for climbing, which, much like their natural tendency to hunt, appeals to a sedentary cat’s natural inclination to climb and explore.2 To further help your cat love their tower, try placing small treats at different levels.
- Cat exercise wheel: An exercise wheel can be a great form of exercise for your indoor cat or senior cat. You’ve probably seen a hamster or gerbil run around on a similar wheel. As with the cat towers, using treats in order to increase your kitty’s propensity to use the cat wheel can be a great solution.
Can A Catnip Toy Lead To More Physical Activity For Your Cat?
Catnip can be used as yet another way to ensure your cat is getting exercise. This is because catnip is an incredibly sensory experience for cats, and it may act as a stimulant. So, it stands to reason that a catnip toy can be a great tool to help your pet exercise.3,4
Catnip toys, like catnip-stuffed mice, will most likely cause your cat to roll around, jump, or even rub their heads or bodies on the herb, thus allowing them to get active.5 If you’re concerned about using catnip toys, talk to your veterinarian about whether they think these toys might help your sedentary cat get some exercise in.
Exercises For Cats: Try These Fun Activities To Give Your Cat Exercise
In addition to the toys listed above, here’s a list of exercises for sedentary cats that may help them get plenty of physical activity in order to keep them at a healthy weight.
Have Fun With Laser Pointers
Not only will this cat workout allow your kitty to get plenty of exercise, it will allow you and your household to get plenty of laughs, too. Your cat will try endlessly to get a hold of the laser when you shine a laser pointer on the wall. While you enjoy watching them jump and run around in an attempt to catch it, they’re able to exercise physically and mentally. Just don’t ever point the laser anywhere near their eyes, and make sure you’re using a laser pointer that’s safe for pets.6
If dog owners can do it, why can’t cat owners? Consider taking your kitty for a nice walk on a leash. It may take some practice, but with the proper training and equipment, your cat could be loving the outdoors in no time. Patience and perseverance are key, but as with dog walking, it can be mutually beneficial for both pet and owner once they’ve taken a liking to it. Talk to your vet about the best way to get your cat used to a leash and harness.
Create An Agility Course Or A Hockey Rink For Your Feline
Creating an agility course or hockey rink that involves various levels of challenges is a great way to ensure your kitty is getting that physical activity and cat exercise in. Even sedentary cats may enjoy a mixture of speed and challenges, and these two “obstacle courses” allow them to exercise both physically and mentally.7
Mix things up with a cardboard box and a ball or two to really allow your cat’s fun side to come out in the hockey rink.
Get Another Furry Friend
This is another great option for cat owners who find themselves out of the house for most of the day. Getting a furry feline friend for your cat may help encourage them to get up and get moving while you’re out of the house, especially if the new addition to the family is a younger kitten paired with an older cat. If you’re not up for adding a second kitty to your household, consider setting up playdates with your friends’ felines to stimulate some cat exercise.8
Schedule Play Time
While it’s important to ensure their physical activity, cats typically enjoy sleeping and lying around a lot. If your job requires you to be gone for a good chunk of the day, try scheduling a playtime with your cat (or kitties) either right when you get home (so that you can unwind), or before or after dinner. No matter when you schedule your playtime, it’s important to note that even small bursts of activity are beneficial for your cat’s health.
The Purrfect Routine
If you’re a cat parent who’s worried about your sedentary cat and their risk of pet obesity, talk to your veterinarian about ways to ensure they’re getting enough physical activity. They can be extremely helpful in working with you to come up with the perfect cat food diet and routine that could help your beloved furry friend when it comes to pet obesity prevention, especially in young cats.
The most important thing to remember is that a healthy cat is a happy cat. If you’re having fun, your pet will, too. Whether it’s dangling a feather toy in front of your adult cat or building them a kitty gym, your pet deserves to be taken care of.