5 Ways to Get Your Cat to Exercise
Is your kitty a little chubby? Then it’s time to implement an easy workout routine to get her to be more active so she can slim down to a healthier weight. But enticing a lazy cat to get moving can certainly be a challenge.
With the tips below, you can gain a better understanding of what motivates kitties to be active so you can entice your feline friend to exercise more.
Cats Like Short Bursts of Activity
Felines are used to bursts of activity, such as when they’re on the hunt, rather than sustained physical activities. So don’t expect your kitty to run a marathon, as she’ll prefer a short, high-energy sprint instead.
Related: Top 5 Gotta-Have-‘Em Cat Toys
A laser pointer or a feather wand are a couple of toys that you can use to awaken your cat’s hunter instinct to pounce, jump, and run after “prey.” But if your kitty is particularly difficult to motivate, you can try giving her a very small treat once she achieves grabbing the toy and taking down her prey. If she knows that there will be a tasty reward at the end, she might want to participate more.
You don’t have to play with your cat for a long period of time. Even just a couple of minutes maybe two to three times daily could be helpful. You can set a schedule of playing a bit in the morning, again around the middle of the day, and again before bed, especially since kitties tend to be most active around dawn and dusk.
Make Meal Time Exercise Time
Another incentive that you can use to get your kitty to move is food. After all, your cat loves to eat, so why not use food as a tool to motivate her to exercise daily?
Don’t leave dry food out in a bowl for your cat to munch on whenever she feels like it. Instead, create a feeding schedule so you can serve a few small meals throughout the day. Once you set a schedule, don’t place the bowl down right away; instead, carry it around the house, from room to room and up and down stairs, as your kitty follows you.
Another way to encourage more movement at mealtime is by using interactive feeders or puzzle toys. You can also place the food bowl in a different part of the house so your cat will have to walk to it before chowing down.
Even just a little bit more movement like this several times a day, especially when combined with a healthy diet, may help your cat lose excess weight more easily.
Set Up a Kitty Obstacle Course
Agility training is usually associated with dogs, but you can create a homemade obstacle course for your kitty as well. Cats with a lot of energy, those that are motivated by treats and their favorite toys, and those that are trained from a young age could benefit from a run through a fun, kitty-friendly obstacle course that consists of hoops, tunnels, hurdles, and more.
The idea here is to get creative when it comes to playing with your pet. Even if you don’t want to set up an obstacle course, you can keep things easy. For example, a simple toy like a shoelace can be used to entice your cat to run around the house chasing you as you drag it behind you.
Keep Things Fresh
Your cat may become bored with the same old toys every day. When it comes to toys that are safe to leave out for your kitty to find, as well as those used for interactive play, try rotating them. Adding new toys to the mix could also help.
Many cats enjoy climbing up to a high perch, and the process of getting up there is a good form of exercise. Invest in a cat tree with several levels, and use it during play sessions to encourage your pet to climb quickly up the tree to grab her favorite toy.
Remember, daily activity and exercise is important for cats at every life stage and at any weight. With a high quality diet and regular play, you can help your kitty maintain a healthy weight or slim down if necessary.
Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.
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