When people have dogs, they will typically walk them every day or have them engage in play time in order to keep them healthy. However, when it comes to cats, because many are indoor-only, they end up leading a sedentary life, which can lead to a cat becoming overweight and even getting sick. So, you may be wondering how you can get your cat to exercise. First, let us consider some of the benefits of exercise for your cat.
Benefits of Exercise for Your Cat
Exercise helps your cat to keep physically fit. Just as with humans, cats need proper exercise to maintain optimum physical health.
It releases anxiety. Excercise helps to release anxiety and tension. If a cat has no way to release stress and anxiety, it can build up and cause damage to the cat’s health and well-being.
Exercise alleviates boredom. Cats are hunters by nature. They are also very curious creatures. Exercise helps to fulfill a cat’s hunting desire and keeps the cat stimulated mentally. Mental stimulation and well-being, in turn, translate into a healthy and happy cat.
It makes your cat feel good. Who doesn’t like to play? Cats are no different. They enjoy playtime because it’s a break from the ordinary and make them feel good.
It promotes bonding time. Playing promotes bonding between cat and human. This builds up a strong and loving relationship.
How Can I Get My Cat to Exercise?
Getting Your Cat to Exercise Indoors
Getting a cat to exercise may involve patience and creativity, but it is well worth the effort.
Cat toys. For inside playtime, you can use cat toys that you purchase or those you make yourself. Be sure to supervise your cat during play and be careful of which toys you decide to use for your cat.
Lasers. You can also use lasers to play with your cat, but be sure to follow it up with a real, tangible toy. If you use only the cat laser, your cat can develop frustration and fixation because he is unable to physically catch or touch the laser. The advantage of the laser is that you can have your cat running quite a bit trying to catch it.
Cat trees or window perches. Cats love being high up and this gets them moving. Give them plenty of perching options throughout the house.
Catnip. You can also use catnip to provide enrichment and stimulation for an indoor cat. Make your own catnip toy by adding some catnip to an old sock and knotting it. Or, you can add some catnip to a paper bag and crush it into a ball. Another option is to rub it on your cat’s scratching post.
Getting Your Cat to Exercise Outdoors
It may be a little trickier to get your cat to exercise outdoors, but here are some suggestions:
Let your cat out on the porch. If you have a covered porch, this is a great option for your cat because it provides options for exercise as well as allowing your cat to get some fresh air and sunshine, which are also crucial to his good health. Your cat will get exercise chasing lizards and bugs. He will also get stimulation observing the birds, squirrels, and other animals that may be out and about.
Use a harness and leash. This is the one that may be a bit tricky. It will take quite a bit of patience to get your cat used to using a leash but they payoff of doing so is great. Your cat will have the opportunity of exploring the outdoors, which is something cats love to do, but at the same time, he can remain safe.
What is your cat’s favorite form of exercise?