While most cats will never learn to run on a treadmill, no matter how much catnip you offer, almost all cats do benefit greatly from some form of regular physical activity. Not only does exercise burn calories, improve muscle tone, and reduce a cat’s appetite, but a healthy exercise plan will also help protect your cat from becoming overweight or obese, extending her lifespan and improving her quality of life. By sticking to a regular feline workout plan, you’ll have a major positive impact on your cat’s overall health.
Consult Your Vet
As always, it’s important to consult your vet before introducing a new exercise program. If your cat has any health issues, ask your veterinarian to recommend activities that fit your cat’s individual needs.
Some cats are very active by nature. Others may require special treats or cat toys to spark that playful spirit. Here are a few ideas to get your cat moving.
- Leave out paper bags, tissue paper, and cardboard boxes to inspire play.
- Provide fresh catnip.
- Encourage your cat to chase toys, balls, sticks with feathers, or flashlight pointers. Be careful not to shine the pointer in your pet’s eyes – or anyone else’s.
- Inspire climbing with a cat tree or cat condo.
- Provide a scratching post or pad.
- Encourage play with other pets. Set up play-dates with a friend or relative’s pet. You may even want to consider adopting another cat.
- Train your cat to perform tricks for low-calorie treats. For example, teach your cat to run to you from across the house, or climb up her cat tree when you shake the box of treats.
- Get your cat a food puzzle. Specially designed cat toys require your cat to work to remove treats inside.
Be sure to choose toys for your cat carefully, avoiding toys with string or small pieces that your cat may try to swallow, and don’t leave toys out for cats to play with unattended.