How to Exercise Your Cat

The Great Outdoors – the Best Exercise Around

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If available, allow your cat to have as much outside access during daylight hours as they wish – this will stimulate them into undertaking as much natural activity as possible.  You can even join your cat outside if they are comfortable with this. You can also encourage your companion to get active with the help of toys and training aids.

However, at ROYAL CANIN®, we do understand that allowing your cat outside may not always be an option, as many cats these days have totally indoor lifestyles. Perhaps you live near a busy road or have a cat with specific needs that means it has to be kept inside? Some cats may even need extra exercise to help them maintain a healthy weight, even if they do have outside access.

Therefore, it is vitally important that you also engage in indoor play activity with your cat.  Not only will it help to keep them trimmer and fitter but it should also help to develop the bond between you and your feline companion.  Getting down on the floor at your cat’s level to play with them will also help you to keep fit as well.  Four of the best ways of engaging your cat’s attention will now be covered in more detail:

Toys

Toys can take many different forms; basic toys such as cat scratch posts should be made available at all times to allow your cat to undertake basic exercise and to express natural scratching behaviours.  However, there are other toys, which allow you to interact with your cat.  These can include toy mice and feathers.  Battery operated toys, or toys on a string dangled in front of your cat’s nose will often encourage their hunting behaviour and can help them to exercise for periods of around 15 minutes before they start to lose interest. Try to engage your cat several times a day to get the most out of their exercise regime.
It is very important to remember, if you allow your cat to play with toys with strings and small parts, always do so under close human supervision, so your cat is unable to swallow them, as in severe cases they can cause blockages if eaten.  It is better to take these toys away from your cat when you are not playing with your feline companion, as it keeps your cat more interested every day when the toys come out and it means you can safely store them out of harm’s way when you aren’t with your cat.  If your cat shows little interest in toys, do try some which have been stuffed with the herb known as “Cat Nip” – in many cases this will help to engage your cat much more considerably.

Makeshift Toys

Keep your cat’s interest in play-time high by varying their everyday toys with make-shift toys that are new and interesting.  These may include a ping pong ball thrown downstairs for your cat to chase, a container of shredded paper for them to dig through and scrunch up or a torch or laser-light for your cat to chase around a darkened room.  Remember, if using lasers never point them in pets or other people’s faces as they can cause serious damage to the eyes.  Always keep your cat’s safety a priority when using makeshift toys.

Provide Multi-Level Living

Encourage indoor activity by allowing different level living as much as possible.  If you can provide sturdy and safe shelving for your cat to climb up, then do so, allowing them to nest in dens in higher spaces and encouraging multi-level housing as much as possible.  Any climbing activity, if undertaken regularly, will help to improve your cat’s fitness levels.

Keep Food and Water as Far Apart as Possible

Another way in which to improve activity levels in your cat, is to keep their feeding station upstairs and their drinking water downstairs, or vice versa.  Some people even choose to vary the location in which they provide the food, so their cat has to search for it. This is probably best reserved for dry food only, as wet food may go bad before your cat has had a chance to find it!  You can vary the location of drinking water as well but it is always best to have at least one reliable and consistent watering point for your cat, as you don’t want them going thirsty.

 

And finally, if you are unsure about how to get your cat to exercise safely, or just want a few more tips, then please don’t hesitate to contact your local veterinary surgery for more advice.

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