Cats spend around 15 hours or more than half the day sleeping. Thus, it is necessary to have a solid exercise and play routine for your cat to avoid the negative health consequences of sedentariness. One such ill-effect is obesity. Around half of all cats in the US are obese according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
What makes matters worse is the fact that cats must remain indoors to avoid early death and accidents since outdoor cats are known to have a shorter life expectancy. Hence, indoor domestic cats cannot hunt, exercise and play as they can in their natural habitat. It is up to you the pet parent to ensure that your cat is getting enough exercise. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy exercises for cats that will keep your furry feline friend fit and happy. What’s more, it will also give you plenty of amusement and relaxation.
1. Give Them New Things
You must have noticed that the most unusual objects can pique the curiosity of toddlers and infants. It is not unsurprising to find tiny tots more interested in the packaging than the expensive toy that came inside. Cats have a similar mindset. They are interested in anything that is odd or unusual, something that they have never seen before.
Even a simple old box can be source of amusement for your feline friend keeping it happily preoccupied for hours. You can also cut out holes inside boxes to give them space to wriggle in and out. Cats love to squeeze through small spaces and explore them.
Lasers can be a continuous source of amusement for cats. The mere sight of lasers on the floor will inspire curiosity in your furry friend since they think that it is a bug of some sort. Shift the laser point as they are about to approach it so that they run after it. Your cat will try to pounce on the rapidly shifting laser point to ensnare it. This is just like a hunting exercise something which is hardwired in the DNA of these instinctive hunters.
Just don’t point the light directly in the cat’s eyes. You can also attach something to a string, toss it in front of your cat and pull it away as your cat comes close. In this way, you will have a simple alternative to lasers.
3. Motivate Your Cat with the Right Tools
There are plenty of toys and tools that can motivate your cat to climb, run and play. Even a simple scratching post will motivate your cat to start scratching it and exercise its limbs. If the post becomes worn out then don’t worry, you do not need to replace it. In fact, cats have a predilection for old worn out scratching tools.
Cat condos, cat trees and hanging ropes will encourage your feline pet to stretch, climb and exercise. You can also place a little treat at the top to lure your cat into climbing and stretching. Just make sure that you keep track of the calories that you are providing through little treats since excessive caloric intake can defeat the purpose of exercise.
There are also treadmills and wheels for cats just like hamster wheels. These will help your cat to exercise and lose weight.
4. Prey Play
When buying toys for your cat, invest in items that are furry or that look like small creatures. Cats are the predators by instinct and they are drawn to anything that excites their predatory tendencies. So you take a furry or mouse like toy and hide it somewhere for your cat to find. This will become something of an indoor hunting adventure for kitty.
If you know of other cat parents, you can talk to them to arrange play dates for your kitty. If the cat parents in question have an energetic kitten then that is even better. Just like playful toddlers can keep us grown-ups on our feet and active, the cuddly kitten will also help your cat to remain active.
You can also think of buying a second cat or kitten to keep your cat in good company. A younger cat is a better choice since it will be more docile and playful.
6. Obstacle Course
You can buy the right equipment like hurdles, hoops, cat towers, boxes with holes and tunnels to make an obstacle course for your fuzzy frisky friend to race through. Cats are curious by nature and love to climb wall and squeeze through holes. An obstacle course is much better than leaving them outside on their own or in the alley.
You can get a leash for kitty and take her out on your walking trips. This way, both kitty and owner will get some much-needed exercise as well as fresh outdoor air. Taking your cat on a walk outside for an hour or two is particularly important since your indoor cat will naturally want to enjoy the freedom outside just like you. Besides the exercise, fresh air and sunshine will do a lot of good for your kitty.
8. Play Ball
Even something as simple as a ball is enough to get your kitty up and running. But first you must teach it to play fetch. Roll out the ball a small distance in front of you and gently encourage your cat to retrieve it. It will take some time for your cat to understand what you want. When your cat finally does bring back the ball, show your delight and give it a little treat so that she understands it is something you like.
Once you train your kitty to play fetch, you can have a lot of fun with your cat while exercising it at the same time. It is a good option if you are not feeling too active.
There are many other easy exercises for your cat that you can think of to get it moving and have a jolly good time together.