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Exercise for Cats: Keeping your feline friend active and healthy

Cats are known for their natural agility and hunting instincts, but they also require regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being. Providing suitable exercise opportunities for your feline companion is crucial to prevent boredom, promote mental stimulation, and enhancing their physical fitness. Here, we’ll explore some of the best methods of exercise for cats, keeping in mind their unique needs and preferences.

Why is it important to keep cats active?

Keeping cats active is vital for their overall well-being and health. Regular exercise for cats helps prevent weight gain and obesity, which can lead to numerous health issues in felines, including diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular problems. In fact, in North America almost 60 percent of domestic cats are overweight. Physical activity and cat exercises also help maintain muscle tone, joint flexibility, and overall agility, contributing to their overall physical fitness. Additionally, engaging cats in interactive play and exercise sessions provides mental stimulation, preventing boredom and destructive behaviours.

Cat exercising can make your pet happier, more fulfilled, and less likely to develop behavioural problems associated with inactivity. Furthermore, when you help cats exercise, it strengthens the bond between you and them, as interactive playtime provides opportunities for social interaction and positive reinforcement. Therefore, prioritizing and incorporating regular exercise into a cat’s routine is essential for their physical health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.

Active vs Inactive cats

Just like humans, some cats exercise and are more active than others, just some are more prone to obesity. The Abyssinian, Bengal, Devon Rex and Savannah breeds are well known for their active and playful nature and go-go-go attitude. On the other hand, Ragdolls and Persians are often considered the couch potatoes of cats, preferring to laze on furniture rather than run around. It is also more common for neutered and spayed cats to become less active and experience weight gain and metabolism changes. Indoor cats are prone to obesity and weight gain due to reduced activity.

Activities and exercise for cats

You can do several things to turn your pet into a fit feline. This goes especially for indoor cats, as they have reduced opportunities for activities while they’re inside. Here’s a detailed list of cat exercises!

Exercise toys for cats

According to the AAFP, engaging your cat in interactive play sessions using toys can be an excellent way to provide mental and physical stimulation. Toys such as wand teasers, feather toys, or laser pointers can mimic prey-like movements and encourage your cat to chase, pounce, and engage in natural hunting behaviours. Set aside regular play sessions, incorporating short bursts of activity followed by short breaks to prevent overexertion.

Cat trees and climbing structures

Cats are natural climbers, and providing vertical spaces can help them satisfy their innate desire to climb and explore. International Cat Care says that cat trees, towers, shelves, or wall-mounted climbing structures offer opportunities for exercise, exploration, and relaxation. Ensure the structures are sturdy and stable to prevent accidents and add enticing elements such as perches, hiding spots, and scratching surfaces to encourage your cat’s interest. Cats also love to be up high, and these tall structures provide cats and kittens with a place to practice their urge to scratch (and saves your furniture in the process).

Puzzle feeders and food dispensing toys

Incorporating puzzle feeders or food dispensing toys into your cat’s routine can turn mealtime into a mentally stimulating and physically engaging activity. These toys require your cat to work for their food, promoting natural hunting behaviours and providing both mental and physical exercise. Fill the toys with your cat’s regular kibble or treats, and let them enjoy the challenge of retrieving their food.

Indoor obstacle courses

Creating an indoor obstacle course can provide an enriching experience for your feline and can help get in some cat exercises. Use tunnels, low hurdles, boxes, and safe, interactive objects to create a stimulating environment where your cat can climb, jump, and navigate through various obstacles. This activity not only engages their muscles but also stimulates their problem-solving abilities and coordination.

Cat wheels

Cat wheels and treadmills are a new and favourable option for pet owners looking to encourage daily walking and running without having to go outside. If you’re considering going this route, always start slow and work with positive reinforcement when introducing a cat wheel or treadmill. Remember that going too quickly with a new exercise method could easily scare them and deter them from any future use. Cats aren’t the biggest fans of change, so this is something to keep in mind.

Leash training and outdoor enclosures

Some cats can be trained to walk on a leash, allowing them to explore the outdoors under your supervision. Gradual leash training and the use of a well-fitted harness can provide a safe and controlled way for your cat to experience the outdoor environment. Additionally, outdoor enclosures or catio spaces can offer a secure outdoor experience for your cat, allowing them to enjoy fresh air, sights, and sounds while staying protected.

While you can also let your cat roam outside freely, it’s important to keep in mind that they will be exposed to disease, predators and traffic.

Get another cat

If you’ve got the space and can afford to do so, getting a second cat is a great way to keep your feline busy. Some cats just prefer to engage with others of their kind vs humans, so don’t take it too personally. Once a second cat is added to the equation, you’ll notice that they often become inquisitive of each other and can usually be found chasing and following one another’s daily routines. A second cat also provides each cat with an abundance of mental stimulation, key to health and longevity.

Cat waiting for raw cat food

Where can I buy Bold by Nature products?

Now that you’re all brushed up on cat exercising, it’s time to work on their dietl! You can purchase Bold by Nature raw food for cats either online or at a local retailer that carries Bold by Nature products. If you’re unsure of which stores carry our products, you can use our location finder to explore retailers.

To sum it all up

Regular exercise for cats is essential for maintaining your cat’s physical and mental well-being. By incorporating interactive play, climbing structures, puzzle feeders, indoor obstacle courses, and supervised outdoor experiences, you can provide your feline friend with the exercise they need to stay happy and healthy. Remember to consider your cat’s individual preferences and abilities when choosing activities and always prioritize their safety. If you have any concerns or questions like why do cats throw up, consult with your holisitic veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance.