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 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.