A lot of people do not realize the multitude of benefits from a cat receiving daily exercise. Adult cats can sleep more than 16 hours a day so it is very important to keep them active. A lot of activities that keep cats healthy do not require much time or money and can even have benefits for their owners.
Why is Exercise Important?
Cats that live indoors risk becoming obese if they turn into too much of a couch potato. Obesity can lead to a number of problems like diabetes, liver problems and joint pain, additionally it puts a lot of extra stress on an overweight cat. Cats who are overfed a
nd/or do not get enough daily exercise often become obese because they are consuming more calories than they are expending. Cats benefit from having a fast metabolism, even while lounging around, but every cat needs to engage in physical activity each day.
Besides curbing obesity and helping maintain a healthy body weight, daily exercise also keeps cats’ bones and muscles strong. In addition it stimulates their mind and keeps them alert and active. Also, people who engage their cat in physical activity and play time build trust and strong bonds with their feline friends.
Another reason exercise is important is because losing weight is difficult for cats. It can take months to get them back to an ideal and healthy body weight, which is why preventing a cat from becoming obese in the first place is very important. Make sure your cat is receiving a balanced and nutritious diet, as well as enough exercise to keep them healthy and happy.
Lastly, exercise helps prevent a cat from becoming bored. Bored cats are very curious and find things on their own to fill their time, which could include using your furniture as a scratching post or chewing on various items. Tired cats with less energy, because it has been expended during their daily exercise, are less likely to become bored and destructive.
How Much Exercise is Adequate?
A cat’s individual circumstances should be considered and a veterinarian should be consulted when determining exactly how much exercise is required each day. In general, a cat who has been declared healthy by a vet should receive about about 15 minutes of exercise, two to three times a day. This number should be adjusted for senior cats or cats with any medical issues.
Kittens tend to have more willingness to play longer than 15 minutes and most will continue to play once you have stopped.The initiative to play and exercise is much more apparent in kittens and younger cats, who often engage in physical activity on their own, than it is in older cats. It takes a little more effort and creativity to get your older cat to want to play for 15 minutes. Their interest and endurance fades quickly so get them acclimated to exercising by starting with just a few minutes each day and building up.
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Ways to Exercise:
- Cat Trees: Cats love to climb and investing in a cat tree or jungle is a great way to get your cat moving. You can even build your own if you are handy with tools, just make sure it is safe for your cat to scratch, climb and bite on. Multi-tiered cat trees require cats to jump between perches, which improves their balance and coordination while contributing to strong bones and muscles.
- Interactive Toys: Wand-style toys that usually have feathers or other enticing objects, like mice or fish, on the end are great toys to use to play with your cat. There are so many varieties and styles you are sure to be able to find something your cat loves to play with.
- Laser Pointers: An inexpensive toy that can be found in almost any pet store because of its popularity with felines is a laser pointer. Cats love to chase the light that is emitted from the pointer and can often be engaged in trying to catch it for an endless amount of time.
- Obstacle Course: A cheap obstacle course for your cat can be made out of recycled materials and the things you already have in your home. Incorporate the vertical space available in your home and use things like boxes and jugs for cats to jump over or
- Ribbon/Yarn: Almost every cat, especially kittens, will never get tired of chasing after a ribbon or a piece of yarn or string. This activity can bring your cat hours of joy and it can be done in nearly every size home. Slide some over furniture, across counters and throughout different rooms to get your cat to utilize all the space in your home for exercise. Just be sure to supervise your cat because their have been a lot of emergency calls and trips to the vet for swallowing string, ribbon, or yarn.
- Walks: While most easily accomplished when the cat is a kitten, it is possible to train a cat to walk comfortably on a leash and accompany their owner, and other animals, on walks. Make sure you have a harness that securely fits so your cat can’t escape and plenty of patience as your cat learns to walk with you.