Cats are synonymous with sleep – after all they gave the meaning behind the term “catnap”. In their natural environment cats do much more than sleep. Being nocturnal, the “wild cat” is prowling at night, catching prey, climbing trees, and running free. Indoor house cats have no need to stalk and catch their dinner, have no trees to climb, and no outdoor space to run. As a result, they tend to move less, eat more and develop health issues.
Here are some ways to help your kitty become healthier and more active:
Toys will not only get your cat moving it will also get them thinking. Different cats like different types of “toys” so you need to find what your cat likes best and then use those toys for fun activities. My cat Violet loves socks and when she finds one will grab it, kick it around, and try to figure out how to get it back when it goes under the couch. She will do the same with pompoms. To save my socks from destruction, I have designated some socks as “hers”, gathered a bunch of pompoms, and hid the collection in areas where they are partially visible. When Violet finds them she first needs to figure out how to “catch” her “prey” and then has fun playing with it and chasing it around. Both a physical and mental activity.
Provide Places To Climb
Cats love to be up on high places and agile climbers will get to a desired spot any way they can. Climbing is both a natural activity and good exercise and should be encouraged but only for spots you determine not to be off limits. Providing acceptable, elevated areas for your cat to visit will satisfy their natural instinct and provide physical activity. A perch in a sunny window or a tall structure (“cat tree”) would be suitable climbing spots your cat will thank you for.
Raise the Food Bowl
In the past, the only activity my cat Tiger would get would be running to the food bowl. It was very accessible and he went to it much too often. To change this pattern I relocated the bowl making it necessary for him to climb a flight of stairs to get a snack. He now visits the bowl less often and when he does venture for a bite to eat he gets the bonus of a little exercise. Putting the bowl up on a platform that your cat has to climb up on to eat is another option.
Go For a Walk
Although not for everyone, or every cat, harness and leash systems are available for cats. With this, you can leash up kitty and go out for a walk! Be advised that, unlike dogs, cats prefer to explore rather than walk so be ready to enjoy some time outdoors with your kitty as she leads you to explore all the areas she would like to visit. It’s important to only use a leash/harness specifically made for cats and never use a leash that’s attached to the neck with a collar.
A fun game that is sure to give your cat a lot of exercise involves a dark room and a flashlight. Turn off the lights, shine the flashlight beam on the floor and slowly move it. It is sure to quickly get kitty’s attention and they will be running and jumping to catch the light beam that you are moving around. This really gets my cats moving and they never get tired of this game!
Fill your kitty’s days with fun activities and they will be happier (and healthier too). What does your cat like to do for exercise?