You may think that your cat can get away with lying around all day with the occasional batting of a fly, but that's not the case. Overweight and obese pets have risen in the US, affecting approximately one in three cats and dogs in 2016. This issue can lead to a number of health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, urinary tract disease and generally shorter life spans.
However, there's no need to worry! With a well-balanced, calorie-controlled diet and a fun exercise plan, you can make sure your kitty stays fit. Here are a few fun and easy ways to make sure your cat stays in purrrrrfect shape.
Pick a workout time and stick to it
Just like with people, cats can use a little schedule for working out. The best time for your feline friend is the morning or evening, when the sun is not at its strongest. That way your pet won't get too hot working up a "sweat" under all that fur. Start your day or end your day with your cat exercising (but best to give them food after the workout, to avoid any vomiting incidents, which no one wants).
Let them hunt!
We're not saying put your cat outside, but we are saying is your cat is a predator! So take advantage of those predator instincts. Find toys that are the shape of animals that cats like to hunt: mice, rats, rabbits, etc. The squeakier, the better, since they tend to mimic the sound of an animal on the run!
If you use a toy with a feathered fluff on the end, move it around like a bird that is flying and landing on different perches. You cat will love it! Or if you really want to see them run, around get a laser point and skitter it around the floor (just do not get a strong one, and do not point it in your cat's eye!).
Give them a place to climb!
Cats are natural climbers, so a cat tree is a wonderful way to let them exercise (and not climb your bookshelf). Not only does a cat tree allow cats to flex their climbing muscles, but cats feel more safe when they are high up. Offering them a cat tree gives them a nice place to perch and feel calm while also getting them to climb themselves tired and healthy.
Think inside the box (and bag)!
Your cat, like most, probably loves boxes and bags. Anywhere they can hop around in and hide is fun for them and keeps them active! You probably have a box and a bag or two sitting around that you can designate for your cat.
Want to give them a chance to really stretch their legs? Throw a ball or a toy into the box and see them bat it around and chase it with abandon!
A snip of catnip
Sometimes just the tiniest bit of catnip can turn your cat into an energetic kitten again! So give them a bitty bit and get the toys out. Catnip is non-addictive and harmless to cats. When smelled, catnip will make your cat hyper, but when eaten, it will act as a sedative. So get a toy mouse with catnip inside and your cat will have a great time and tire themselves out before you know it! (And they might tire you out along with them.)
Take them for a walk
You heard me! Take your cat for a walk! There are cat leashes available so they don't run away. Be warned, it is better to get a body harness leash for your cat instead of just the collar leashes. Cats can easily slip out of the collar leashes. Once they are leashed and ready, they will be eager to explore the world outside their front door and get a little workout. Walk them around the block in the morning or evening and your cat will get those steps in and so will you!
Not only will all of these activities allow you to get your cat healthy and happy, but you will gain that extra one on one time with your dear one. The healthier they are, the more time you two can spend together.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.