The following tips can help you activate the athlete buried somewhere…deep down…in your favorite feline. And prevent dangerous conditions such as obesity.
For domesticated cats, physical inactivity is the rule rather than the exception.
Cats are predators by nature, built to hunt down prey for food, evading higher predators to survive.
With domestication, these survival instincts are suppressed, as food is readily available, and there are no dangerous predators to contend with.
Unfortunately, ever since they started living with man, the laziness of man has rubbed off on cats, and they have also gotten a fair share of the attendant woes.
The narrative is even worse for cats that are confined indoors, with almost no form of physical or mental stimulation from the environment.
But wait, is this truly an issue? Should you worry about the physical inactivity in your pets? What are the concerns with a lazy cat?
A lazy cat is certainly not the best of pets. It’s no fun to be around. It gives its owner undue worries.
Because a lazy cat is less active, it’s more likely to come down with a host of chronic, debilitating health conditions associated with physical inactivity.
These include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and immobility. Unfortunately, these can ultimately shorten the lifespan of your feline friend.
An obese cat is likely to be lazy; a lazy cat is more likely to be obese.
So, how exactly can you make your cat more active?
You just need to get them to hit the gym…or at least exercise since there are no cat gyms around yet.
The following tips can help you activate the athlete buried somewhere…deep down…in your favorite feline –
Optimize your environment
Create a conducive environment for play. Cats' predator instincts are readily aroused by movements and moving objects. Create visually captivating patterns.
Toys and other tools should be positioned strategically. For instance, having a cat seek out a toy under a pile of bed sheets is more effective at stimulating activity than simply keeping the toy on a table.
Also important, do a safety check at home from time to time.
As your cat becomes more active, the chances of accidents and injuries from carelessly placed objects increase. Look out for pins, needles, threads, exposed wires, and other items that can cause one form of injury or the other, and get rid of them.
Play with them
Make out time to play with your cat regularly. Play provides exercises for weight management and physical fitness. It also builds mental health and cognition.
Plus, bonding between the cat and its owner is maintained through play.
Common questions cat lovers ask
Ø How long should I play with my cat?
40 minutes of play per day is adequate. Divide the total time into several sessions, thus, four 10-minute sessions daily will suffice.
Ø What if it doesn't show interest?
Unlike dogs, cats are a bit more reserved. They may not show interest at all in play or may lose interest easily. It's difficult to motivate lazy humans, let alone cats! Be patient with your lazy cat.
Try different types of play. Make it interesting!
Ø How do I play with my cat?
Most animals appreciate love and attention. Cats are no different. Call out your cat's name from time to time. Seek her out and make her feel loved.
Examples of Lazy Cat Games
ü Hide and Seek
You can play hide and seek with both your human partners and your feline friends.
Apart from hiding and seeking each other, you can hide several things of interest and let your cat seek them out.
Hide toys in different parts of the house. Place her food at different locations to increase their activity levels.
ü Laser Lights
Light from laser pointers can be used to create illusions of a moving object. You can point the light in one direction and have your cat chase it while you move the light to a different point.
Lasers are generally safe, but take care to avoid direct contact with the cat's eyes. Also, avoid pointing to areas not safe for your cat to land.
ü Strings games
Similar to the laser exercise, you can connect a toy to a string, fling the string close to your cat, and retrieve it as it attempts to catch it. Repeat the sequence over and over, throwing the string at different locations.
Allow the cat to occasionally catch the toy, so it doesn’t get worn out and lose interest. Take one for the team!
There are several automated versions of the above strategies, such as Automated Laser Systems. These provide a great source of fun for your cat without much stress to you.
ü Handy toys
Toys can help engage a lazy cat and increase her activity level. Many cat owners, however, find out that their cats easily lose interest in toys, and they have to get new ones to provide new interest.
They eventually spend so much on toys without commensurate gains. You can reduce expenses by getting a fixed set of toys and introducing them one after the other to the cat.
ü Recycle toys to maintain interest
Toys with built-in incentives are ideal. The cat gets a reward for playing with the toy.
Good examples are toys that involve solving food puzzles. This helps stimulate their instincts and keep them working out.
When real toys are not available, you can always improvise. For instance, wrapping the cat's food with tapes and bands, and having her loosen them to get the food is a good alternative to the food puzzle toys.
ü Posts and trees
Scratching posts/pads are useful to help cats stretch their bodies. They also help sharpen their claws and provide necessary alternative scratching surfaces to your furniture.
Cat trees are built to inspire your cat to climb. You can also place incentives on different parts of the tree to further stimulate climbing. There are so many ways to get them to become a bit more active with this.
Variety is the spice of life. Combine exercises. Vary strategies. Just make it interesting!
We can't possibly discuss all the ways to activate your lazy cats within a short article.
But the following are worthy mentions –
Healthy, balanced nutrition
This will provide the needed nutrients for increased activity and overall health.
Check with your vet to find out foods that are safe for your cat and the ones to get rid of.
Not known to have untoward effects, catnips provide your cat with pleasant feelings, increasing its activity in seeking more of it.
You may consider getting a companion cat for your lazy cat. It can stimulate play and increase activity levels of your cat.
It's very important to note that laziness, decreased energy, and loss of interest may well be signs of disease in your cat. A visit to the vet helps rule out serious medical conditions.
A lazy cat is not lazy by choice. Simulating the natural environment of the cat will help awaken it instincts, sharpen its mind, and improve its health.