Like American humans, about 57% percent of North American
indoor cats are overweight. In
2008 the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention determined that
more than half of U.S. cats were too tubby for their own good.
And an overweight cat is more prone to disease and other health
The trouble is, just like with humans, American cats are eating
too much and exercising too little. Controlling your cat’s food portion is
one thing—that’s in your control as a pet owner—but how do you
get your cat to exercise more?
Stimulating the Kitty Brain
Feral or homeless cats have a whole lot going on in their
lives. They have to catch their food; they have to avoid being
caught by dogs or other animals; they have to patrol and defend
their territory. This, combined with a limited food supply,
keeps feral cats trim.
When exercising your house cat, the trick is to mimic the
experiences of wild cats, giving your pet opportunities to run
and chase, stalk and hunt. You can also hide bits of Iams Proactive Health Adult Original With
Chicken Dry Cat Food or other treats around the house as
cat's will smell it and search till they find it. This will not
only keep your cat’s body agile, it’ll help stimulate their
mind as well.
Bored cats tend to lie around more, sleeping the day away and
limiting their exercise. This makes the cat even more listless,
thus creating a self perpetuating problem.
Giving your cat a variety of toys
to play with is the first step in preventing cat boredom.
Purchase toys that mimic the look and movements of cat’s
natural prey—toy mice and birds.
You may have to experiment with various types of toys to see
which kinds your cat responds to best. Some cats will play by
themselves with toy mice, batting them around the floor, while
other cats will enjoy toy birds that you flick and make
When playing with your cat, try to think like prey. Consider
how mice scuttle and stop, change direction, and play dead.
Your pet will enjoy the experience a lot more if they get to
use their natural hunting skills.
Remember that cats usually only hunt in the wild for 5 or 6
minutes at a time. Don’t play much longer than this. Also,
change it up as much as you can. Play mouse with your cat one
day and bird the next.
Keeping things fresh and exciting will keep your cat
Cats like to jump and climb. They like to perch in high places
so that they can keep an eye on their domains. Another way to
give your cat activity for mind and body is to purchase or
build a cat gym. If you are the handy type, you can even build
these cat castles yourself, adding various shelves, hiding
holes, and steps as you please.
At first, your cat might be disinterested in playing on such
structures, but you can stimulate their interest. Dangle your
cat’s favorite toy from one of the platforms, enticing them to
jump and stalk, thus interacting with the structure. You also
may try rubbing the cat tower with catnip. Once your cat associates the play
structure with fun times, they will be more likely to return to
Some folks go the extra mile to see if their cat is willing to
tolerate a cat leash. Some cats may take readily to being
leashed and will enjoy wandering about the neighborhood
sniffing and exploring. Other cats will crouch and resist. It’s
worth a shot, as long as it doesn’t create too much stress.
Although these walks may not be a highly aerobic activity, they
will stimulate your cat’s brain, helping to prevent boredom.
When bringing a new kitty home,
ask yourself which environment is best for your new pet.
Indoor cats live, on average,
exponentially longer than free roaming cats. Many argue,
however, that outdoor cats are happier and healthier. This is a
personal choice, and the right decision is based largely on
your cat’s prior history, and where you live. If you think it’s
safe, try letting kitty run and chase out of doors. Behaving
naturally, for cats, will ultimately be the best exercise.
The Benefits of a Playful Cat
Our cats are yoga masters, and naturally athletic. They’re but
one paw-step away from life on the wild side, where missing a
mouse meant an empty tummy. Cats don’t have to hunt for a
living any more, but the same skills needed for stalking and
pouncing translate into play.
Kittens instinctively play as a way to hone adult cat behaviors
and skills, and because play just feels good! Cat play peaks at
about 12 to 14 weeks of age, and falls off as felines become
Indoor cats live longer and stay healthier, but since they
don’t worry about filling the bowl with dream meals
Feast White Meat Chicken Primavera , they can get
lazy. Kitty couch potatoes turn into tubby tabbies when the
most exercise they get is a stroll from bed to the bowl. That’s
unhealthy for cats—and for their owners. Whenever you get the
opportunity use a cat toy like the Kong Laser Toy to give your cat a
healthy dose of fun exercise. Here are a few of the benefits of
Reduces Tubby Tabbies
Fat cats just aren’t healthy. Extra weight can lead to
diabetes, arthritis, and a nasty condition called fatty liver
disease that can kill. Play is great feline aerobics that keeps
muscles toned and cats slim.
Engages The Brain
Practicing all the stalk, pounce, bite and play-kill behaviors
helps cats stay healthy emotionally. It also works the feline
brain. That keeps cats young and can help prevent feline
senility that can lead to hit-or-miss bathroom behaviors.
Most aging cats develop arthritis, but you’d never know it
because they don’t complain. Instead, arthritic cats sleep
more, hide, and stop interacting as much with their owners.
When joints aren’t used, they hurt worse. So playing with cats
not only can reduce weight that can aggravate the joints, it
keeps creaky joints mobile and less painful. Play is an easy
and free therapy owners can do at home, even by simply placing
bits of highly enticing foods like Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown
Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food in places harder to reach
will make your cat exercise a bit.
Offers A Legal Outlet
High energy cats, especially youngsters, have no off-switch and
can turn your ankles into moving targets. Play fighting with
claws and teeth hurts, and can damage furniture. Cats indulge
in gravity experiments, when the cat paw-taps breakables onto
the floor. Turning cat play into structured fun gives them a
legal outlet for claws and teeth, while keeping your valuables
(and skin!) safe.
Creates Lasting Bonds
Cats rarely play with anyone they don’t trust and like. So
playing with your cat can help you boost the love you feel for
each other. Play works great to boost the confidence of shy
cats, and to cool the jets of bully cats, so it also can smooth
Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant,
consultant to the pet care industry and the award winning
author of 23 pet care books.
More on Caring for Your Cat
What to Get Your Cat for the
This information is for informational purposes only and
is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of,
or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek
the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified
professional with any questions you may have regarding a
medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking
professional advice due to what you may have read on our