Exercise Tips for Cats

Here’s how to get your cat to flex his muscles and move it to lose it.

It’s easy to chill out with your cat on the couch—but all that lazing around can lead to extra weight. No matter how old your cat is, it’s important to implement an easy workout routine. Staying active will ensure he maintains a healthy weight and lives a longer life. But how do you get your cat moving when he’s used to sleeping all day?

Become your cat’s personal trainer—here’s how to get your cat moving to a healthy weight.

Short and Sweet

Felines want to hunt, and hunting takes short bursts of activity, rather than sustained physical activities. That means your exercise sessions should focus on short, high-energy play sessions.

Awaken your cat’s inner hunter instinct to pounce, jump, and run after his prey with a laser pointer or a feather wand. If your cat isn’t taking the bait, you can give him a small treat once he grabs the toy and starts playing with it. Treats, in small portions, can be used to motivate, but shouldn’t be used as a long term solution.

Make these play sessions short and sweet—even a couple of minutes two to three times a day pay off. Set up a play schedule in the morning, when you get home from work, and again before bed.

Meal Time is Exercise Time

Is your feline food motivated? Use his meal has incentive to move his body!

Stop free feeding—that means you can’t leave dry food out in a bowl for your cat to munch. Create a feeding schedule that includes a few small meals throughout the day. When it’s feeding time, don’t place the bowl down right away. Make him work for his dinner—carry it around the house, from room to room, up and down stairs, while your cat follows you.

All this movement adds up. Keep it up—small bursts of exercise several times a day, especially when combined with a healthy diet, may help your cat lose excess weight more easily.

Kitty Obstacle Course

Agility training isn’t just for dogs—make one for your cat! Cat-friendly obstacle courses with hoops, tunnels, and hurdles are perfect for felines with a lot of energy or cats motivated by treats and toys. Obstacle courses let you be creative when it comes to playing with your cat. You don’t have to go complicated; feel free to keep it easy.

Fresh and Fun

Same old, same old—sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it? Yep, your cat feels the same way. Rotate the toys you use or add new ones to the mix, so your cat never knows what to expect.

Climbing High

Cat trees aren’t just a place for your cat to play taskmaster to his people; they’re also a good source of exercise. To get there, your cat has to climb up to the high levels. Invest in a cat tree with several levels, and use it during play sessions to encourage him to climb quickly up the tree to grab his favorite toy.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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