Whether you have a fat cat that needs to lose weight or if you simply want to keep your kitty in good shape, exercise is essential for all domestic cats. If a domestic cat becomes lazy, fat and inactive, except, then it is most likely the fault of the owner who must have overfed it and made it lose the active and busy instincts of its undomesticated species.
Although cats generally tend to get lazier with age, when a young cat begins to gain excess weight, it faces the same situation as the extra weight will only slow it down. Keeping your cat busy and active is something worth doing if you want your kitty to live a healthy, useful and long life. When you adhere to a regular feline workout plan, your kitty’s overall health will be impacted positively.
The Nature of the Feline Population
A good reason why humans cherish domestic cats is for their companionship; another is for their rodent hunting abilities. Their anatomy is the same as other felid species, with their quick reactions, tough lithe body, retractable claws and razor sharp teeth, all of which are adapted to hunting down rodents for prey.
Cats are not just predators with most of their activities carried out at dusk and dawn, they have special hearing abilities as they can easily pick up sounds with either too high frequency or too low for human ears: pretty much like the type of sound that comes from small animals such as mice. Cats are also endowed with clearer vision relative to humans, they can easily find their way in darkness, however, their color vision is poor but their sense of smell is very active.
Naturally, the feline population lives a kind of life that is very active whether domesticated, wild or free-roaming and this is because of their predatory nature which keeps them always on the move, hunting down their prey, especially rodents, either in the wild or at home. Cats owe their exceptional hunting abilities to their superb physical traits and qualities, so living a life that is very active is second nature to them. Read on to get good tips on keeping your kitty in top shape:
Use Scratchers or Scratching Posts
The act of scratching comes naturally to cats and it is very wrong to attempt to stop them, what they are actually doing is a form of exercise and any form of refrain amounts to halting a natural instinct that is sure to have a huge impact on the cat’s emotional as well as physical wellbeing.
When they get the natural urge to scratch, domestic cats are known to go for the household furniture. But instead of allowing your pet to damage the furnishings, you can aid in diverting its energy to an alternative in the form of scratcher or scratching post; which every cat owner should invest in. This will eventually ensure a fit and healthy life for the cat.
Scratchers can be purchased from any local veterinary shop, so just hop along and provide one for your cat and watch it have a good workout on it. Your cat may not immediately take to the scratching post, so, you need to exercise patience as well as apply some tricks like getting the post to look more attractive than the furniture. And if you want to achieve an optimal result, don’t try forcing your cat; rather, show it the way and it will definitely follow suit since cats are averse to being forced to do things.
Start off by buying the right size, texture and quality and position it in the cat’s favorite spot and before long, the cat will begin to acclimatize to the scratcher and start using it instead of the furniture. Some scratchers are vertical while others are horizontal; the vertical ones should be long enough to allow the cat to stretch its body when it is scratching. As your kitty gradually becomes used to the post, you won’t need to do any other thing as they will seek out the scratcher on their own anytime they want to exercise.
Cats Should Be Engaged With Toys
Though they are distinct from wild animals, domestic cats still pose that natural predatory instinct as they naturally hunt down their prey. So it is only understandable that the best way you can get your cat on the move and exercising is to get their predatory instinct stimulated. In addition to scratching posts, toys are additional complementary objects that can be used to engage your pet. You can tie some cat toys to the vertical posts to attract its attention. As the toys bang against the pots, the cat is likely to dive for it – it might suddenly discover the joy in the scratching post and thus continue to use it when the need arises. Besides, having a good variety of toys is a good form of exercise for your cat.
Although most toys are suitable for cats not all toys will grab their attention. Items your cat is likely to want to explore include: paper shopping, cardboard boxes, cartons, as well as toys which encourage them to make active use of their paws. When it comes to toys kittens can be selective, some of the toys which can really entice them include;
Cats just love wands and they are one of the best toys for them. Your kitty will get enough exercise and satisfaction from an active play with a wand. For instance, you can place a feather to the far end of a flexible wand-like toy, secure it to a rod-like a fish pole and proceed to attract your cat’s attention with it. Once you arouse your kitty’s interest, withdraw it intermittently when the cat dives for it. This will make it pace up and down.
You can also get other toys at home as cats are known to enjoy playing with several household objects like balls as well as whatever takes their fancy. Also, make sure that your cat’s playpen or litter does not come into contact with cinnamon, citrus or lavender as these fragrances repel the entire feline population. Once you observe that your cat has an aversion to playing with some objects, just check to make sure that they don’t have a smear of such substances on them. But then, it would not be too much to clean these objects with a wet cloth to get all possible turn-off odor off the toys.
- Battery powered toys
Another strategy you can use to get your cat’s attention as well as get it to trail, swoop and claw and chase is the use of battery-powered rodents like mice – which can move when controlled by remote. What’s more, feathery toys tied to strings are a perfect imitation of birds which will get your kitty energized as it moves into hot pursuit in a bid to snatch it off the air. This not only keeps your cat entertained but also stimulates it mentally. Try to remove the possibility of boredom by introducing new toys intermittently. Also, remember to allow them to go hunting for prey every now and then. All these practices make the kitty’s playtime very interesting and energetic.
You may also like our article on the best cat interactive toys.
- Get Your Kitty Another Cat as a Playmate by Introducing a Second Cat in the Home
The hours you put into your kitty’s playtime or the good relationship that exists between you and your cat will never compare to the companionship of another kitty. This is because the feline population will always respond better with each other than with humans. So getting a new playmate for your cat is a good idea; especially for cats on the heavier side that require more exercise to keep fit and healthy.
When the two cats hit it off, they will definitely enjoy their playtime as well as channel plenty of time into lots of chasing games and wrestling which is known as an effective way of exercise for cats. Good advice here is to go for the opposite sex when introducing a new cat; this prevents territorial issues or male rivalry, though sex or age may not be a problem as kittens have been known to engage in totally satisfying workout sessions with older cats.
Always Partake in Your Furry Friend’s Playtime
You might just be exposing your kitty to harm if you put it on a treadmill without training it adequately. Make sure that your kitty doesn’t get into dangerous exercise of any form as this might threaten their life and health. Apart from walking outdoors, many safe indoor exercises can help in keeping them in tip-top shape.
You can keep your kitty fit by playing with it at home – try tossing a ball for it to chase. These kinds of moments aid the cat in burning excess fat and weight reduction. Cats are no match for dogs when it comes to warming up to humans, so this kind of master-pet exercise is needed. Generally, household pets use exercise to fight boredom and depression which if left unchecked, may cause bigger behavioral as well as health problems. When you engage in constant play with your cat, their muscles become very strong and toned, they also become very active and at the same time, maintain a fit and healthy weight.
When your kitty engages in activities that help with expressing its innate hunting instincts, it keeps their mind alert and their body active. Make out time on a daily basis to play with your cat as it creates a very strong bond between the two of you; in addition, it also breeds trust in your relationship. As a cat parent, it must have come to your notice that easily amused kittens are always the ones to initiate play and they tend not to stop for a very long time. Conversely, it may take a huge effort to get the older cats to play as they may not have the kind of stamina necessary for extended workout time or play time, so you just might need to limit their playtime.
Always depending on your personal initiative in managing exercise sessions as well as mental and physical health of your kitty is not advisable. Sometimes, you may need to seek the professional advice of a vet especially for parents whose cats are old with some fundamental health problems.
Start Walking Your Cat
Outdoor exercise is a fun and interactive way to keep your kitty active. But before you venture outside with your kitty, it is necessary to put it on a leash as this stops it from cutting loose and straying. It also stops it from getting into harm’s way.
It is an established fact that cats don’t easily adapt to a leash like their doggy counterparts, however, you still need to use a leash on them when you are out on walks. The cat definitely likes the walks; it is just the leash that they don’t seem to tolerate. Nevertheless, with lots of patience, the right training and equipment, your cat can be enticed into going out on walks with both a leash and harness in the same way with dogs. Ultimately, your cat will get plenty of exercise from walking – the only challenge is getting them to adapt to the leash. Head over to our reviews of cat harnesses and cat collars for more options.
It is generally easier to train kittens than older cats but in every situation, you need patience, understanding and determination. Start with the harness and allowing it to acclimatize to it, then get the leash attached and allow the cat to give it a drag. Next, apply a bit more pressure when you pick up the leash.
The acclimatization process can take a long time in some cats while some might take to it immediately. Once you notice that your cat is now comfortable with the leash, you can make walking a regular form of exercise, especially if your cat is the type that enjoys walking. In this way, you as a cat parent will have succeeded in achieving another form of activity to engage your furry companion with. This ensures that it stays fit and healthy as well as strong.