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How to get your indoor cat to exercise through play

Stimulating your cat to be more energetic is one of the most important ways to preserve its good health. Even if you believe that your pet might be just a bit too active for your taste, pushing things off the table does not count. Luckily for both of you, there are simple and affordable ways to get your indoor cat to exercise through play and maintain a healthy weight. Besides, why should dogs get all the fun?

Everybody needs a little motivation to exercise

Don’t wait until your cat becomes overweight or gets unwell to start with a cat workout. Providing your cat with training options is a part of standard pet care, along with a nutritious and balanced diet. Typically, your cat may not be interested in exercises if it hasn’t led an active life so far. In that case, you might need to motivate it to exercise through play. Following are some of the best ways to provide your cat with some fun and healthy training options.

Cat toys (teasers, wands, and electronic toys)

One of the most popular cat activities (apart from napping) is food-hunting. Make your cat more active and engaged by hiding treats where it can reach them and creating cat puzzles. If you wish to connect with your cat, have fun together with the help of fishing-pole toys (also known as wand toys and feathers on a stick). Some electronic toys can mimic prey cats would usually hunt outdoors. However, take great care to purchase toys specially designed for cats. Electronic toys intended for other pets or kids may not be safe.

A cat is playing with a toy mouse.

Laser pointer cat training

Lasers bring the hunter out of your cat, stimulating it to chase the curios red dot. Make sure to keep the training sessions (pouncing, jumping, and running) short. About ten to fifteen minutes should be enough time for your cat to burn off excess calories and not lose interest. For the same reason, reward your cat with a treat when you finish your laser training. It will make it feel accomplished for catching the dot.

Cat patio

If you have an option to attach a playpen for your cat outside your home, it’s an excellent way to keep your cat engaged for long hours in the fresh air. A wooden cage with a cat tree and toys or similarly secured agility course for your pet is also called cat patio, or catio for short. Take precautions to keep the cat patio in the shade so that your cat doesn’t risk overheating. Also, check on the kitty occasionally if it doesn’t have an option to return inside without your assistance.

Cat towers, shelves, and perches

Another way to get your indoor cat to exercise through play is by setting up a cat tower (cat tree) in a corner and some shelves or perches on the walls. If there is something cats enjoy more than anything, it’s looking at you from above. Climbing and stretching at the cat tower is also a good workout, one that appeals to the cat’s wild nature and is safe at the same time.

A cat is sleeping on top of a cat tower.

Walking on a leash

Not all cats may agree on being leashed, and they may outright refuse to wear a little harness. The younger the cat is, the easier it may be to teach it to accept the harness and leash and go for a walk outside. A tour of your backyard can be all that your cat needs to remain active if you’re concerned with taking it to the busy streets. Once you and your cat return tired from the walk, it would be great to have a calming cat bed nearby. Your pet will highly appreciate having a soft and cozy relaxation place all for itself.

Hockey rink cat exercise

The so-called hockey rink exercise is a great indoor activity for your feline friend. Simply put your cat in a bathtub with a soft little ball and let it roll up and down. The cat will chase it and pounce on it, all while remaining safe. If you don’t have a bathtub, an open, large, and sturdy cardboard box would do instead. It is a win-win solution, as you know how cats love boxes.

Cats on wheels

Perhaps you’re unaware, but cats can enjoy cardio exercises and be taught to train on a wheel or a treadmill. However, you must supervise your cat at all times while it’s running on the tread. Moreover, you should very slowly increase the speed of the tread so as not to harm your cat. The maximum speed housecats can run up to is 30 mph but bear in mind that your indoor cat is not nearly as used to running as outdoor or feral cats.

A yellow cat is chewing on a wand toy.

A few bonus notes

If you ensure that your cat eats an adequate amount of quality food complemented by sufficient daily exercise, you won’t have to worry about their health. Save the search for a good vet only for the serious situations that may occur by accident.

Although it may be a tad more challenging to teach an adult cat to exercise, it is not impossible. It will only require a little more patience and proper motivation. After all, who else knows your cat better than you?

To keep your cat motivated to train, replace the toys from time to time. You will quickly notice when they lose interest in a specific toy as they will ignore them. If the toy is still in good condition, wash it and consider gifting it to another cat owner. Otherwise, you can give it to a nearby pet shelter.

Finally, don’t use too many snacks and treats to stimulate your kitty to exercise. While it is a good method to train your cat using tiny snacks, think about its diet, too. Otherwise, your pet feline will be going in circles, and not in a funny way.

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