Exercise is essential for cats. Not only does it ensure that they maintain their physique without the risk of obesity or diabetes, but it also provides them with plenty of mental stimulation.
Cats that don’t get enough exercise, primarily through play, have a much higher likelihood of becoming depressed or suffer from cognitive disorders during their senior years. Here are a few tips and tricks on how you can make exercise more enjoyable for your cat.
How Much Exercise Do Your Cats Need and How to Give Them
Unlike dogs, cats need a bit less space and also a little less exercise. However, that doesn’t mean that it's okay for them to become sedentary. While most cat parents tend to think that playing with their pets for ten minutes a day is enough, the truth is that most cats require twice or even three times that. 25-30 minutes per day is the recommended amount for most healthy adults.
Cats that go outdoors get plenty of exercise. On the other hand, they are also more exposed to diseases that they can easily catch from other animals. Some of these conditions can be passed on to humans.
So, while keeping a cat indoors definitely has its merits, you will have to do your best to ensure that your cat’s activity remains much the same as if they were to go outside.
Rotate the toys
You should switch your cat's toys approximately every two weeks so that your pet doesn't get bored with them. You can get different types and even rotate between them during the same play session.
Also, if a cat doesn’t manage to catch the toy, which they view as being the prey, they might get frustrated and might lose interest in exercising altogether. This is why you should always give your pet the opportunity to practice their hunting skills.
Our Fling & Chase Cat Toy can be an excellent choice for pet owners who want their cats to never lose their natural chasing and hunting instincts. It’s made from safe materials and can be used by both adults and kittens.
The tiny red dot
Every cat has dreamed of catching the red dot at least once in their life. Exercising your cat in this way is a pretty good option for days when you come back tired from work and can’t be bothered to engage in some strenuous type of play. You can use the laser pointer from the comfort of your bed or couch while also providing your pet with entertainment. Our Rufus & Coco Rechargeable Laser Cat Toy stimulates your cat’s hunting skills without the need for batteries!
If you’d like your cat to get some exercise with as little effort on your behalf as possible, perhaps getting the Pounce & Purrsuit Rechargeable Cat Toy might be a good idea. It’s self-rotating, and it also doesn’t require any batteries. You can even clip a feather attachment to it to get your cat even more interested in play.
Make your own cat tree or play ensemble
You don;t need any advanced technical skills to build a small play ensemble for your cat. Most DIY projects of this kind require materials such as scrap wood, cardboard, or fabrics from old clothes or sheets that have become battered after years of use.
Getting a play ensemble or a cat tree from the store can be an option, but you can make your own. Think of the space you might have on a wall in your home for which you might never have had a use before, and think of how fun it would be for your cat to pounce and chase a ball toy through a series of small tunnels in there.
Use a cat leash
While outdoor cats have an overall rougher life in general, especially when compared to their indoor counterparts, that doesn’t mean that your indoor cat shouldn’t get to see and experience the outdoors under your close supervision.
This might not be suitable for all the cats out there, particularly those that tend to get scared for a variety of reasons. But for pets who love to explore the world around them, taking them out for walks on a leash can be one way of getting them to exercise more.
The important thing is that you have control over what your cat interacts with to prevent any untoward incident or the possibility of contracting a diease.
Environmental Enrichment for Indoor Cats, Meghan E. Herron and C.A. Tony Buffington, 2014 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3922041/
Uncontrolled Outdoor Access for Cats: An Assessment of Risks and Benefits, Sarah M.L. Tan et al, 2020 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7070728/