According to a recent survey conducted by Pet Obesity Prevention, more than half of cats are overweight or obese. While treats are to blame, so is inactivity . Beyond weight management, exercise can help reduce and even eliminate aggressive or destructive behavior in cats as well, according to the ASPCA.
Of course, we know each cat has a unique personality, so you might have to be creative with your exercise efforts! Keep in mind, games that tap into a cat’s natural hunting instincts will provide them more satisfaction and success.
1. Fishing Pole Game
You can make your own fishing pole game pretty easily. Tie your cat’s favorite toy to the end of a string and throw it down the hall or across the room. Slowly pull in your catch as they hunt their toy. You may also try tying the string to the end of the stick, and dangle it in front of your cat, allowing them to jump and swat at it.
2. Use a Cat Game App
Apps just for cats? You bet. Download an app on your iPad for your cat and watch them play. You may want to use a screen protector just in case to prevent scratches on your electronics. This is both mentally stimulating and gives your feline friend a little bit of exercise too!
3. Play Fetch
Fetch is for dogs, right? Most of the time yes, but this game will make your cat work for their food while they burn calories and get exercise. Throw a piece of your cat’s food or a treat down the hall or across the room and see if they will chase after it. Repeat the process until one of you is too tired to continue.
4. Make a Box Fort
If your cat has a soft spot for boxes, she is not alone. There is something about boxes that cats love. If you have some extra boxes around, make a fort for your cat. If you’re worried that your cat will just go in and take a nap instead of play, try lacing the fort with catnip, treats, or toys.
5. Go Outside
If you have an indoor only cat, try taking them outdoors. Of course, using a leash and harness is recommended! Especially if your cat has never been outdoors. If your cat is older and scared of the outdoors, don’t force them to do something they don’t want to. Outside can be a scary place for some cats! But, for other cats it can be a fun place to explore and take a walk. Many cats do enjoy going outside on a leash and harness.
6. Climbing Tree
Provide your cat with something to climb on, like a multi-level cat tree or tower. This will allow your cat to stretch, claw and work climbing muscles. Exploring the vertical space allows your cat to use different muscles and feel on top of the world at the same time.
Enclose a small area in your house that has hard surfaces and give your cat a ping pong ball. Let the ball bounce around and make your cat swat at it. The unpredictability of the ping pong ball or a similar object will allow your cat to improve agility techniques and work their muscles.
8. Laser Pointer
A laser pointer is cheap, easy, and fun. Many cats love playing with laser pointers. Turn it on, point it on your walls and floors for your cat, and watch them try to catch the ever elusive red dot. This is a very fun game for cats and they should get a good amount of exercise! *Please be cautious when using laser pointers. Do not shine them in your kitty’s eyes!*
When are you away, it is especially important that your cat keeps up with daily exercise routines. Morris Animal Inn provides cats who lodge with us the chance to get some exercise with our teaser sessions which include games like mouse laser lights, peacock feathers, teaser toys, and more by our team of Cat Pamperers. Cats may also enjoy our beautifully designed kitty playroom which gives your cat free roam with climbing and scratching posts, skylight for outside view, toys, catnip, and furniture.
If your cat doesn’t take to any of these games at first, don’t give up! Your continued efforts will allow you to continue to bond with your furry friend, creating potential for more play times!