Working Out With Kitties: Do Cats Need To Exercise?

Absolutely! How else do you expect your kitty to stay healthy?

One might argue that diet is the best way to keep a cat healthy. But it should not be the only way. Even with proper diet but without physical exercise, cats may be at risk to develop several illnesses.

Any cat owner or anyone who has been with cats for too long knows that there is one thing that they love the most and they are good at – sleep! They need to offset the time they spent lounging around with physical exertion to stay healthy.

Here are several reasons why cats need to exercise.

 

Weight Management

There is an estimated 56.5 million cats in the US that are above the healthy weight range in 2017.  That means that 60 percent of the cat population is overweight! This is mainly because cats are couch potatoes and if given the opportunity, they would just sleep and lounge day in and out.

Obesity can lead to several health risks that could be fatal when left untreated. It can predispose cats to breathing difficulties, ligament problems, and heart diseases. Not to mention that the excess weight can strongly affect their quality of life, as they can become too sluggish and too tired to move. Cats need exercise to attain or maintain the ideal weight which could, in turn, keep their muscles, joints, and organs in healthy condition.

It is up to their guardians to stimulate exercise through play, which can greatly help in avoiding obesity in cats. Looking for treats while jumping up and down a cat tower or chasing a laser pointer  can stimulate them to exert some effort without even realizing it. All they know is that they are having a good time!

Behavior Modification

Having a pet does not mean that you can’t have nice things too! You just have to ensure that your cat does not claw into all pretty things that you possess.

One way to do this is through cat exercise. How? When cats have too much energy and time on their paws, they get bored and lethargic.

The lack of excitement and mental motivation could lead them to develop bad habits and even aggression towards others. If this happens, your cat could be scratching to no end just to pass the time.

Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes each play session with your cat. You can schedule this when they are at their most active, usually at night.

Do activities that make them jump and run around to expend extra energy. They will be so exhausted afterward that they will not have the strength nor interest to scratch your furniture anymore!

Improve Bond

Busy paw parents can get so occupied with day to day living that they sometimes forget to spend time with their cats. And cats being naturally slowpokes, they do not get to move as much as they need to.

This should not be the case. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to look after your feline friend and ensure that  they are happy and healthy.

Doing play exercises is the best way to connect with your cat. Cats are crazy about games – especially those that keep them in touch with their inner hunter.

A classic game of scavenger hunt or hide and seek are couple of games that you both can enjoy and bond over. There are tons of games you can both play.

But just remember not to use your hand as “target”,  as there are appropriate toys for that. Besides, you do not want to teach your kitty that it is acceptable behavior to hunt people, do you? It can be a hard habit to break.

Improve Overall Health

Regular exercise incorporated into your cat’s daily schedule can  not only make them more lively and happy but healthy as well. Just like in human beings, exercise can promote holistic well-being in cats. It can help in avoiding health issues such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, and lung diseases.

If your cat seems to lack interest or the stamina to do physical exercises, do not give up just yet. A certain level of creativity and persistence is needed to get them moving.

Some even incorporate feeding time with play time just to prevent cats from being inactive! As they lose weight and become limber, it will get easier for them to do these exercises for longer periods of time.

Feline exercise does not mean doing rounds in the treadmill or running sprints in the field. You would not be able to do that with your cat.

Instead, exercise with your feline companion means doing fun activities that could both be entertaining and healthy at the same time. There are so many things you can do to get your cat moving. Your imagination is the limit!

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