No doubt your cat will benefit from regular exercise. Yet, there are a variety of misconceptions about what amount of exercise is the right amount. Some of this wrong thinking stems from concern over their weight, from people mistaking them for dogs or from not understanding what their natural modes of exercise were when they were in the wild.
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Here’s some insight on your best options to provide your cat the proper amount of exercise.
Myth #1–Cats become fat from lack of exercise. While a bored cat that constantly lounges isn’t likely to remain sleek and toned, cats typically become fat from being overfed and being fed the wrong food. With proper nutrition and a focused feeding routine, cats perk up and find ways to stay active on their own. For tips on a healthy weight-friendly meal for your cat, check out our tips on weight management for cats.
Myth #2–Cats need to be exercised. In the wild, dogs live in packs that run around together all day. As domesticated breeds, they’re expected to chase prey all day or pull carts or sleds all day. Cats are different creatures that have never followed this formula.
Myth #3–Cats have more exercise when in their natural habitat. No doubt cats in the wild are more likely to need to run flat out to escape a predator. But that has never stopped them from running amok through the entire house simply for their pleasure. In fact, kittens will play themselves into total exhaustion. Adolescent cats, Alpha types and Beta buddies are other cat types that tend to play themselves out. If your cat doesn’t find incentive to exert himself at least once daily, lend a hand. Especially older cats need the extra push of us throwing toys around to amp them up. Or consider wand toys, lasers and cat exercise equipment.
If everything indicates that your cat needs more exercise, consider the options below.
#1–Water and food workout. If you have a lazy cat that’s fixated on food, separate his water and food so that simply moving from one to another burns some calories. It’s good for cats to get some type of workout. This will keep him happy and healthy into old age.
#2–New treats. If you're committing to a healthier lifestyle for your cat, it will likely lead to you spoiling him less with food treats. But just because you want your cat to lose weight doesn't mean you can’t provide him with any special treats. Find a healthy cat treat made of single source muscle meats, or buy fun toys instead of food treats. Focus on items that will really get your cat moving, like a stringed feather on a pole that your cat will never get tired of swatting.
#3–Create more vertical space. Provide safe vertical spaces for your cat to jump into and from within a safety realm. This could be a set of empty shelves, windowsill or cat tree. Even when you're not home to play with your kitty, he still has options for burning calories.
#4–Cheap non-toys. Cats love to play with paper, boxes and bags. Leave these items around the house in high places where your cat can safely jump to and turn play sessions into workout time.