We all know that exercise is good for us. It helps keeps our bones and muscles strong, as well as improving our mental health. The same goes for cats. If your cat has access to the outdoors, it’s likely that they are already getting enough exercise. Jumping up onto fence panels, stalking squirrels and chasing and pouncing on birds, mice or even just a pile of leaves will help them to naturally get the exercise that they need. But if your moggy is an indoor cat, they might need a bit of extra encouragement to get them up and about.
Cats sleep for 12-16 hours a day but during their waking hours they need to have a bit of play time to help them stretch out their muscles and stay healthy. One of the best ways to achieve this is by playing with your cat more often. You don’t have to play with your cat for hours on end, but setting aside a few short bursts of around 5 minutes of playtime throughout the day should be plenty.
Try and encourage your cat to move in a way that they would have done in the wild. This includes engaging their hunting instincts and stimulating them to stalk, pounce and chase objects as they would do naturally when looking for food outdoors. Feather toys or lengths of string and ribbon are great for this as they mimic the quick, jerky movements of a bird or mouse. However, you should never leave your cat alone with these objects as ingestion could cause issues. Another great toy to try is a laser pen or torch. Cats love chasing the light around the room and jumping around will help to keep their muscles supple. Try and change it up every now and then so that your cat doesn’t get bored of playing with the same old toys over and over.
Scratching is also great exercise for your cat. Not only does it help them to stretch out, it also keeps their claws in check. Shop-bought scratching posts are great for this but you could also design something yourself if you are good with tools. Cats also love to play hide and seek. Anyone with a cat will know how completely fascinated they can be with a simple cardboard box. Combine a cardboard box with small peep-holes cut out with a feather toy or laser pointer and it’s like all their Christmases and birthdays have come at once!
Thu Jan 16 2020