One of the most common questions we get here at Germantown Vet is how to exercise an indoor cat. Many adult cats today are overweight due to overeating and lack of exercise. This lethargic Garfield-esque lifestyle may seem fun for your cat, but it can lead to many health issues down the road, including arthritis and a shorter lifespan.
If you’re worried that your cat is overweight, contact the experts at Germantown Vet by requesting an appointment in the sidebar or calling 240-252-7467240-252-7467.
How to Get an Indoor Cat to Exercise
Here are our 10 ways you can get your indoor cat to exercise:
1. Scheduled playtime
This is a big one! You need to make time every day to play with your cat—multiple times a day! He or she depends on you to give them the proper exercise to stay healthy. Depending on your cat’s attention span for playing, you can do three 10 – 15 minute intervals throughout the day to get him or her moving.
2. Cat tower
A cat tower is an excellent way to get your cat to exercise by engaging his or her natural instinct to climb.
3. Laser show
Get out those laser pointers! Most cats love chasing laser pointers—the little beams of light look like bugs your cat can catch. Let your cat run around chasing the laser pointer for as long as he or she is interested, just make sure not to let him or her bump into any walls.
4. Bathtub hockey
This is a great game for your cat—just drop a small ball (like a ping pong ball) into the bathtub and let your cat go crazy batting it around. It’s a lot of fun for your cat to play and you to watch!
5. Animal toys
Your cat is a natural hunter, and the most engaging games for him or her to play will involve stalking and pouncing on prey. Get toys that look like birds, mice, and even bugs to entice your pet. It’s best if these toys dangle on a string so you can move them around the house for your cat to chase. And remember it’s a good idea to let your cat win sometimes! It will make the game more fun.
6. Ribbons, string, and wands
Drag a ribbon or string (these are often attached to flexible wands) around your home for your cat to chase. This is a great way to get your kitty moving around. Make sure you keep these types of toys out of your cat’s reach when playtime is over—if ingested, strings and ribbons can cause a linear foreign body which can be fatal.
7. Catnip balls
Catnip balls are a wonderful motivator to get your cat running around the house and playing.
8. Food puzzles
Much like catnip calls, food puzzles are very motivating for your cat! You can make your own by taping two ends of a small box down and cutting two little holes on either side and stuffing it with a few treats. Your cat will have to work really hard to get the treats to fall out.
9. Mealtime exercise
If your cat is like most, he or she loves mealtime. Cats tend to come to attention when food is being prepared and are likely to follow your every movement—use this to your advantage! Fill your cat’s bowl and then take a couple laps around the house, go up and down stairs (if possible), walk back and forth down the hallway, and get your cat moving around before you set down his or her food.
This can be a tough one, but playmates can be one of the greatest sources of exercise for your cat. If your pet is friendly with another dog or a kitten, let him or her run around and wrestle. Remember, it can be very difficult to introduce two adult cats, so take precautions before doing so. Contact us to learn more about bringing new cats into the house.
Make Sure Your Cat Is Healthy!
You’re responsible for your cat’s health and wellbeing! Make sure you’re being a good cat parent by scheduling an appointment with the experts at Germantown Vet. We can help you understand pet weight management and your cat’s diet and nutrition.