You’re not the only one who needs to work out. Exercise is important to your cat’s overall health. Movement, especially the kind that uses their hunting skills, can keep the weight down and help work off extra energy. Playtime is crucial for their mental well-being, too — it can help stop depression and boredom, which can lead to bigger health and behavior issues.
With a little help from you, your kitty can stay healthy and active — and have a little more fun, too.
The good news is you don’t have to spend a lot of money to fill kitty’s toy box. You just have to think like a cat and use toys that draw out his hunting instincts. A piece of string wrapped around the end of a stick that you drag on the ground will bring out the stalker in almost any cat.
So will ping-pong balls or small balls of paper flicked across the floor. And if you happen to be artsy-craftsy, you can even make your own inexpensive kitty toys.
Get Out the Laser Pointer
Many cats love chasing a laser, and it’s a great way to give them a workout while tapping into their hunting instinct. You can vary the speed at which the dot moves and entice your cat to run, jump and pounce.
Trees or towers
Cats love to climb, so every home with a kitty in residence should have at least one multi-level cat tree or tower. Whenever they go up it or uses it to sharpen their claws, they will get in some good stretching, scratching and climbing time.
Turn mealtime into a workout session
Put your pets meal in a bowl, and walk around the house with it, with her following close behind. Stop from time to time and offer her small bites. As they get used to this new game, you should notice them being very active as they weave around your ankles, runs ahead then turns back and runs towards you, stretches up toward the bowl and hops around on her back legs. After 10 to 20 minutes and a good little workout for kitty, you can put the bowl on the floor and let them finish up their meal.
Play Hide and Seek
Just like with kids, often the best toys for cats are those that you can find around the house. Cats can have a ton of fun with a paper bag and some tissue paper (just remember to cut the handles off the bag so your cat doesn’t get his head caught in them). They’ll love both the noise and the potential for hiding spots.
Take a Walk on a Leash
Your dog might not be the only one who likes going for walks. Some cats can be trained to walk on a leash, too. It’s a great way for your feline to explore the outdoors while avoiding dangers like getting lost, being attacked by a predator or getting hit by a car. Cats who are calm and easy-going tend to make the best candidates for using a leash.
Consider “at-home” kitty agility training
Cats run through a scaled down, feline-friendly obstacle course that includes hurdles, tunnels, hoops and poles. Cat parents or trainers use a feather or other type of wand to try to persuade the kitties to make their way over, under, around and through each of the obstacles on the course in as little time as possible. The key is to use something chase-able to entice your cat to engage in more physical activity.