Physical wellbeing is so important to our furry friends. This is our step-by-step guide on how to get a fat cat to exercise.
You might have noticed that your cat sleeps a lot — this in itself is no real problem. After all, cats need their cat naps and their beauty sleep. Watching them snooze is a peaceful treat for any cat owner. However, if you notice your kitty is sleeping incessantly, eating like there’s no tomorrow and refusing to move more than is strictly necessary to get to their food bowl and back to their favourite resting place, it might be time to take action.
Increased exercise can help your cat in many ways — it can fight obesity, reduce boredom and even solve certain behavioural issues. Unfortunately, not all cats are eager to play. Some are innately lazy, and many cats grow less active as they get older. To help you out, we’ve put together this seven-step guide on how to get a fat cat to exercise.
Related: How much exercise does my cat need?
First — Is Your Fat Cat Really Fat?
Your cat might seem like he’s larger than he should be — but before you get too strict with him, it’s worth doing a bit of research. You may or may not know that some cats will naturally weigh more than others. Let’s look at a couple of examples below.
The average domestic cat should weigh between 3.5-4.5 kilograms. However, the large and fluffy Maine Coon cat breed will generally weigh more — anywhere between 4.5-11 kilograms! However, the dainty little Singapura (generally known to be the smallest domestic cat breed) should weigh in at about 2-3.5 kilograms. To get a good general idea as to whether or not your cat has a weight problem, you can check out this useful website for ideal weight ranges for cats.
If your cat is clearly a little chubby, the reason is simply that they are overfed and under-exercised. We understand. It’s tempting (and rewarding) to spoil our cats. But to help you get your cat fighting fit, check out our seven-point checklist below.
1. Change Your Cat’s Diet
All living things are affected by the type of food we eat. If we eat the wrong food, we’ll feel sluggish, irritable and disinclined to move around more than necessary! Before you press ahead with the other points on this list, have a look at the ingredients on your usual cat food. If it’s low-quality, it may be lacking useful nutrients. The right diet can help to energise your cat, which will encourage them to be more active.
On a similar note, make sure your cat always has easy access to water. As with humans, dehydration in cats can lead to sluggishness.
2. Buy Your Cat the Right Toys
I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now — cats can be very picky. To be diplomatic, let’s say they’re “particular”. They like what they like. So just because they don’t immediately fall in love with the first toy you bring home from the shops, that doesn’t mean they don’t have an interest in toys. You just need to find the right type of toy they enjoy. Try buying a range of different toys (ones with bells inside, ones that crinkle, ones with feathers, ones that run along the floor) and see what your cat likes. And remember, unlike dogs, your cat may not react to a toy immediately, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested — just give them some time.
3. Invest in an Amazing Cat Climber
As you know, domestic cats evolved from wildcats. Really, that’s how they still think of themselves. No matter how small they are, cats are fierce, intimidating hunters in their own minds — and domesticated cats still have that evolutionary impulse to hunt, hide and climb.
Cat climbers are a great way to appeal to your cat’s inner nature and get them to play and exercise. To encourage them, you can even place small treats along the tower.
Check out our range of luxury cat climbers
4. They Think They’re Hunters — so Let Them Hunt!
One great way to get your cat to exercise is to replicate the hunting process. One reason why cats are so excited about playing with you is they get to use their hunting instincts. Think about it — when they chase that mouse on a string and when they reach for the piece of string trying to “run away”, they are exhibiting all the signs of a little hunter. Their pupils get bigger, they crouch close to the ground and their little bums wiggle in anticipation of a pounce.
To get your fat cat off the couch, do your best to replicate the hunting process. Try to move the toys you play with in much the same way real prey would move. Vary your speed and direction. Have the toy mouse move towards them, then away from them. You can also buy toys that make mouse-like sounds, which will make your cat very happy.
5. Make Them Work for Their Treats
We all love to treat our cats, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re trying to encourage a bit more exercise, you can get them to work for it. Buy a couple of treat puzzles or feeding balls. Your cat will have to swat around the ball and toss it about to get their treats to fall out.
Related: How to keep cats active indoors
6. Play with Your Cat!
You have a role to play, too! We know you’re busy and you have a lot to do — and when you don’t, you’re probably sleeping. But your kitty needs you. To bond with your cat and to encourage them to move around, make sure you play with them yourself. Don’t just put a toy in front of them and expect them to do all the work. Incredibly, some cats can even be taught to fetch and do tricks! Have a play around with your cat and see what type of activity they really enjoy.
The only thing we should point out is cats are designed to be active in short bursts. They might be really enthusiastic for fifteen minutes and then collapse into a cat coma. This is perfectly normal — don’t force your cat to exhaust himself!
7. Catnip Is Your Secret Tool
If you’re still having difficulty getting your cat off the sofa, why not try catnip? This is a hugely effective tool for many cats. Most find it irresistible. Sprinkle or spray some catnip onto your cat’s toys and cat scratcher, and watch them become enamoured. Before you know it, they’ll be rolling around on the floor, rubbing up to the toy and swatting the toy around the room.
Here at Catipilla, we sell luxury, stylish cat furniture you and your cat will love! To get your cat moving, browse our climbers and resting points today.