A common worry that many cat owners have is whether their cat/s are getting enough exercise. It’s well known that cat’s have developed an exceptionally high metabolic rate during evolution but all cats still need some form of daily activity for a number of important reasons. This blog post will delve further into this topic and highlight the main reasons why exercise is a vital part of a cat’s everyday routine.
Why Should Your Cat Exercise?
It goes without saying that (almost) any type of activity is good for your cat’s mental and physical well-being. First off, physical activity and a healthy diet are the main drivers in helping to keep a cat’s body weight in control. Regular exercise will also help to keep muscles toned, keep the heart active, and keep the mind alert. There are a multitude of ways in which a cat can be exercised, which will be explored below.
Increasing The Human-Cat Bond
The best form of exercise for any cat is the most fun form of exercise: play. The disjointed, natural movements that humans can make with toys, balls and feathers allows cats to practice their hunting, stalking and play-fighting skills. All of these instinctive behaviours are natural traits of the cat species. This human-cat play will also help to improve the bond that you have with your cat and will encourage them to be themselves in the home. Just be careful whilst playing with feathers because they can be inadvertently swallowed!
Cat Furniture and Scratching Posts
You knew we’d talk about this. Cat furniture and scratching posts allow cats to exercise themselves when you’re not looking. They will use natural muscular movements to climb, stretch, jump and scratch, and this natural form of exercising will help to tone muscle and shed weight all in one go. It’s important for a cat’s mental well-being that they have opportunity to practice their natural instincts too to prevent boredom and, ultimately, unhappiness.
Motorised Cat Toys and Exercise Wheels
Modern, battery powered cat toys look to replicate the movements of human touch by running random routines that try grab a cat’s attention (which can be difficult). Similarly, exercise wheels allow cats to run on the spot and take up next to no space in the home. The issue with these products is that they’re often not natural for a cat and can be ignored after a time. Even so, if an evening is jam-packed and there isn’t time for more a personal exercise period with your cat, then one of these toys can be used to fill the gap.
Lastly, boxes can be a cat’s nirvana. Perhaps the cheapest and easiest form of entertainment a cat can have comes in the form of cardboard and 90-degree angles. Indeed, at Catipilla we often get pictures of cats climbing all over our packaging before we see pictures of those same cats on our products! This is a simple and free form of exercise which can provide fun for all of the family.
How Much Exercise Does a Cat Need a Day?
This depends on the age, weight, and general health of your cat, but we would suggest that a cat gets at least 10-15 minutes of exercise 3 times a day. Young kittens will naturally play for a lot longer than that and will find their own form of entertainment (with, quite literally, anything in reach). Older and overweight cats will take more encouragement to exercise and these exercise periods could be shortened to 3-5 minute bursts of play at a more frequent rate. Gradually, as weight is lost, the length of these exercise periods can be increased.
It is easy enough to see why a cat needs regular exercise in order to live life to the fullest. All of these methods will help to stave off weight gain, increase a cat’s mental capacity and help to keep your cat happy. What more could you ask for?