When it comes to pet exercises, dog owners have little to no trouble getting their furry friend to incorporate physical activity into their routine. But while the opposite is true for those with feline companions, enticing cats to exercise is not entirely impossible.
Check out these five workouts that you can let your cat try, to help keep them physically and behaviorally healthy! The best part – all of these exercises can be performed in the comfort of your home.
Play with laser pointers
We’ve all seen those adorable videos online of cats chasing lasers around the room. If you’ve ever wondered why they go crazy over these red dots, it’s simply because they switch on your cat’s natural instinct to hunt!
But while it might be tempting to tease them with these laser pointers, feline behaviorist Marilyn Krieger stresses the importance of a “reward.” Cats that end up with nothing tangible to catch may end up feeling frustrated or confused. To keep the game fun and productive, you can place toys around the laser area, and strategically navigate your cat towards them during playtime.
Create an agility course
While some cats love to just lounge around all day, there are others with quite a bit of energy! If your pet is part of the latter, you can set up agility courses around the room. Feel free to get creative with the “obstacles” such as placing bars to jump over, shelves to climb, or tunnels to pass through!
Give them a cat wand
These flexible wand-style cat toys come in different variations: feathers, toy mice, or other diversions. Similar to the laser, cat wands awaken the hunter in your little cat, which make them a perfect follow-up to the laser workout. For extra intensity, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Jean Hofve suggests “running the toy up and over the sofa or up and down the stairs.”
Install a cat tower
Being the hunters they are, cats generally love to watch the world from a high vantage point. This makes multi-leveled cat towers a great way to encourage some form of daily physical activity even without your supervision.
Available in different shapes and sizes in the market, these towers are perfect for cats that love to climb or jump. Susan Nelson, an associate professor at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine suggests “hiding” small treats in different areas of the tower to entice your cat!
Pair up your cats
For those with more than one cat, the secret to getting them to become more active are your cats themselves! According to Dr. Hofve, “a pair of cats who get along well will get plenty of exercise through their own wrestling and chasing games.”
Unlike dogs, cats may be less responsive to invitations for play and exercise. However, experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day to keep your cat healthy and happy. PetPal suggests exploring different workouts with your cat until you find the one that is most enjoyable for them!