It is no secret that exercise is one of the key ingredients to a long and healthy life and this is also true for our pets. Unlike Humans, Cats do not need to do 20 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 times a week to stay in shape. Nor do they need to be walked several times a day like dogs, but they do need to lead an active life. It is a challenge not only for ourselves but also our furry feline pets to get off the couch and engage in some sort of cat fitness that will increase heart rates and provide a good workout.
Outdoor Cats get all the exercise they need, exploring, chasing leaves, birds, flying insects, climbing trees and just being themselves-curious, stalking and attacking pretend or real prey which includes scratching, clawing, chasing, and climbing. There are seldom “fat cats” ever found whom enjoy the outdoors.
“Feline Obesity” is more of a concern with indoor Cats, however they can also be healthy and content, provided they get exercise in other forms. It can help if your indoor cat has a companion pet and if you can encourage them to play for an hour or so each day, such as chasing each other or running after and swatting toys etc. As well, Cats’ exercise best when they are doing something that is natural to them, like predatory acts, stalking or climbing etc. However, it is going to take some effort on your behalf to ensure that your pet participates in your cat fitness program.
To help you encourage your feline to become more active are some excellent Cat Exercise Equipment and Toys that you can make yourself or purchase such as:
The Laser Bolts, Fling-ama-string are samples of just some of the toys that will get your Cat active. Cats love chasing light beams or trying to catch whatever is at the end of the string. Some of these are automated, so your Cat will use them with or without you. There are tons of other toys that encourage the Cat to do what comes natural…chase and catch. Some mimic birds, mice or bugs. Even though your Cat is not hunting, they still enjoy the actions and movements involved with the process of hunting and will create a form of play. Balls are great, anything that your Cat will bat around, possibly carry and try ripping apart, bite and roll with. Keep toys for your Cats particularly if they spend a lot of time alone.
Cat Scratching Posts
Scratching is very natural to Cats, with or without claws. There are so many Scratching Posts to choose from, such as the inexpensive cardboard, rope or rug covered posts to the more elaborate ones found in many of the Cat Trees and gyms which are discuss later. The Cat Scratching Post is an essential piece of exercise equipment for Cats and they love to use them, even more than your expensive furniture.
These climbing structures were meant for Cats whose natural instincts are to climb, relax feeling safe and secure, viewing the world below. This goes back to the beginning of Cats. Many of these Cat Trees are made from rope or carpet fabric which allows them to use their claws to climb or without claws to jump or get the traction to pull themselves up. Most incorporate multi platforms at various levels that the Cats love to relax on. Depending on the size and amount of platforms, condos, accessories including scratching posts, these trees range in prices but there is one for every budget. Trees can be quite large but can be easily tucked into corners and out of the way places. Cats love their own furniture, will claim and use them.
There is many play possibilities with these as well. Cat Gyms come in various sizes and prices, and may include multi platforms, trays, towers, swat toys and tunnels. Cats will use their imaginations and make good use of the gyms. If you spend a little time with your Cat by interesting them in how to use their own gyms, you will soon find that they will play on their own, even if it is only for several minutes at a time. Cats only need minutes here and there to be considered active.
Cat Exercise Wheel
Cat exercise wheels are fairly new. They are simply a very large wheel that the Cat walks, jogs or runs on much like the hamster wheels. Training the Cat is fairly simple in that you place the Cat on, keep them there with a treat or two, and flick something in front to get them to stride thus turning the wheel. Soon, they will have the wheel spinning. These are expensive and also quite large so budget and space will dictate if they are appropriate for your home and pets.
Outdoor Pet Pens, Cages, Mesh Tunnels
If you have a yard or even a deck that you can place your cat outside for fresh air but do not want them escaping, than these might be the solution. Again, there are many sizes, styles and prices for every budget or purpose.
Cat Collar, Leash and Harness
This is not for all Cats but there are some that do like to go for short walks. Teaching “kitty” to walk is best started when they are young, although some older ones take to leash like old pros. Accustom the Kitten to wear a collar with a “breakaway” or safety device that allows the cat to escape if the collar catches on something. Then attach a long thin leash or cord to the collar, and start to walk the cat indoors, gradually going outdoors in secure areas and finally sidewalks when you feel that your Cat is well prepared. Some Cats will absolutely refuse, but others, especially the cats that have more of a “dog like temperament” such as the Siamese, Burmese, Russian Blues, Ragdolls, Oriental Shorthairs will consider “walking on a leash” if the walk is short. If you travel with your Cat, than a Collar, harness and leash is something you should spend time getting your Cat used to so that you can take them out of the Cat Carriers or Tote bags and let them “stretch” their legs without fear of them running away and becoming lost or injured.
DVDs and Videos
There are many various Cat inspired visual and audio products on the market to help your Cat deal with loneliness and stay mentally alert. As well, there are even “cat exercise videos” to encourage activity.
Make exercise “fun” and your Cats will participate. Play is healthy and can incorporate getting fit which is essential to your Cats’ physical and mental well being. It helps to overcome boredom and discourages developing behavioral problems especially for those whom spend a large amount of time alone or do not receive a lot of one on one “attention”.
Enrich your Cats’ life and they will enrich yours. Keep them entertained with plenty of toys to play with, equipment to exercise on, and high places to relax. You will than have a very happy, contented fit Cat.