Many cat owners are surprised when they are told that their feline companion needs more exercise. It is estimated that more than 50% of household cats are now considered overweight or obese! Cats are natural hunters and let’s face it, indoor cats do not have to work hard for their daily meals. So, how can you help your feline stay trim and healthy? Here are some suggestions.
Scratchers are a fantastic option for exercise and play for all ages of cats, especially the younger and more active. It is their natural instinct to scratch and providing them with designated areas to fulfill that need will help keep them happy while protecting your furniture. Adding a small amount of catnip to their scratcher will encourage them, even more, to play and explore.
For the inner hunter, look for games that involve furry toy mice, laser pointers, teasers, and other interactive toys which lets them safely hunt, run, and pounce. Older cats may not be as excited to play solo, so make it a habit to engage with them on a regular basis, even if it is only for a few minutes a day. A little is better than nothing.
Hanging teasers and other feline-friendly toys on your doorknobs around the house can give them the opportunity to hunt elusive prey even when they are home alone. Especially interesting to most cats are toys that have a little catnip in them or are catnip infused.
For exercise, reluctant cats consider adding another cat or kitten to your family. Even older cats will enjoy playing with a new friend. Whatever you can do to add more movement into their day will help to reduce weight-related illnesses and diseases.
If your cat or kitten isn’t getting enough exercise, you may also notice some behavioral issues from them. This is often due to boredom and if given some exciting ways to burn off some energy, you will notice fewer behavioral issues as well as a slimmer pet. As always, discuss any health or behavioral issues or concerns about your cat with your Washington, DC veterinarian by calling our office at (703) 356-5000 or at your pet’s annual wellness appointment.