A fat, lazy cat is tempting for some feline owners. Chubby cats are cute, funny, and don’t prance around the house. But a sedentary and inactive cat can lead to expensive health problems. A cat can get diabetes, develop arthritis, and have a shorter lifespan if it doesn’t get regular exercise.
If your cat’s a little lazy, you should start an exercise regimen right away, and I’m going to give you the essential rules. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when exercising a cat.
Do: Feed Your Cat a Balanced Diet in Addition to Exercise
No matter what species you are, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. If you’re overfeeding your cat, exercising it will be for nothing. Your cat will need a good balance of fats, protein, amino acids, and vitamins. How much Fluffy will need will depend on her size and age. Here’s a good feeding guide to get you started.
Do: Try Walking Your Cat
Dog owners have it easy. To keep their pup exercised, they just have to walk it outside. But a cat owner can do that, too. Walking your cat is catching on in some cat owner circles. Not every cat will like it, and you may have to start slow, but if you want a unique way to bond with kitty, this is a good way to do so. Buy a kitty leash and harness and see if it’s right for your cat.
Do: Devote at Least 10 Minutes to Exercise Time
For a human, we have to have at least an hour or so of exercise if we want to stay healthy. For a cat, it’s much more manageable. Think 10-15 minutes. Depending on the cat, they may need more or less time, but this is a good ballpark to try out. You can work out your cat while cooking, or during break at work, should you have your cat with you at that time. We all are busy, but with your cat, you have no excuse.
Do: Think Like a Cat
Cats may be domesticated, but they’re still instinct-driven. A kitty loves to chase and hunt for things like its ancestors did, so use that to your advantage. Buy your cat an electric mouse for it to chase, or use a laser pointer that will keep kitty entertained for hours. Better yet, make kitty’s meal a scavenger hunt. Put her food in different places in the house where she’ll have to work out in order to get to it. For instance, try putting the food on a counter so your cat will have to jump to get to it.
Don’t: Let the Cat Exercise on Its Own
If your schedule is busy, you may have the temptation to drop a few toys on the ground and let the cat work out on its own. While doing that is convenient, you’re missing out on a lot of bonding time if you just let the cat be.
By playing with toys with your kitty, and exercising with her, you’ll strengthen the bond between the two of you. Leave some toys out for the cat when you’re busy, but when you have the time, exercise with the cat. Like I said before, a cat only needs a short time to exercise, so take 10 minutes out of your day to work your cat out.
Don’t: Forget to Weigh Your Cat
This sounds like common sense, but many forget to regularly weigh when they, or their pet, is trying to lose weight. To get the most accurate measurement, buy an infant scale and weigh your cat with it. Keep track of your cat’s weight weekly. Every day is fine as well, but you must remember that weight can fluctuate, so don’t get discouraged if kitty weighs more one day than she does the other.
Don’t: Use Catnip too Much
Catnip can be a great tool to get the ball rolling on your cat’s workout regimen, but don’t use it too much! Kitty may become aggressive, or may be stressed if you offer too much. With anything, moderation is key. Also, some cats may not respond to catnip, so make sure your kitty will.
Don’t: Forget to Talk to Your Vet
While making your cat lose weight is something you can accomplish on your own, veterinary advice may be ideal for some cat owners. Your vet can give you your cat’s ideal weight, its nutritional needs, and can give you some supplies to get you started. If your cat’s older, or has some health problems, you should also consult your vet before you put kitty on an exercise plan.
And there you have it. If you’re not exercising your cat, start as soon as you can. Your cat will thank you for it later.