A shiny new year is upon us, and many people take this time to create resolutions to improve various areas in their lives. Some vow to stop smoking, and others promise themselves they’ll finally pay off that pesky credit card; however, the most popular New Year’s resolution seems to be getting healthy — whether that’s in the form of “losing weight” or “getting in shape.” We all know proper exercise helps us shed the pounds and stay fit. But, what about cat workouts? Yep, humans aren’t the only ones who could use a little more movement — cats also require exercise (and proper diet) to maintain a healthy weight and overall wellness.
Dr. Cori Blair of Ocean County Veterinary Hospital says, “The average domestic cat should ideally weigh approximately 8 to 10 pounds. However, more than 50 percent of household cats in the U.S. are obese or overweight. The feline obesity epidemic is a major concern among veterinarians today and should be to anyone with a feline companion. As little as 2 pounds of excess body weight can put cats at an up to three times increased risk for development of Type II diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, joint injuries, urinary tract disease and overall lower immune system function. Obese cats have a significantly shorter lifespan when compared to cats at an optimum weight.”
So, while you’re planning your own exercise regimen, why not create some cat workouts?
Here are some ideas for great cat workouts:
1. Encourage your cat to get moving with another cat!
Cats are more likely to play if they have a feline friend. Homes with two or more cats see more chasing and play fighting — all of which equals cat workouts that burn calories. Plus, kitties tend to get bored when they’re alone. Sometimes, an older cat can benefit greatly from the endless energy of a kitten. We all do better with friends, right?
2. Increase cat workouts with a cat tree or cat tower
Consider adding a cat tower to your home. Some models come equipped with platforms of various heights, scratching posts, dangly toys and tunnels. It’s an all-in-one kitty cat playground that encourages cat workouts in the form of healthy jumping, stretching and climbing.
3. Amp up cat workouts with toys
When it comes to cat toys, one does not fit all. Some kitties enjoy toys with bells, while others like toy mice or springs. Buying cat toys doesn’t have to break the bank. If you share your life with a cat, you know that they sometimes prefer homemade toys, whether or not they’re “official” toys.
Balled-up paper is a hit with most cats, as are pipe cleaners, milk jug rings and empty toilet paper rolls. Have you tried placing a ball in a big box or bathtub? Some cats go wild with this “hockey” game. The point is to find something your cat likes, and there’s way more of a chance she’ll get that body movin’!
4. Use wands and lasers — the right way
Many cats count wand and laser toys as their favorite playthings. There’s one catch though — the human has to be at the other end of the toy. This playtime could be the perfect way to wind down after a long day at work, and give kitty some much-needed together — and exercise — time.
5. Make playtime even more interactive
There are some pretty cool interactive cat toys on the market. These are perfect playthings for cat workouts when you’re not home. They include tracks with moving, swattable balls; puzzles and games; and even lasers you can control remotely while watching your cat on camera! Cats have natural curiosity, and if an interactive toy piques their interest, they’re all in.
6. Head outside — safely
Some cats do well on a harness and leash and enjoy the great outdoors. Taking your cat for walks (or your cat taking you for a walk) can be a fun experience to share with kitty. If you’re going to explore the outdoors, make sure your cat is microchipped and has identification tags.
A final word on cat workouts:
With some planning and attention, you can start the new year with cat workouts that help your kitty maintain her overall wellness. Now — back to your workout plan.
Tell us: How does your cat stay fit?
Thumbnail: Photography © HASLOO | iStock.
This piece was originally published January 5, 2018.