Apart from the time that we’re home to play with them or groom them, our cats are mostly alone at home entertaining themselves with whatever’s lying around or taking multiple naps throughout the day. It is a very sedentary lifestyle! But our indoor cats have been living this way all this while and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives! Without some exercise, they’re bound to get pretty chonky.
For one, playtime and exercise is crucial for your cat’s mental health. Being too idle could lead to depression and boredom and cause your cat to act out by scratching at your furniture or peeing where she isn’t supposed to pee. Bored cats are stressed cats and stressed cats may over-groom themselves causing trauma to the skin. Since our indoor cats also don’t get the required amount of exercise as compared to their outdoor counterparts, they could become overweight and this could manifests in certain health risks such as heart diseases and cancer!
With that said, here are some ways you can give your cats the exercise they need:
1. If you’re not at home, keep plenty of toys lying around anyway
Give your cat plenty of different toy options. And these don’t have to be expensive toys from the pet store either! Remember the time when you got your cat a comfy bed for her to lounge in but instead, she chooses to sleep in and play with the box that it came in? Leave some cardboard boxes, pingpong balls or a balled-up piece of paper lying around at home and your cat will keep herself entertained! You can even leave these toys up in high places where your cat can safely jump up for some extra cardio. If you’d like to spoil your kitty a little or if you notice your cat getting bored of her usual toys, try getting some toys to keep your cat entertained while you’re not at home!
2. Get toys that stimulate your cat’s natural hunting instincts
Such toys could include battery powered ones that imitate the movements of mice, or feather toys that mimic the movements of an injured bird. so that your cat may chase it around. Cats are hunters by nature so toys like these are great for tickling their hunting instincts so that they stay active.
3. Invest in a cat tower
Cat towers generally don’t come cheap – a high quality one would cost at least a hundred dollars but rest assured, this would be money well spent! Multi-tiered cat towers or cat condos are a great way to ensure that your cat will have lots of places and vertical space to climb and play. All that climbing would ensure that your kitty gets the exercise she needs!
Cats also have a natural urge to scratch because it helps them to remove old nail sheaths and promote healthy nails. Most of these cat towers come with scratching posts that will provide your cat with an acceptable place to scratch too!
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even build a obstacle course for your cat on your own! Install shelves that go from the floor to the ceiling in a step pattern, or maybe create a cat walk that lines the perimeter of your home!
4. Puzzle feeders
Puzzle feeders are yet another way you can keep your indoor cat active especially when you’re not at home. Leave some treats in these puzzle feeders so that your cat may practice her hunting skills and keep her brain mentally stimulated.
Making sure that your indoor cat stays active will help her to maintain a healthy weight, keep her muscles toned and her mind alert. Especially now that most of us are working/studying from home, it is truly the best time to spend more quality time with your furry friends and bond with them through playtime. Spending just 10-15 minutes a couple times every day will help your cat stay healthy and engaged!
If you have a young cat at home, there will be no problems trying to get her to play because more often than not, she’ll be the one initiating playtime. At the end of it, you would be the one feeling like you’ve done a full body work out instead! Older and overweight cats, however, are slightly more challenging – they’re much tougher to engage in playtime. Get them to be more active by playing with them for just a few minutes at a time, several times a day. Once you’ve found something that your cat likes, you can gradually increase the amount of time you spend playing with her.
Remember – consistency is key!