Family - Pets
By: - at May 1, 2013

How to Get Your Cat to Exercise

Inspiring Movement in Your Feline Friend

cats on a cat treeWhile itís next to impossible to get your cat to work out on a treadmill, you can increase his level of exercise by developing a playtime routine.  Just like humans, cats need to move in order to maintain a cat-like, svelte weight.  Therefore, turn that fat cat of yours into a slimmer cat by developing a regular playtime routine or inspiring movement with cat furnishings like a cat tree.  You can also make your cat a more active feline by teaching him tricks and leash training him.

Buying a Cat Tree

Cat trees come in a number of varieties and styles that include perches and scratching posts.  So, if you want to detract your cat from ruining the legs on your chairs or prevent him from scrambling up your drapes, a cat tree is a must-have accessory.  Not only will you save your furniture, youíll provide your cat with furniture on which he can regularly play.  You can find many cat trees in pet stores or even some on Amazon.  I personally use this cat tree and recommend it.  Alternately, you can learn to make your own cat tree.

Establishing a Time for Play

Again, besides the cat tree, you need to establish a regular playtime for your cat as well.  Cats are predatory animals.  Therefore, the best way to get a cat to play is to furnish him with items or toys that employ his hunting talents.  Toys, then, should replicate the types of animals a cat enjoys pursuing, such as insects, birds, lizards, rabbits, and, of course, mice.  Or, use objects that mimic the behavior of the animals your cat wants to chase.

Inexpensive Playtime Ideas

Here are some good and cheap examples of great cat toys to get your cat moving:

Laser Pointer
You might try using a laser pointer and moving it across your floor in bug-or-lizard-like fashion.

Cat Charmer
One of my favorite cat toys was one I bought from Amazon called the cat charmer, me and my cat have had a lot of fun with it along with a lot of exercise.

Cat playing with the cat charmer:
Cat playing with the cat charmer

Cat Dancer
Another item I recommend from Amazon is the cat dancer.  Here is a cool video of this in action:

cat in a bagYou can also use paper bags or tissue paper to motivate your cat to play Ė two ideas that provide your cat with inexpensive ways to be entertained.

Make sure your playtime activities are scheduled daily and for around ten-minute intervals.  Cats feel secure when they are following a routine.  So, adding a playtime can keep your cat consistently active, which will make him not only slimmer but healthier and happier as well.

Train Your Cat Tricks to Keep Him Active

Or, you might think of training your kitty to come when she is called.  Offer her a low-calorie treat if she does as she is told.  Cats can learn the same basic commands that are taught to a dog if youíre patient about the process.  In fact, cats can distinguish about 500 human words.  Therefore, you can teach your cat to Come, Sit or Stay as well as train him to walk on a leash.

Training should be managed so that it is gradually conducted in steps.  While a cat may not readily understand English, he will grasp what youíre trying to communicate if you repeat your training in daily, short sessions of about 10 minutes each.

When doling out food rewards, cut them in small pieces so you can hold your catís interest in training longer.  After all, the more treats you have at your disposal, the more opportunities youíll have to encourage your cat to perform a specific command.

Leash Training Your Cat

Teaching your cat to walk on a leash will certainly keep him slim and trim as you can make walking a regular ritual.  This type of training requires a good deal of patience to get your cat used to the idea.

Leash Training Your Cat

Step 1:  Buy a Harness (not a Collar) and a Leash

Begin leash training by buying a comfortable harness and a leash that is lightweight.  You can find one on Amazon here.  Donít use a collar as your cat can slip out of the necklace.  In addition, collars can be dangerous as they can result in strangulation if your cat suddenly jumps, either out of fright or spontaneously.

Step 2:  Donít Put the Harness and Leash On But Set Them Next to Where Your Cat Sleeps

In order to keep your kitty from becoming skittish about wearing the harness and leash, place the two items near the area where he sleeps for a couple days.  That way, you can get him accustomed to their smell.

Step 3:  Place the Harness on Your Cat

Now youíre ready to place the harness on your cat.  If he seems bothered by the accessory, avert his attention by redirecting his interest toward a favorite toy.  Whenever he wears the harness, show him a lot of affection and attention. And when you take it off, ignore him for a while.  That way, heíll associate wearing the harness with a pleasant experience.

Step 4:  Secure the Leash to the Harness

Repeat the above step, leaving the harness on your cat longer each time.  After several days, youíll be ready to secure the leash.  Clip the leash to the harness and let it trail behind your cat while he walks around the house.  Just make sure that the lead does not become tangled around a table leg or chair.  Follow this practice for a few days before picking up the leash yourself.

Step 5:  Youíre Ready to Walk Your Cat

Gently pull on the lead, confining your walk to your backyard at first.  If your cat starts to pull on the leash, all you need to do is stop until he becomes more relaxed.  Then, begin to walk again.  Eventually your kitty will get used to walking with you.  You just have to remember that an extreme amount of patience is needed if you want to meet your goal.  However, the patience you exert will definitely pay off, especially when it comes to the well-being of your cat.

taking a cat for a walk

Getting your cat healthier via exercise is an important part of increasing the overall quality of your cat.  The more your cat slouches around the more your cat is going to do that, which leads to obesity and other health problems.  Developing a regular playtime with your cat not only enhances your cat's overall health but also the special bond between you and your cat.





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