In light of International Cat Day, we thought we’d answer the question ‘How do I exercise my cat?’

Did you know that a cat can hit speeds of around 30mph? At this speed, they could beat Olympian Usain Bolt in a 200-metre dash! Cats, in fact, need exercise just like any other animal and even us humans. Exercising your cat will address common behavioural issues, excessive weight gain, and eventual health consequences.

With many cat owners out at work all day, and more and more cats spending most, if not all of their time indoors, ensuring your cat gets the mental and physical stimulation it needs to keep fit and healthy is vital. A cat who lack’s this enrichment can become aggressive in play with both humans and other animals, they can become destructive with furniture or plants and they can even isolate themselves from people. Further to this, cats lacking regular play can become easily distressed and even depressed.

Ideally, you should try to spend about 10-15 minutes a few times each day engaging your cat in some form of activity. On top of this, if you do work during the day, providing some interactive toys for your cat to amuse him/her self with during the day is also a good idea to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

Exercises

Chase

Cats love chasing toys however owners need to be careful of toys that are attached to string or toys that are small enough to swallow, as they can get obstructions from chewing and eating them.

Invest in a Cat Tower

A large multi-level scratch post is a perfect exercisable toy for a cat to use and help them sit up high so they can overlook their ‘kingdom’! This toy is great because it will entice cats to climb, which uses their muscles and naturally wears down the points of their claws.

Laser Pointer

An automated laser pointer for your curious cat will provide lots of fun! To them, this small beam of light appears to be a little bug, Stay low with the light (or you may have your cat trying to climb the shelves) and, of course, be sure to avoid flashing the beam directly into your cat’s eyes (or into the sky at aeroplanes!!)

Teach a trick

Cats can learn tricks just like dogs. To teach your cat a trick, make sure you have a supply of treats and remember repetition and practice is key. A high-five is a great trick to start with. Let your cat know that you have a treat and encourage them to raise their paw, then reward & repeat!
> Fun Fact: the most tricks performed by a cat in one minute is 24! Didga completed a series of tricks from rolling over, to even jumping a bar whilst on a skateboard! You can watch the video here.

Moving toys

Investing in small remote controlled or battery-powered furry mice is entertaining for the cat and yourself! Give your cat a run around the house with a little toy mouse.

Empty boxes

Cut cat-sized holes in a spare cardboard box and let your feline friend rummage around in it.

There’s plenty of cat toys and products available on the PETstock website too.

Now . . . it’s time to play!


About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.