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Why should I exercise my cat?

While cats love to laze around and sleep, they also need to play and exercise. Find out how important exercise is to your cat, how to play with your cat and what games might become your cat’s favorite activity.

Would you be surprised to learn that domestic cats don’t get as much exercise as feral cats? But exercise and play are essential to their well-being. Cats are meant to hunt, with their tremendous instinct to stalk, chase and pounce on prey. Although domestic cats no longer need this hunting skill to survive, their reflexes still have an effect on their behavior. It’s important to allow your cat to satisfy its natural instincts by providing at least three five-minute periods of intense play each day.

Why is play and exercise so important for cats?

Playing with your cat is not only about spending time together, it’s also about maintaining your cat’s health so that you can enjoy the many years ahead together. Obesity rates among pets are on the rise worldwide. Incorporating exercise into their daily lives helps them maintain a healthy weight, preserve muscle strength and avoid obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

In addition to helping them stay physically healthy, play and exercise help your cat develop positive behaviors. Play stimulates your cat in a positive way and helps protect objects in the home, such as furniture and plants. Offering your cat a play schedule also teaches her that there are good and bad times to play, and keeps her mind sharp and active.

How much exercise does a cat need?

The amount of exercise will vary depending on your cat’s age, weight and current activity level, but in general, it’s recommended that you play with your cat intensely for five minutes, three times a day.

When playing with your cat, remember that she is a natural predator. These short, intense five-minute periods of activity compare to the way they would hunt in the wild. Because cats – even indoor cats – are built to climb, jump, stalk and hunt. Don’t be afraid to tap into your cat’s animal instincts and encourage his natural behaviors when you play with him. It’s in her genes!

How to exercise your cat

To find out if your cat prefers to climb or hunt, introduce her to one toy or activity at a time. You’ll soon learn which ones she prefers. It’s also a good idea to alternate between toys every couple of days, so she doesn’t get bored.

Here are some of the most popular toys that will help your cat get exercise:

While cats certainly enjoy lounging around the house, a regular dose of exercise and play is essential to their overall health. Whether you already have an exercise routine in place or are just starting one, remember that the type of play you choose should stimulate the cat’s natural instincts. There are many toys and exercise equipment designed for cats, so you should be able to find one that will keep your cat happy and active for years to come.

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