Animal Friends

Exercising your Cat

Obesity in Cat is on the rise, studies shown by vets conclude that at least 1 in 4 cats in the UK are over weight or obese, this can have severe health implications for your pet including an increased risk in heart disease, arteritis, diabetes and a general loss in quality of life.

There are however organised exercises you can encourage which can help your cat become more active and at the same time help you bond with your pet.

Toys are a great way to increase your cats activity. Kittens are normally more engaging and can be kept entertained with simple items such as string, ribbon and shoe laces. Insuring your cat is exercised from a young age will help keep the weight off, maintain interest in you and strengthen your relationship with them.

If you are beginning to exercise an older overweight cat you could struggle to capture their attention due to their lack of energy and interest. You may have to becoming creative and try new things to engage your cat even if you can persuade them to move for a few minutes a day. Once you have found an activity they enjoy you could even try different versions of the activities so the activity does not become boring. Increasing the time spent with them will slowly increase the chances of weight loss, strengthen their muscles and improve their endurance.

Your cat has natural predator instincts and will enjoy games involving hunting and chasing items. You can buy a battery powered toy mouse or even a laser pointer for them to try and catch. Remember you do not have to spend money on toys, cats love a ball of yarn, empty boxes with holes cut into them, empty toilet roll holders, crumpled paper or paper bags, particularly the type that makes lots of noise. Don’t forget that toys especially string are easy to swallow and can become caught in their intestines which could lead to an emergency trip to the vets.

If you do want to spend some money on your beloved cat, a scratching tower or climbing tower, if you have the space, are a great idea. Cats love to climb which keeps their muscles active and naturally wears away their claws, you could even feed them from the highest point of the tower which will see your cat having to work to get to their food. In a similar way, there are interactive exercise balls you can purchase making your cat work for their food whilst moving the ball.

Other more extreme measures you can take for overweight cats are hydrotherapy sessions which relieves the pressure from their joints allowing your cat to exercise without strain or potential injury. However, many cats do not like water and may become quite stressed by the situation. Hydrotherapy is also a long process in which you will need to get your cat use to the water and commit time to a number of sessions to obtain their weight loss goals.

Your vet will be able to help you tailor make an exercise regimes for your cat if you are unsure. It may be tough to begin with, but once you have found what works for you and your pet you might find that you are enjoying a healthier more interactive lifestyle.