Weight gain can lead to other health problems for cats, such as diabetes, kidney disease, shorter life spans, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis.
According to a national survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 47.3 million cats were classified as overweight or obese in 2011 (full report here).
What was more concerning about the study results is that only 9% of people reported their cats as overweight or obese, less than half of the assertions made by veterinarians. You can combat this statistic by talking to your vet about good food choices, exercise and your cat’s health, and dietary needs.
There are many ways you can exercise a cat, and some are free and homemade.
This infographic explains more:
5 MORE Ways to Exercise a Cat
Now, you didn’t think I was going to stop at just 10 novel ways to exercise a cat, did you? Here are 5 more:
11. Ball Pit
Use plastic balls, newspaper shreds or cat toys to fill up a box. Throw in a few cat treats and shake it up. Your cat will get exercise from maneuvering around and moving the objects to get to the treats.
12. Stairway to Play
If you have a staircase with spindles, these can be especially fun for cats. Use toys or yourself to play hide and seek on one side while your cat runs from step to step trying to catch you or a toy.
13. Tunnel Fun
Hiding and pouncing are two things cats love to do, and a tunnel gives them a unique opportunity to do both. You can buy a tunnel toy or make your own by opening and connecting paper bags or boxes with sturdy tape.
14. Food and Water Separation
Move the food and water bowls to different places. Many cats eat and drink at the same time, so moving one bowl may encourage a little extra exercise. Some people recommend moving the bowls to high and low locations and back and forth as cats are eating, but I worry about tummy upsets and general frustration.
Whether it’s on a treadmill or in an exercise wheel (yes, they make those for cats), running can be a great source of exercise for your cat. Always supervise any type of equipment your cat is using and start off slow at first.
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Always put toys away after playtime that pose choking or ingestion risks like string, yarn or feather toys that lose pieces easily. Make sure climbing toys and structures are secure before letting your cat play on them.
If your cat gets bored with one of these ideas, it’s easy to implement another one. Your time and creativity will offer a fun time with your cat while providing health benefits to you both.