If your cat is not getting enough exercise then this could lead to all sorts of health problems, this can be particularly difficult if you have an indoor cat. Here are 5 tips to help exercise an indoor cat.
1. Use your cats hunting instincts.
Cats are born predators. Stalking and hunting are instinctual. You can use your cat’s predatory nature to engage it in playful fun. Here are some tempting targets that few kitties can resist:
Toy mice. You can buy battery-powered, motorized mice, or you can use a string tied to a simple plastic toy mouse to provide provocative life-like movements.
Feathered toys. Everyone knows that cats love to stalk and catch
birds. You can buy feathered toys that are bird replicas. Attach a string and make the toy move like a wounded bird, and no self-respecting kitty will be able to resist.
A simple piece of string. A length of yarn, a shoestring, a piece of ribbon – all are great for provoking your cat into an attack. If your cat’s too cool to pounce on a string that YOU are obviously controlling, try jerking and twitching a length of string while hidden behind a door, with the string running underneath the door.
Spot on. Use a small flashlight to shine a spot of light on the floor, and watch your cat try to catch it as you move the spot of light around in jerky movements. A small dot of light from a laser pointer might be even more irresistible to your cat. (Be sure not to shine the light in your cat’s eyes.)
2. Encourage Climbing and Scratching
Empty boxes and paper sacks can be great fun for kitty playtime. Cats are naturally curious, and love to investigate small spaces and enclosures. Stack a few empty boxes or lay out some paper bags, and watch your cat get some good exercise crawling through and around its ‘cat caves.’
(Do not use plastic bags; they pose a risk of accidental suffocation.)
A scratching post offers the dual benefit of offering your cat an outlet for its instinctual need to scratch and providing some exercise. A cat tree also provides exercise and, like a scratching post, helps to wear down the points of your cat’s claws.
3.Use A Light Beam.
Another favorite is the beam of light. If you already have a smallish flashlight, you can try to get your cat to chase it around. Laser pointers are even better, since the small beam of light appears to be a little bug, and cats love to chase bugs. Stay low with the light, or you may have your cat trying to climb the shelves to catch it and end up with broken knick-knacks on the floor. Also, be sure to avoid flashing the beam directly into your cat’s eyes.
4. Use An Exercise Wheel.
Did you know that you could buy an exercise wheel for your cat? It’s the same concept as the little exercise wheels used for hamsters, but specifically designed for cats.
Some cats, though, are more inclined to use an exercise wheel than others. If your cat eagerly chases spots of light or strings across the floor, then it’s probably a particularly good candidate for an exercise wheel.
Exercise wheels are a great way to exercise an indoor cat, but expect to invest a bit of time and patience in training your cat to use the wheel.
5. Go Out For A Walk
Finally, with the proper training and the right equipment, you can entice your cat to walk with a leash and a harness outside just like dogs do. “Leash-walking is great if you can get your cat to tolerate the harness and lead,” says Hofve. “Make sure the harness fits properly and can’t be wriggled out of. Young cats are easier to train, but in all cases it takes patience and perseverance.”