All dog owners know the importance of their dog getting exercise. For this reason, they take them on the daily walks and play ball with them in the garden. However, exercise is not an issue that cat owners concern themselves about as much. They are happy for their cat to curl up on their lap or sprawl out in a sunny spot in the house or garden. However, it is just as important for cats to get as much exercise as dogs. The following is an overview of why keeping your cat active is important and the different ways that you can encourage activity.
Obesity in Cats
The main reason that activity is important for cats is to prevent obesity, which is becoming a huge problem in the feline population of the United States. According to the Association for the Prevention of Pet Obesity, approximately 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Obesity can have a huge impact on the health of your pet and can increase the risk of them developing serious and even life-threatening conditions. Some of these include diabetes, arthritis, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular conditions. There are two main ways of tackling obesity and reducing the likelihood of your cat developing serious health conditions. The first is to make sure they are eating a healthy diet that is appropriate or the species. This means avoiding foods intended for humans and making sure their diet is high in protein and low in fat. The second way of tackling obesity is by increasing activity levels, which is why making sure your cat is active enough is so important.
Other Reasons That Activity is Important for Your Cat
Although obesity is the primary concern for inactive cats, preventing obesity is not the only reason to get your cat more active. According to Philadelphia CBS Local, increasing activity levels is also good for your cat’s mental and emotional well-being. Although cats are sometimes happy just to sit around doing nothing, too much sitting around can lead to depression. Therefore, increasing activity levels can reduce the likelihood of your cat getting depressed. Furthermore, studies have shown that increased activity can help cats that suffer from stress and anxiety. Another point to consider is that cats like playing simply because it is fun. Increasing their activity levels through play is something that they will enjoy which will reduce boredom. A further benefit of increasing activity is to keep your cat supple and flexible. Typical cat behavior involves them climbing, jumping, and twisting through narrow spaces. If they are not active enough, they will lose some of these skills and gaining weight can also hinder natural cat movements. Therefore, keeping up activity levels allows cats to behave in the way that cats are supposed to behave.
Interactive Play with Your Cat
There are two main ways to encourage your cat to increase its activity levels, and the first of these is for you to interactively play with your cat. Carol Erickson, an advocate for the Pennsylvania Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, says that one of the easiest ways to have some fun and interact with your cat is to get a fishing pole-type toy. These are a type of toy that has a stick-like handle with a toy dangling from a piece of string. Using these toys will encourage your cat to chase the toy. As you move the stick around, the cat will jump and pounce as though they are hunting. This is an activity that most cats love, and it is entertaining watching them enjoy this activity. Another option is to play ball games with them. Cats particularly like the balls that contain a bell that makes a noise as it rolls. You can even play ball games with your cat indoors by rolling the ball across the floor for your cat to chase. Playing with this cat is a great bonding experience for them both.
Encouraging a Cat to Play Alone
The second way to get your cat to increase its activity levels is to encourage it to play alone. Ideally, letting your cat outdoors to explore the garden or the local area is one of the best ways to encourage them to become more active. However, this is not always possible if you live in an apartment or on the main road. Even if your cat is an indoor cat, you can still encourage them to play in the home environment. The best way of doing this is with toys. Having toys will also keep them entertained when you are not at home to play with them. Two of the best options are scratching poles that have toys dangling from them and a cat tower with different levels. In both cases, these toys encourage your cat to jump or climb. An interesting idea to encourage your cat to move about more is to give them their food via a feeding ball, says Cats.org. The feeding ball encourages them to move and work to get their food. This is a particularly useful tip if you have an indoor cat that does not have the opportunity to get outside.
Cats and Activity – The Bottom Line
Ensuring your cat has enough activity is an important part of your role as a responsible adult. The main reason for this is that it will prevent obesity, which in turn will reduce the likelihood of your cat developing serious health problems. Activity is also important for your cat’s emotional well-being, and it is something that they will enjoy. You can encourage your cat to get active by interacting with them or by providing them with toys that they can play with on their own. If your cat has plenty of activity options, they will maintain a healthy weight, reduce their anxiety, and have fun.