Do You Even Lift, Fluffy? How to Get a Cat to Exercise

“Cats are lazy.”

That’s a stereotype we’ve all heard, isn’t it? But it couldn’t be further from the truth. Like dogs—and humans, for that matter—cats have a need for regular exercise, and can benefit greatly from a little movement. 

For cats, this often looks like play time! The simple act of playing with your cat can get them up moving and excited, resulting in important exercise for them. But getting a cat to get up and use their muscles isn’t always easy. 

That’s why I’m sharing four different ideas for helping your cat exercise—that don’t feel like exercise at all!

Please Note: Consult your vet before starting any kind of exercise with your cat!

Exercise Ideas for Cats

Use Interactive Wand Toys

One of the best ways to play with your cat—and in turn, get them to exercise—is to use an interactive wand toy. These toys usually are made with a simple solid stick on one end for you to hold and have a ribbon, feather, or other small toy attached to the other for your kitty to chase. The best even have a bell on them to take your cat’s excitement to the next level. You can move the toy around in different motions to mimic birds, snakes, and other animals to help stimulate your cat’s inner hunter as she chases it around the house. 

Set Up Automated Cats Toys

If you can’t step away from a meeting to play one-on-one with your cat or will be out of the house for a few hours, an automated cat toy is an awesome way to help encourage your cat to get out of bed and move around. There are a ton of different versions to choose from, so you’re sure to find one your kitty will love. 

Get a Cat Wheel

There’s a good chance you’ve seen these cat wheels on the internet. I couldn’t believe them the first time I did! These exercise wheels for cats look like a hamster wheel, and pretty much function the same way. They allow a cat to get on the track and run to their heart’s desire! While it will take some patience and time to get your cat up and running, a cat wheel is a fun way for your kitty to use some of the extra energy pent up inside of them. Start slowly, and encourage your cat with toys or even a few small treats as you get them used to the piece. 

Adopt a Cat Friend

Here’s the deal, everyone knows that adopting two cats is better than one, but did you know that one of the reasons is because two cats can help each other to exercise? It’s true! When your cat has a friend, they will be able to play and run around the house together while causing mischief. In my experience, this is definitely the case. The single cats in my life never got as much fun, fulfilling exercise as the pair of littermates I have now. The two of them will run, jump, wrestle, and wear each other out as a team. 

Why Exercise is Important for Cats

Exercise is important for cats because it helps them to be mentally stimulated and able to maintain a healthy weight. Cat exercise is also vital because it allows our feline friends to use their hunting instincts. Because of this, cats will often feel happier and calmer after exercising. 

You can work intentional exercise into your cat’s daily routine by always making sure you play with them before feeding them a meal. This will help unlock your cat’s most natural behavior, since their wild ancestors had to hunt their food before eating. 

When you take the time to help your cat get adequate exercise, you lay the groundwork for a healthier future for them. 

I know a lot about cats, but I’m not a veterinarian. Please don’t take any of the statements I give as medical advice and do always consult your trusted vet, especially if your cat is experiencing behavioral or physical challenges.

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