Cats may be known for their affinity for napping and relaxing, but exercise is vital to your cat’s mental and physical health. Not only does regular exercise help your cat stay fit and toned, but it can also curb unwanted behavioural problems such as spraying.
Exercise becomes increasingly important as your cat ages and becomes more sedentary. Incorporating a regular exercise routine into your cat’s lifestyle can help bolster their immune system, maintain mobility, and support their mental health.
Below, we’ll look at the specific benefits of exercising your cat and how much exercise they really need!
It helps cats avoid weight gain
Many cats lead a sedentary lifestyle, especially indoor cats, and their propensity to gain weight increases as they age. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, up to 35% of cats are obese, which can negatively impact a cat’s health. Feline obesity has been associated with shorter life expectancy and an increased risk for disease, including cancer and diabetes.
Even just a few minutes of exercise each day will help your cat keep extra weight off and protect them from these health complications.
Exercise is good for mental health
Cats may experience boredom and anxiety just like humans do. When they don’t receive enough mental stimulation, they may be prone to develop bad habits. This could mean they stop using their litterbox, pester you in the middle of the night, or exhibit other behavioural problems, including aggression.
Engaging your cat with a few minutes of play at different intervals throughout the day will offer mental stimulation and help them burn off any excess energy that may be feeding into their anxiety. Even if you’re not available to play with your cat during the day, you can encourage them to play independently. Hang a dangly toy, purchase a fun cat tree, or provide cat nip toys they can’t resist.
Regular exercise maintains muscle definition
Muscle loss is common as cats age and can also occur if a cat is sick or injured. When cats lose muscle, they become physically weaker and may experience a more fragile immune system, making it harder to fight off illness.
Feeding your cat a nutritious Snappy Tom diet and encouraging them to engage in daily physical activity will help them maintain muscle mass as they age.
How much exercise does a cat need?
Every cat is different, and their exercise needs depend on their personality, lifestyle, and age. Generally, 10 to 15 minutes of play each day is probably enough to help your cat burn excess energy and keep their body limber.
Interactive play is a great way to encourage exercise while also bonding with your cat. Experiment with different toys, including wands, balls, and plush toys, to see what your cat likes best! For adventurous kitties, try walking your cat outside on a leash (it’s not just for dogs)! Many cats love exploring new surroundings, even if it’s just your local park.
Don’t be afraid to get creative when dreaming up ways to exercise your cat. The most important thing is to get them moving around regularly!