Monday, March 21st, 2016
We’ve all heard the statistics – pet obesity is on the rise in the United States. If you’re like most, we automatically worry about the extra weight on our dogs. However, our cats are suffering from obesity just as much, if not more, than their canine family members. A staggering 57.6% of America’s cats are obese! Dogs can lose and maintain a healthy weight much easier than cats because dogs can join us on a walk or jog around the block to burn off those treats. Our cats, on the other hand, are safely confined to the house and have limited options for cardio. Finding appropriate options for exercise can be tricky…until now! We have some of the easiest tips for helping your cat get back to his trim, fit feline self!
Exercise = Better Overall Health
Because cats do not need their daily walks or have as much pent up energy as dogs, we often forget our kitty companions can become bored, lazy, and overweight quite easily. Extra weight or obesity can cause heart disease, diabetes, respiratory issues, joint problems, cancer, kidney disease, and lessen their overall life expectancy.
On the other hand, regular exercise and interaction can help your feline maintain a healthy weight, create a stronger bond between the two of you, as well as allow for more mental and physical stimulation in their routine.
Try adding some (or all!) of the following exercise tips into your cat’s routine to help keep them healthy and happy!
The Exercise Regimen
- Food and diet are always the first steps to a healthier lifestyle, even for our pets. Feeding high quality ingredient cat foods and treats will ensure you feline is receiving the vitamins and nutrients they need. Allowing your cat to free-feed could also be contributing to the extra weight. Consult your veterinarian for an appropriate feeding amount and schedule for your cat.
- Make your cat work for their treats! We do the same for our dogs – they sit, come, roll over, and entertain us before they’re rewarded with a treat. Cats aren’t likely to come when we beckon, even for a tasty treat. That’s what make puzzle feeders the perfect interactive toy for your cat. Amazon has a full list of great puzzle feeders to keep your cat entertained and rewarded at the same time.
- Excite your cat’s instincts and watch them exercise! Cats are natural hunters and nothing brings them more joy. Toys that tease their hunting tendencies are the best way to go – fishing pole toys, feathers, laser lights, even tiny foil balls are excellent ways to get them running, jumping, pouncing, and hunting! This gets them moving AND forces them to use their minds to plan an efficient attack.
- Scratching posts will keep your cat limber and well stretched. How? As she scratches her front paws, she elongates her spine and back legs for a full body stretch. Plus, the more scratching posts available in the house, the less likely your furniture will fall victim to her morning stretch routine.
- Going up? Your cat would love to! Cats’ instincts make them ache for higher places to hide, sleep, and hunt from. Cat trees and towers allow for more vertical space to climb, explore, and use their claws freely. The higher the better! Place your tower in front of a window for your cat to watch the cars and birds outside while you’re at work, too.
- Keep it simple with a box! Ever buy your cat a toy for them to simply play in the bag or box it came in? Skip the toys and present them with paper bags and/or different sized boxes. Toss a few light-weight balls inside the bag/box and watch them go to town!