If you think your cat is lazy, think again! All that lounging around may look like they’re not doing much, but those lazy cats are actually quite active. In the wild, cats spend a good amount of their day hunting and stalking their prey. Now, your indoor cat may not have the same opportunity to “hunt” as their wild counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need the exercise.
Unlike dogs, indoor cats often don’t have the opportunity to burn off energy outside. The best way to get your cat moving is through play. By engaging in interactive playtime with your cat, you can help them burn off some of that excess energy.
Playing has many advantages such as keeping their reflexes strong, preventing overweight, and supporting muscle and joint health. Providing them with mental stimulation, play processes also strengthen their bonds with people.
Although many cats are eager to play, this may not be the case for all cats. Not sure how to get started? Here are some tips on how to exercise your cat through play:
Find the right toys
When it comes to cat toys, there is no one-size-fits-all. Some cats prefer to chase after toy balls, while others like to swat at feathery wand toys. It may take some trial and error to find the type of toy your cat likes to play with the most.
Make it interactive
The key to successful playtime is to make it interactive. That means you need to get involved, too! Use the toy to tease your cat and get them to chase after it. If you’re using a wand toy, make sure to keep it moving so they can’t predict where it’s going to go next. 🙂
Keep Play Sessions Short and Observe Your Cat
For cats that are not very playful, many variables may need to be considered to encourage movement. Keeping play sessions short and repeating them several times during the day will help to make the experience enjoyable for them. For kittens and young cats, it is recommended to schedule 5-10 minute play sessions 7-10 times a day. However, it is important to keep in mind that cats can also get bored and lose interest. When cats lose interest, they clearly express their feelings through their behavior. The game should be stopped when they close themselves off from the interaction, otherwise it can become a boring experience for them, which is the opposite of our goal.
Boost your game session by combining it with rewards
Reward is the most effective method of training cats. The quality of rewards as part of positive reinforcement can vary, but there is no denying that the most successful reward mechanism is DELICIOUS TREATS. Introducing cats to treats after play sessions is an excellent way to end the positive experience. The important factor to be aware of is not to overfeed the treats. They can be high in calories and, if consumed uncontrolled, can lead to weight gain and even obesity.
Safety Should Not Be Neglected in Games
Although the best quality toys are preferred for cats, various factors should be considered to ensure safety. Inspect the toys periodically for torn parts, and clean soiled ones if they have been torn apart. Cats may prefer to play with potentially dangerous objects if they are not given the right items to play with. For this reason, it is important to make sure that there are no alternatives such as yarn, small pieces of furniture, etc. In the event that they swallow a foreign body accidentally, they should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
End on a good note: When it’s time to end playtime, make sure to do it in a way that doesn’t leave your cat feeling frustrated. For example, if you’re using a wand toy, let them “catch” the toy a few times before you put it away. This will help them feel like they’ve had a successful hunt and prevent them from feeling like they didn’t get to finish what they started. With a little patience and the right toys, you can help your cat get the exercise they need through play.
With a little patience and the right toys, you can help your cat get the exercise they need through play 🙂.