Just like people, cats can sometimes find themselves getting a little overweight. In fact, obesity is a huge problem in cats, especially those that spend a lot of time indoors. Just like we wouldn’t get all the exercise we need to stay fit and healthy if we were only walking around our homes, the same is true for our cats. If you have an indoor cat they’ll need planned exercise.
We tend to feed our cats too much and not exercise them enough. Since pet food companies try to make their foods as tasty as possible, most cats love eating, and then there’s the common misconception that if a cat goes off its food it must be sick, and this isn’t always the case.
Cats that are overweight can end up with skin problems since they can’t groom themselves well, they’re at risk of fatty liver syndrome, diabetes and osteoarthritis, and can injure their joints.
For most cats, it’s not a good idea to have a bowl of food at the ready whenever they like. Take the amount of food he would eat each day and divide it into quarters or even smaller portions. Then you can hide it around the house so your cat is forced to go looking. Your cat will get a meal, exercise and brain activity all with one simple change.
Since cats are naturally predators and hunters, it’s a good idea to work with what you’ve already got- their instincts. We’ve all seen cats playing with moving objects, a light on the ground or even a ping pong ball, and this can keep them entertained for hours.
It’s a good idea to invest in some cat toys, since these mimic the way that your cat would hunt if it was stalking a lizard, bug, rabbit, mouse, or bird in the wild. Laser toys are very popular among kitties, and you can sit on the couch and let your cat bounce around the floor after the light.
There are also some excellent scratching posts that double as games for cats. Giving them something they can climb on that has multiple levels like a cat tower or tree is an excellent option since it will let your cat use his muscles, while stretching and pretending he’s a real predator.
There are a lot of realistic cat toys like mice and birds that are sure to entertain your cat. The trick is to use the toy to mimic what your cat would see if he was in the wild. It’s unlikely that a mouse or bird would come right up and wave itself in your cat’s face, and he’s simply likely to be far too smart for that to be any fun.
Instead, move it naturally, placing it a little away from your cat, giving it a nudge, and then moving it quickly when your cat decides to pounce. Every now and then, give your cat a tasty treat in reward if he manages to “catch” the bird, so he associates exercise with fun.