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I Try 5 Workout Moves Based on the Behaviors of My Cats

Forget the gym, it's all about replicating the toy reach, counter stretch, and litter-box kick.

Angie Bailey  |  Aug 18th 2016


My cats stay pretty active. Cosmo and Phoebe engage each other in play, they occasionally go solo, and other times I whip out the toys and we have a group play date. In whatever way they frolic, their bodies are on the move and they sometimes burn crazy calories.

I’m always looking to up my game when it comes to exercise. Wait a minute … did I just type that? It’s a huge lie. I’m not really looking to up my game — I just wanted to impress you. Are you impressed? No, I wouldn’t be either. It’s not that I’m inactive. Really. I love taking walks and try to get my daily yoga on. See? I’m not a total slug. Cats, though — look at cats. A lot of their daily play involves exercise. Maybe they’re onto something. Basic play = a workout. I thought I’d give it a try. Here are five ways I mimicked my cats’ behaviors in the name of “exercise.”

1. The cat tree “climb”

Don't be afraid to branch off from the normal exercise routine!

Don’t be afraid to branch off from the normal exercise routine.

Phoebe dashes up the cat tree, and that kitty is quick! Although the tree is sturdy, I wasn’t about to really climb the thing … well, not unless I’d had a few drinks, in which case I definitely shouldn’t be tree-climbing. I could, however, do this repetitive reach-y thing with my arms (while completely sober). If I move up and down the tree enough times, I could burn some calories. I’m sure of it.

Thanks, cats!

2. The toy reach

Slide and reach. Repeat.

Slide and reach. Repeat.

This is the lazy cats’ exercise, so it’s kind of perfect for me. I sometimes see them stretched out on the floor, but then they spot a shiny toy. Rather than get up and walk over to the toy’s location, they stretch and occasionally slide across the floor to reach the target. I tried this, including the sliding (sorry, no video), and felt surprisingly toned afterward. Who knew?

Thanks, cats!

3. The counter stretch

I asked my cats about exercise and they gave me this counter offer.

I asked my cats about exercise, and they gave me this counter offer.

How often do your cats stretch toward the countertop? Mine love to do that, especially if I’m preparing their food bowls or doing some other interesting food-related task. I’ll tell ya, they look like they’re getting one hell of a stretch when they pull out that move. I re-created the stretch, but then added a pull-up. My biceps are gonna be ripped. I can’t wait.

Thanks, cats!

4. The litter box kick

You HAVE to kick BESIDE the litter box or it's not legit.

You HAVE to kick BESIDE the litter box or it’s not legit.

Cats get a little kicky in the litter box. I’d say some kitties who do the never-ending digging thing get quite a workout. I know leg kicks are part of some humans’ exercise routines, but do these people do it beside a litter box? Probably not. To achieve the true feline flow, I recommend you park yourself right by the box and start kicking. Your cat may or may not join you — the upside is that you’d have a workout partner. The downside? The possible smell if he or she drops a number two.

Thanks, cats!

5. The wand wiggle

Better than one of those full-body workout machines!

Better than one of those full-body workout machines!

I know my cats get super active when I break out the wand toys, especially the one with feathers dangling from the end. They jump, roll, run, and swat like crazy! This seemed like the ultimate workout, so I had to give it a try. I recruited a friend to come over and dangle the toy for me. Have I mentioned I have the best friends who will do any weird thing I ask them to … and without even a question? Well, I do. So she teased me with the toy and I went for it. I cut loose and let my inner cat take over. I can honestly tell you that the “wand wiggle” is full-on action. It’s like having a personal trainer! You might as well cancel that gym membership and use the money to buy cat toys.

Thanks, cats!

What workout moves could you “borrow” from your cat? Tell us in the comments!