5 Ways I Trick My Cats into Exercising


I love my cats dearly, but there’s one thing that drives me crazy about them: they’re L-A-Z-Y! I know, I know, this is the ultimate characteristic of a feline, but when it comes to their health, it’s a problem. All day, every day they sleep and eat. On occasion they will get a sudden burst of energy and chase the other cat, but that only lasts half a minute before they tucker out and fall onto their side for another nap.

I’ve been desperate to get my cats moving and get some exercise, and I’ve tried everything. Here are five ways I get them on their feet.

1. Leash training

When you have a dog, you can lead them on walks each and every day (and they love your more for it). With cats, it’s not so easy. Still, I hook my cats up to a cat leash and take them on guided walks around the apartment building. At first, they’re excited to go, because they’re rarely let out of our small NYC apartment. Soon, however, they catch onto the fact that what they’re participating in is exercise, and they quickly keel over on their sides and make me pick them up and take them back inside.

2. Hiding treats

One thing that motivates my fatties, er, cats, is food. What Ally wouldn’t give for a piece of turkey! While most of the time I set little treats right in front of them, I sometimes will throw them across the room. It sounds mean, but it’s the only time I see them run. They will book it across the apartment when they know food is involved.

3. Toys

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve tried almost every cat toy out there. Not only do I want my cats to feel entertained when I’m not there during the day, but I want them to get some good old fashioned exercise. Unfortunately for me, they aren’t interested in any of them for more than five seconds. So many times I will think I’ve found the perfect toy to pique their interest, and less than a minute later they’re sprawled out for their 10th nap of the day.

4. Bird watching

It’s important to me to give my cats a good view of the outside world, since they rarely get to be part of it. It’s also a sneaky attempt on my part to get them to see birds and want to run from one window to the next in hopes of "catching it." But that hasn’t worked with any of them. Instead, they will perch next to the window and give half-hearted attempts of "barking" at the birds until the birds fly off.

5. The laser pointer

The one and only solution to helping my cats exercise is the laser pointer (well, for two out of the three cats anyway). I start by pointing it right next to where they are so they see it, then I start making quick, wild strides with it. They immediately hop to it and set after finding the source. They even try scaling walls to get to it. One day, though, I know they’ll figure out it’s all a trick engineered by me, and then our whole relationship will crumble.

While my living space is much too small, I’ve always thought a treadmill would be the answer to feline-focused exercise. I see YouTube videos of it being done all the time. It’s the one thing that seems to force cats to keep walking (though I think it should be done in moderation).

What other tricks are out there to get my cats moving around? Let me know in the comments — I need all the help I can get!

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