Now that summer is coming to a close, it’s time to to get back into your regular fitness regimen. With the help of the stunning Oriental, Kaze, our friends at Pets.com have some fitness tips to share with you and your cat.
Help Your Cat Get Fit With Kitty Calisthenics
Is your tabby getting thick in the midsection? Are chewing and swallowing her only exercises?
A cat’s sedentary lifestyle can often result in obesity, a condition which can lead to hip, back, shoulder or knee injuries, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and heat stroke.
Apart from limiting your cat’s food intake, what else can you do to combat this problem? The answer is a simple one: kick your cat’s activity level up a notch by having her exercise on a daily basis.
Exercise? A cat? Sure. But not in the same way you might a dog. Your cat is a more independent creature, and must be motivated in different ways if she is to raise her level of activity.
Food is an effective motivator for teaching new behavior to a cat. Small treats can be used to get her moving. To raise your cat’s food drive, put her on a regular feeding schedule instead of free feeding or leaving food down all day. Doing so will program your cat to be hungry at specific times, a key in teaching her any new behavior.
So you’ve put your cat on a regular feeding schedule, and she’s famished at dinner time. What next? Put her hunger to work. The following are ways to get your cat moving prior to dinner time:
Get your cat to climb a flight or more of stairs several times each week by sporadically relocating her food dish. Place her meal at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs, depending on your home’s layout. To get to it, she must climb or descend. If she has trouble locating her dish, try moving it up just a few steps at first, eventually placing it as far away as possible.
Random Placement of Treats
Leave small treats in various locations around the home to condition her to explore more. Put one atop the fridge, one beneath the sofa and another beside your television. Eventually, searching will become a regular calorie-burning activity for her.
The Recall or ”Come”
Have you ever owned a cat who would rush to the kitchen upon hearing the whir of an electric can opener? Without knowing it, your cat had learned to come on cue. To teach your cat to ”Come,” try this:
Buy a child’s “clicker” toy or a clicker pet training tool. Next, with her close by, place her dinner down immediately after clicking the toy several times. Do this at each meal for two weeks. Then, with the cat in another room, try clicking the toy several times. The cat, now conditioned to think food is coming, should come running. When she does, reward her with a treat. Having her come on command will get her running whenever you want, in hopes of getting food. This of course burns calories.
These next activities use motivators other than food to get your cat moving:
Playing With Toys
Cats love to chase moving objects. You can get your cat moving by enticing her with various toys, including:
- Teaser wands
- Mouse toys
- Balled-up newspaper
- Wind-up toys
- Toys suspended from a string
The object is to keep your cat moving for at least 10 minutes. Have these sessions several times each day for best results.
A great way to keep a cat active during the day is to provide her with company – like another cat. A willing feline partner will encourage play and stimulate her mind. They will romp and chase each other, keeping activity levels high.
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Kaze of The Cats P]
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