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How to Exercise a Cat

Learn ways to get your cat to exercise more.

Does your cat need more exercise? If he is overweight, is exhibiting behavior problems related to boredom or stress, or is simply a couch potato in need of more movement, it might be a priority to figure out an exercise plan for him. It's not necessarily as easy to exercise a cat as it is a dog, so we've gathered some ideas for you here.

Interactive Play

Play is a great way to get exercise, and cats love to play games that have them behaving like a predator chasing prey. That means wand toys that you can make act like birds and chase toys that can act like rodents. Just make sure that, rather than staying in one spot with the wand toys, you move around, making your cat follow you for some extra calorie-burning.

You can also consider an automatic toy with a "play while you are away" feature. These toys come on by themselves at random intervals throughout the day, encouraging your cat to get up from his nap and have a romp.

Leash Walks

This one is a little tricky and might not be something you can do immediately if your cat isn't used to it. There are also safety considerations you must keep in mind. But, if you do all of that and your cat enjoys it, leash walks can be a great way for your cat to get exercise and fresh air.

You will first need to teach your cat to tolerate wearing a harness and leash. Don't rely on a collar, which your cat could slip out of; use a harness and make sure you know how to put it on properly. At first, put the harness on for short times, giving your cat treats and praise when he is calm. Once he's used to the harness, you can attach the leash and let him walk around inside with it on.

Before you go outside with your cat, make sure he's wearing ID tags with your current contact information on it. This is just in case the worst should happen and he should somehow get away from you.

When you're ready to go outside, make sure you have a good hold on the leash. While walking outside with your cat, you need to remain diligent at all times, so you can react immediately if your cat tries to get away from you for some reason. Leave your cell phone in the house and enjoy the time with your cat.

We recommend staying in your yard when leash walking your cat. Be sure you know which plants are there, and don't let your cat munch on anything toxic.

Hide the Food

Breaking up your cat's daily food into several smaller portions and hiding them around the house for your cat to "hunt" every day is not only good for physical exercise, but it's also great for his emotional well-being. You can try these Go Cat Go Play n Treat Balls, too; they allow a cat to chase, pounce, and get some food out, just as though they were hunting. Remember, cats are hunters at heart, so they can get bored and stressed if they don't have an outlet for that type of behavior.

Cardboard Boxes Are Super Fun for Cats

If you've ever gotten a delivery and left the box out for a while, you've undoubtedly noticed that your cat loved to jump in and check it out. Use this to your advantage to get your kitty some exercise. Find a large cardboard box and throw a ball into it. That will create a cat-sized, ice-free hockey rink. Your cat can bat the ball around and let it fly into the sides of the box, making it move around in unpredictable patterns; an irresistible thing for a cat.

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.