The Benefits of Exercise are More than Just Physical
Fat cats, like all felines, are easy to love. What with their large, round heads, blubbery bellies and adorable waddles. But while fat cats might be cute to look at, inside they’re unhealthy and needy for change. Statistics from the National Pet Obesity Awareness Day study estimate that up to 54 percent of all cats are overweight and a whopping 19 percent of cats have been diagnosed as being overweight by veterinarians. Diet can work wonders, but it’s not always enough. Just as people need exercise, cats, especially ones that are overweight, are in dire need of exercise, which is why implementing a fitness program for kitty can be your absolute best bet in battling the bulge!
Just as exercising and physical activity are important for keeping pet parents healthy, feline fitness has plenty of healthy rewards too. Games like fetch, chase, and catch can help your kitten establish an exercise routine and strengthen the human-feline bond. Regular exercise plays an important part in helping prevent obesity, improving your kitten’s physical condition, teaching them social skills and preventing unwanted behavior.
Without your encouragement and involvement as a pet parent, kittens can become bored and might stop taking the initiative to play as they grow older. And, contrary to popular belief, cats don’t necessarily get all the exercise they need by playing alone.
Here’s what you should know when having fun with your pet:
Playing with Toys
Your kitten will be a ball of energy during the first few months, and their activity can usually be categorized into two types of play: object play and social play. Object play is usually predatory in nature, and to your kitten, each toy is something to be stalked and captured.
Kittens love to stalk, chase and pounce, and a two-week-old kitten already has the natural desire to play like a predator. With this being so, it’s important that you make play a part of your little one’s life from the very beginning. Many toys are interactive and let you and your kitten play together. Some interactive favorites include toy fishing poles, catnip toys, laser pointers, Mylar balls, toy mice, stuffed animals and feathered strings.
Kittens are rambunctious wrestlers, and at three to four weeks old, they start to grapple with their littermates through social play. Although it sometimes looks rough and uncomfortable, your kitten is learning from these interactions.
Kittens learn from each other when pouncing and playing together, and this is especially true when instilling certain social behaviors. Play is essential to a kitten’s well being, and when they’re taken away from their littermates too soon, they may not learn important social lessons through natural play.
The role you play as a pet parent is crucial because when you bring your kitty home, you become the new playmate. It’s important that you keep your feline engaged and entertained.
Take the Feline Fitness Challenge
Does your cat spend too much time napping? Is her sole source of exercise the trip from the sofa to the food bowl? Has she gone from a slender, sinewy feline to a chunky monkey? Then maybe you and your furry couch potato should take the Feline Fitness Challenge. Read on for four fun ways to encourage your kitty to get some physical activity.
- Cat Daycare
Leaving your cat home alone may prevent escape, but it would be difficult to guarantee their health and safety. Stimulation and enrichment may prevent your cat from expressing their frustration by scratching your furniture and belongings. K9 Club’s Cat Daycare Service provides constant supervision so you can be sure your cat isn’t making a mess, being mischievous or even falling ill. It’s even more beneficial to have your cat’s behavior and eating habits monitored to make sure they are happy and receive proper care.
- Catching and Fetching
While your kitten probably won’t play in the big leagues, it’s fun to play a rousing game of catch, and with a little training, it may become your favorite game too.As with chase, start by getting their attention. Throw a small ball or toy mouse to your cat and encourage your cat to grab it. As they learn this game, you can make it more exciting by increasing the distance between you and your little catcher.Eventually, your cat may even return the toy to you. Don’t be disappointed if your kitty doesn’t like retrieving. Sometimes cats like to make the game hard by running off with the toy.
Kittens are natural stalkers, so you’ve probably already discovered that your kitty loves chasing toys around. If not, start by showing your kitten a small ball or toy mouse. When you’re sure you have their attention, tease them with the toy until they start to bat or grab at it. Then simply throw the toy and watch the chase begin.
It may not be for every feline, but by starting young you can actually teach your cat to walk on a leash. First, let your cat get used to wearing a collar around the house for a few days, and then introduce the leash and/or harness when the time feels right. Make sure that the collar is break-away. Try walking short distances at first. Around the house, for a few minutes, each day is a good start. Eventually, your cat might start to acclimate to this walking routine. Some cats prefer a harness to a collar and find harnesses more comfortable. If your kitten decides a leash or harness is acceptable, you can gradually work your way up to a daily 10-minute walk around your yard or neighborhood. Be sure to stay inside if the weather is extreme. If it’s too hot, your kitten risks heat stroke, and if it’s too cold, your cat could get hypothermia. Don’t be disappointed if your cat doesn’t take walking in stride. Many cats express their opinions about leashed walks by collapsing in a motionless heap. If you can’t sell your kitty on the joy of walks, you could also try a zippered pet stroller for cats.
- Consider a Playmate
One of the best activities for your kitten is playing with a littermate. There’s nothing a feline enjoys more than a frisky chase through the house. If your family can handle it, consider adopting two kittens. They’ll be great companions who will likely play together. But don’t expect your kittens to satisfy their exercise requirements without help from you. Two kittens may be double the fun, but they can also be double the work.
Need Help with Providing Safe Indoor Exercise?
It goes without saying that kittens are natural athletes. They have limitless energy and their activity is non-stop. The key is to sustain that energy through adulthood by maintaining a regular routine of play along with proper nutrition. K9 Club offers cat daycare and cat boarding that will provide your feline with an array of amenities focusing on her health and wellbeing.
Our amenities include:
- Cat Exercise Wheel
- Proven to not only enhance the physical well-being of our cats but altered their disposition to be more relaxed and calm
- Cat TV