Unlike their human counterparts, cats don’t look in the mirror and vow to lose weight and get in shape.
As cats enter their senior years, they become more sedentary, which makes them more prone to obesity. That, in turn, puts them at risk of serious medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis.
To help your senior cat get moving, try these 5 enticements:
What kind of toys does your cat like?
- Squeaky mice?
- Funky feathers?
- Dangly doodads?
- Twirly tops?
- Boxes or bags to hide in?
- Ping-pong balls?
- Crinkled-up pieces of paper?
As long as the toy interests her (and is safe for cats), she’ll likely play with it.
2. Exercise Wheel or Treadmill
There are exercise wheels made specifically for cats (they look like giant hamster wheels). You can also train your cat to walk/jog/run on a human treadmill, as shown in this hilarious video.
Begin the personal training when your kitty is young, if possible. Start at a slow speed and gradually increase the pace.
3. Cat Towers and Trees
Multi-tiered towers give your kitty lots of options for climbing, jumping, and playing. To encourage movement, place small treats in different parts of the tower (particularly high up).
4. A-Maze-Ing Hockey
Build a DIY hockey rink by putting a ping-pong ball inside a large cardboard box. Or cut holes in a bunch of boxes and create a maze, as in this video. Your cat (and the crowd) will go wild!
5. Take a Walk Outside
There’s lots of fun stuff to smell and explore outdoors, and some cats love to walk with a leash and soft harness. Others, not so much. But training your cat to walk with a leash is doable.
This video demonstrates how to help your cat get accustomed to a harness and shows cat moms (attempting to) walk their cats, with varying success.
We’d love to hear about exercises that work best for your senior kitty.
If you’re not sure which exercises are safe and appropriate, come and visit us. During your cat’s examination, we’ll check for physical constraints or health issues that may limit her ability to do certain exercises. And we’ll help you design an exercise regimen that’s purrrfect for your cat.