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How to get your cat to exercise indoors

Indoor cat playing with toys advice

How to keep your indoor cat active

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Exercising a cat indoors is important in helping your feline friend stay active even if they are an indoor cat or only tend to go outside occasionally.

By Zoë Monk

Ensuring they get plenty of exercise alongside having a healthy diet ensures their ongoing health and happiness while also helping to keep them mentally stimulated.

Most cats in the UK have access to the outside world, where they can get a good amount of exercise. Whether it’s stalking their prey and jumping up garden fences, they can get all the exercise they need to be fit and healthy. However, around 10% of cats are kept indoors, so the responsibility falls on their owners to ensure they get the exercise they need.

Exercising a cat indoors doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of ways you can help get your cat moving and encourage your cat to be as active as possible.

What is a good way to help a cat get rid of excess energy?

While it’s important to play with your cat as much as you can, it’s even more so if your cat is an indoor feline. As your cat doesn’t have access to the outdoors to chase and hunt, they don’t get the chance to use their natural behaviours and exercise their hunting instincts. But when you play with them, they can get it out of their system, get the exercise they need and be less likely to claw your sofa.

Cats tend to chase and hunt in short bursts, so focus on playing with them for five to ten minutes per session. It’s also a good idea to regularly swap your cat’s toys to keep things interesting for them. You can then feed them straight after a play session so they feel that they’ve worked for their food.

How can you use toys to get your cat moving?

Exercising a cat indoors needs to be fun for them and the best way to give your cat a workout is through toys. Cat toys don’t have to be expensive. Even everyday objects such as balled-up pipe cleaners or ping pong balls can do the trick. Simply rolling a cat-friendly ball across the floor is a great way to encourage them to be active.

They will love to run, chase and pounce on the ball, just make sure it’s not too small that they could swallow it. Feathers on a stick enable you to have close interaction with your cat and they can pretend they are hunting small preys. 

To get your cat really moving, use a laser pointer and watch as your cat darts around the room chasing the light beam. Just make sure that whatever toys you give your cat to play with, they are designed for cats.

Can you exercise a cat indoors with a scratching post?

Any cat owner will know that cats love to scratch. They need to do it to keep their claws in good condition and it also provides them with some gentle exercise. For indoor cats, they will likely need extra scratching options around the home to satisfy their need to scratch, while also saving your carpet and furniture from their claws.

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There are lots of different cat scratchers available offering different surfaces for your cat to scratch. For instance, cardboard, sisal, carpet and wood. If you give your cat a scratching post, make sure it’s tall enough that your cat can fully stretch and it’s sturdy enough so they won’t pull it over.

How do cat tower’s help exercise indoor cats?

Multi-levelled cat towers are great for exercising a cat indoors. They give your cat space to play and climb to ensure they get a good workout. You can even place small treats in different parts of their tower to encourage them to play and climb.

Indoor cats enjoy having an elevated space that’s easily accessible, where they can sit. A wide windowsill or shelf is a good example, just make sure it’s safe for them and they can’t come to any harm. Most cats enjoy just watching the world go by from a high spot just as they would out in the wild.

How to get my cat to exercise more using food?

Cat food puzzle feeders enable you to combine exercise and food. They encourage your indoor cat to use their brain and practice their hunting skills and at the end they get a tasty reward. While they are great for exercising a cat indoors, they also can help keep your cat entertained and mentally stimulated. Some owners find them useful to help slow down feeding times if their cats are particularly greedy.

How can we make our inactive cat more active?

Exercise is an important part of ensuring your indoor cat has a healthy lifestyle that’s also fun too. Exercising a cat indoors doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. You just need to make sure you spend quality time playing with your cat, providing them with fun toys and create a stimulating environment for them. Cat playtime is a great way for you to bond with them too as well as keeping your feline friend happy and healthy.