Cat Exercise: How to Achieve the Ideal Weight

cat playing with a toy

Find out what stirs your cat's hunting instinct to ensure more activity in day-to-day life.

With just a few too many well-intentioned treats and too little playtime, your cat can soon start to gain weight. This raises the question: isn’t there a way for cats to exercise too? Luckily, with our five exercises for feline fitness, you can get your cat moving and help them shed those extra kilos.

Why are exercises for cats important?

It is estimated that around half of all cats are overweight. This is especially true for indoor cats who may not get enough exercise.

However, being overweight is not something to be taken lightly as it can lead to serious health consequences. If you suspect your cat is carrying extra weight, it’s important to speak to a vet. Together, you can plan a diet and exercise routine tailored to your cat’s needs.

Exercise to reach an ideal weight

In order for cats to lose weight and return to their ideal weight, changes in their diet and exercise routine are necessary. While modifying their diet is crucial, exercise is equally important to ensure that cats can lose weight safely and effectively.

Interestingly, exercise is a natural instinct for cats. Their ancestors were skilled hunters and had to work hard to find their food. However, modern indoor cats often lead a sedentary lifestyle and are frequently showered with love and treats.

Fortunately, with patience and the right approach, even the most pampered indoor cats can be encouraged to engage in exercise. As you and your cat begin to exercise more regularly, you may find that it becomes an enjoyable activity for both of you.

Sport for cats: 5 activity ideas

While cat exercise may not be comparable to human sports, the benefits of physical activity remain the same. Regular exercise can improve feline fitness and prevent weight gain. In the following section, we will share five exercise ideas to help you incorporate more physical activity into your cat’s daily routine. Additionally, there are countless other activity ideas to explore for your cat’s wellbeing.

Exercise no. 1: For couch potatoes

As a cat owner, you are likely aware that toys can encourage your cat to move and play. However, it’s important to actively engage with your cat during playtime rather than simply dangling toys in front of them.

Consider how cats behave in the wild: just like real prey, toys should mimic fleeing movements when your cat approaches, rather than remaining motionless or confronting them. It’s also important to allow your cat to experience success during playtime by letting them catch the toy.

If you have a lazy cat who seems uninterested in traditional toys like danglers or balls, try to pique their curiosity with other objects. For example, table tennis balls, rustling plastic bags, or a crumpled piece of paper in a cardboard box can provide unexpected entertainment for cats.

Exercise no. 2: For foodies

If your cat needs to lose weight, adjusting their food quantities should be a part of their diet plan. For feline foodies who struggle with portion control, food toys can be a great solution.

Food balls or paper bags filled with treats can only be accessed through play and activity, keeping your cat engaged and active while satisfying their hunger. By challenging your cat’s intelligence and natural instincts, you can turn mealtime into an enjoyable and stimulating exercise.

To add even more exercise to your cat’s routine, consider hiding their food in elevated spots around your home. Regularly changing the hiding places will keep your cat engaged and mentally stimulated.

cat playing with an interactive cat toy © zeralein / stock.adobe.com
Toys from which your cat has to extract its own treats also help with weight loss.

Exercise no. 3: For hunters

If your cat has a strong hunting instinct, you can encourage it with simple games that involve chasing and pouncing. One easy game involves shining a light on the wall, under the sofa, on the bed, and back to the floor, allowing your cat to “catch” the light.

A flashlight can be used for this game, or you may consider using a laser pointer. However, it’s important to choose a safe laser pointer to avoid any potential harm to your cat’s eyes. Our guide can help you choose a safe and appropriate laser pointer, which can also be found in our online shop.

Exercise no. 4: For little climbers

If your cat’s joints are in good condition, climbing exercises can be a great way to encourage movement and agility. You can try positioning your cat’s bed in a spot that requires a bit of climbing to get to, or encouraging your cat to climb stairs if you have them.

Another great option is to incorporate a cat tree into your cat’s play sessions. This not only provides a fun and stimulating environment for your cat, but can also be an effective way to reduce weight.

cat standing on the stairs © Andriy Blokhin / stock.adobe.com
If your cat has healthy joints, climbing stairs can help with weight loss.

Exercise no. 5: For creatures of habit

Clicker training and feline agility are great options for cats that are highly motivated and love to learn. Clicker training uses positive reinforcement to teach cats new behaviours or tricks, while feline agility involves setting up an obstacle course for cats to navigate.

Remember to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of exercise to avoid overexertion or injury. With patience and dedication, you can help your cat achieve a healthy weight and enjoy a more fulfilling life.

Further tips for cat sports

  • Avoid overwhelming your cat with an extensive training programme. Instead, plan short exercise sessions several times a day. At the beginning, ten to fifteen minutes are enough, and later on, you can extend the training time. Remember to take enough breaks.
  • Before starting a training programme with your cat, consult your vet to determine how much strain your cat’s joints can handle and which exercises are better to avoid.
  • For successful weight loss, your cat must be motivated and happy to participate in the process. Try out different options to see which cat sport your feline friend enjoys the most.

After cat sports: Don’t forget rewards

After your cat has burned off energy, it will enjoy a post-sport pampering session. You can treat your cat to a long grooming session or a massage to help relax its muscles. By doing this, you can save on treats and calories for your overweight feline.

When it comes to cat sports, patience is key. It’s important not to force your cat into fitness, but to introduce it gradually.

Regular activities and games are the ideal supplement to a cat’s diet, providing new energy and strengthening the bond between you and your feline friend. Above all, cat sports should be fun. Good health and a long, happy feline life are the rewards for perseverance.

Our most helpful articles
6 min

Making your own cat toys: 5 easy and cheap ideas

Cats are putting their hunting instincts into practice when they play. Playing is important and the more diverse the toys, all the better. Five ideas on how you can make your own cat toys – with inexpensive items that can be found in every household.

2 min

Intelligence Toys for Cats – Keeping Cats Occupied

Cats are real-life cuddly toys for many people: they are soft and love close proximity to humans and being indulged. What many cat owners forget though is that their cuddly toys are little wild animals at heart! They are rarely satisfied with and stimulated by life on the couch.