Exercise Tips
For Indoor Cats

Your indoor kitty has put on some pounds and you know he needs to get some exercise, but you can’t exactly strap a sweatband on your feline and put him on the treadmill. So, how do you work out an indoor cat?

Climbing cat

We talked to several experts to get the scoop on six ways to get your furry indoor friend moving and burning off those extra pounds.


New treats

If you're committing to a healthier lifestyle for your cat, it probably means you're spoiling him less with food treats; that can leave a lot of pet owners feeling guilty about neglecting their pet. But, just because you want your cat to slim down doesn't mean you can give him any special treats. Buy fun toys instead of food treats. Focus on items that will really get your cat moving, like a stringed feather on a pole that your cat will never get tired of swatting at.

2Laser pointer

Dr Justine Lee, veterinary specialist and author of It's a Dog's Life... but It's Your Carpet and It's a Cat's World... You Just Live in It recommends getting a laser pointer to use with your cat. The bouncing light will get even the most sessile of felines up to paw at it.

3Vertical space

Make sure there are safe vertical spaces in your home for your cat to jump on, Jean Hofve, DVM, holistic veterinarian and author of The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care: An Illustrated Handbook suggests. This could be a window sill, set of empty shelves or a cat tree. This way, even when you're not home to play with your kitty, he still has an opportunity to burn some energy by jumping.

4Water and food work-out

If you've got a super lazy cat that does nothing but eat, make that work for you, Lindsay Stordahl, owner of Run That Mutt and blogger at ThatMutt.com suggests. Separate his water and food so that simply moving from one to another burns some calories. Keeping the food and water bowls on different floors would be ideal.

5Food move

This tactic from Dr Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention and author of Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs are Getting Fatter, plays on the same idea as the above, but involves you, the pet owner, a bit more. Move your cat's food during feeding time from a counter to the floor and back again, forcing your feline to jump around during eating. Make it a game for your cat with lots of snuggling rewards when he makes the jump.

6Cheap non-toys

Dr Lee also recommends opening your eyes to non-toys that your pet loves and using those to get his heart pumping. Her cats like to play with paper, boxes and bags. Leave these items around the house in high places where your cat can safely jump to amp the play time into work-out time.

There you go, six ways to get your indoor cat moving, shaking and shimmying back down to a purr-fectly healthy weight.

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Tags: kittens pet exercise pet obesity pet weight loss pet weight management


Comments on "6 Ways to exercise an indoor cat"

Meghan March 23, 2014 | 5:18 PM

There are treat toys that they make for dogs that they have to bat around to get the food out. Has anyone tried using on of these to give their cats their meals at mealtime? Have you had success? I want to try it but am worried it won't work.

Abella December 22, 2013 | 12:01 PM

You know I am very tired of these people who write articles and copy their info from other sites. One time on google is enough. Isn't anyone out there creative at all? The deal is when you have an overweight cat they are not interested in exercise the same way people aren't. None of the above tricks work because the cat will play for 5 seconds if at all. My cat is overweight and has some kind of allergies with slight asthma. She won't play on her own except for gripping and kicking her long catnip toy. What I just started to do today is run her up the steps. I am in back of her and scooting her butt to go up the steps if she stalls I grab her ribs/waist and slightly lift her to make her walk or run up the steps. I do it up say 10 steps then she will run back down on her own then I get her and do it say 3 times. She was slightly huffing after this. She hasn't done anything in so long it was expected. I will start slow like this and then hopefully work up to doing it 9 times in a row in the coming months. Of course her diet has always been healthy/raw at times and very minimal. She is probably only overweight because she won't play. I tried all the da-bird toys, lasers and the like and she just isn't interested. These articles are as generic as the insomnia ones I have read all the time.. They list 10 different things to do and never does the advice help the true insomniac

andy September 09, 2013 | 10:09 AM

totally bogus ( at least in my case) I have 2 cats one "normal" and 1 fat genius cat. so #1 non food treat not interested at all #2 lazer pointer hahaha after about 10 seconds he looks at mu hand figures out I'm making it move and goes to lie down #3 they have run of the house and plenty of vertical, high beds tables cat perch etc etc. #4 foo and water have always been separated no effect #5 might work but (a) i leave for work at 5AM get up feed and go no time for that and (b) I imagine my genius would just not eat after I moved it a time or two and just wait for me to leave. #6 he doesn't want to play ever since his "brother' cane in to the picture when he was 1 yr old he stopped playing with any toys . He almost never gets treats (special occasions)I watch his diet of High quality wet and a bit of dry cause he loves to crunch but he does sneak his brothers food (which is on a table in another room) which we discourage whenever we catch him problem is hes a BIG cat not just fat Vet says normal weigh would be around 18-20lb (hes not a main coon) and hes too smart for the tricks.

Angela August 22, 2013 | 8:01 PM

Laser pointers are not good for their mental health. Since there is nothing they can actually catch at the end, they do feel frustrated.

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