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6 Ways to exercise an indoor cat

Julie Kraut is a freelance writer and the author of Slept Away and Hot Mess. Visit for more.

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?

Exercise tips for indoor cats

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 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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