Tips for Keeping Your Cat Moving

Learn ways to keep your cat moving and happy.

Obesity is an epidemic among our pets. For cats that stay inside most of the time, it's hard to keep them active and keep trim. But overweight cats are much more likely to succumb to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems.

People sometimes wonder how to keep their cat moving. It seems like a more straightforward proposition for dogs. But luckily, there are some ways you can engage your cat in physical activity and help him stay at a good, healthy weight.

Use Interactive Play Daily

Cats are predator animals, so they are highly interested in stalking, chasing, and pouncing on prey. You can use that to your advantage when you're trying to get your cat moving. Invest in some good quality wand toys and use them to simulate prey for your cat to chase and pounce on. Get rodent toys and use them to act like mice for your cat to chase. Your cat can be taught to play fetch like a dog, and that can help keep him active. You can even get automatic cat toys that come on at intervals to interest your cat and keep him busy when you aren't home.

Build a Great Scratching Environment for Your Cat

Another innate behavior in cats is scratching. They do it to relieve stress and mark their territory, but it's also good exercise. Get several different scratching posts of differing heights and place them around your home. Be sure to put a tall one by a window so your cat can watch what goes on outside. If you choose good quality, solid, sisal fabric-covered posts, your cat will absolutely love them, and he will race around, scratching and climbing, and get great exercise every day.

Make Mealtimes a Hunt

Since cats are natural hunters, placing their food in a bowl means they aren't expending any calories to get fed. In the wild, of course, they would be using a lot of energy to catch prey and eat. You can help alleviate this problem by hiding your cat's daily food allotment around your house in small bowls or by using a puzzle toy that your kitty will have to work at to get the kibble to come out of. Not only will this help your cat use up calories at mealtime, but it will also provide mental enrichment and fight stress and boredom.

Teach Your Cat to Walk Outside

Some cats can be trained to walk on a harness and leash so they can be walked safely outside. Start slowly by putting the harness on inside the house and letting your cat get used to it under supervision. Give lots of praise when he tolerates the harness. As time goes on, you can venture outside. Be sure you're giving your cat all your attention while you're out there, so you can respond quickly if any kind of dangerous situation comes up. You can learn detailed instructions for how to train your cat to walk on a leash including safety considerations here: "How to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash."

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.