Feline fun – helping your cat to stay active

Vets have seen a huge increase in the number of overweight pets in the last two years. Overweight pets have an increased risk of health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and also have a reduced life expectancy.

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PDSA Vet Vicki Larkham advises: “Helping your pet to maintain a healthy size and weight is an important part of being a responsible owner. With dogs this is fairly easy as we are in control of all their food and walks, but with cats it can be a little more challenging!”

A healthy diet is of course important, but regular activity is also vital for your cat. Providing activities that are fun and stimulating will help to keep your cat in shape, both physically and mentally.

Outdoor cats will likely get plenty of opportunities to run and play, but for indoor cats it can take a little more effort to ensure they get enough exercise. However, all cats will benefit from some environmental enrichment, so Vicki has prepared some top tips for feline fun!

Pounce and play: cats love to play, and toys that encourage them to act out their natural hunting instincts are ideal. Toys that move quickly and unpredictably are great, and fishing rod-type toys are perfect for encouraging your kitty to chase and pounce. Just make sure the toys are good quality and won’t fall apart easily!

Food for thought: if your cat is very food motivated you could try getting a toy which requires them to work for their dinner. Toys that you can hide food in, or that encourage them to chase or ‘bat’ with their paws are all great for increasing activity, as well as providing mental stimulation.

Vertical reach: cats often feel safest when they are high up – peering down at you from on high! A cat climber is ideal, or a comfy bed placed safely and securely on a shelf or wardrobe.

Perfect manicure: Keeping claws conditioned is vital, and for indoor cats a suitable scratching post is a necessity. It must be tall enough for the cat to stretch fully upright, and heavy enough at the bottom to hold the cat’s full weight without falling over. If it isn’t stable enough your cat may decide to use your furniture instead!

Cheap and creative: You don’t always need to splash out on toys and expensive items. Home-made toys such as tubes, paper, and of course boxes, are all free and can provide hours of fun. Just make sure they are safe for your cat to play with.

Making time for daily play with your cat you will help them to stay healthy, as well as strengthening the bond between you.