Gateway Gazette

Feline Exercise

There are long standing arguments between cat and dog lovers about which is more intelligent and which makes a better pet. No matter where you stand on that topic, you will have to admit that most dogs tolerate leashed walks better than cats. So, how can you exercise your indoor cat?

Cats are hunters in the wild so consider how to allow your cat to hunt or play with its food and use your imagination. The kids will even get into this game!

Hunting for food

  • Hide your cat’s ration around the house – this could be small bowls hid around the house or individual kibble hidden (this won’t work well if you also have a dog who might beat the cat to the food!). Your cat will learn to patrol the house looking for food.
  • Once your cat is conditioned to associate a specific noise with food (the rattle of the treat container, the rustle of the packaging or an electric can opener…) use that noise to your advantage. Go as far as away as possible from your cat, make the noise, and when your cat arrives, give 1 treat. Repeat!
  • There are great food toys to make your pet work for their food and get a little exercise as well: Pipolino, Multivet slim cat, Egg-cersizer, Catit treat maze, Aikiou Stimulo food center. You can DIY by cutting holes in yogurt or plastic pop bottles. If you do so, be sure the holes are smooth and large enough that your cat doesn’t get its paw stuck.
  • Activities based on prey instincts

Things that move (like prey)

  • Laser pointers
  • ‘Chase the mouse’ computer games – there are many free games out there!
  • Tie a string to your cat’s favourite toy and get it moving

Backyard enclosures

Screened in enclosures in the backyard allow your cat to stay safe while getting some exercise and fresh air.

Additional Resources:

Source: Alberta Veterinary Medical Association

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