The Secret to Exercising Every Day? 2 Cats and a New Puppy

cat on counter
Credit: Wendi Aarons
When Lola the cat isn't busy presenting her family with live scorpions, you can usually find her getting into some other form of mischief, often on the (totally off-limits) kitchen counter.

My friend Nancy has a personal trainer she says is amazing. His name is Martin, he’s 30 years old and has a degree in sports medicine. “You should totally give him a call,” Nancy told me recently. “He’ll give you a great workout and he only costs $100 per session.”

“No, thanks,” I replied. “I already have three live-in trainers who keep me in great shape. And they only cost me a bowl of kibble each per session.”

The Fearsome Threesome

I admit my fitness gurus don’t have degrees or professional certifications, but my cats Lola and Virgil, and my new puppy Teddy certainly keep me moving. Sure, the nonstop furfest in my house is kind of crazy-making, but keeping up with my pets has my heart pumping like a pro athlete’s all day long.

My workouts usually begin at 6 a.m., when I take Teddy outside to potty. Since we’re still house training him to not pee indoors, each little outdoor tinkle is met by me jumping up and down like an insane cheerleader to let him know he’s on the right track.

Yes, cardio!

Then comes even more cardio as I chase him around the yard with a poop bag while he searches for the perfect place to do a number two. I’d bet you 10 bucks Nancy doesn’t do that with her trainer Martin. (And if she does, OMG, what is wrong with him?)

After our potty time — which is repeated at least every hour, thank you very much tiny, Poodle bladder — I get even more heart-pounding activity when Lola the cat repeatedly tries to swat Teddy with her paws, sparking a fun chasing game. They frantically race through the house with me in hot pursuit yelling, “Please don’t scratch the wood floors! Oops! Watch out for that vase!” Once you add in the occasional standing high jump to prevent crazed fur balls from slamming into my shins, you’ll know why I have been slimming down lately. (And why I’m tempted to wear my son’s football pads around the house.)

black cat hiding in cupboard
Credit: Wendi Aarons
Virgil the cat has never found a bookcase or cabinet he didn't want to explore. Unfortunately, he has also found very few from which he can independently get down on.

All that is just what happens before 6:30 a.m. Here are other fitness exercises my pets provide as my daily workout:

  • Full stretches from reaching to the top of the bookcase to retrieve Virgil, who jumped up there and now can’t figure out how to get down.
  • Wind sprints through the house as I try to catch Teddy, who is streaking full speed with a roll of toilet paper in his mouth.
  • More wind sprints from chasing Teddy, who now has my bra in his mouth.
  • Leg lifts to get my feet away from Lola, who enjoys attacking me with her claws.
  • Leaps across the kitchen to stop Virgil from jumping on the counter and sticking his face in the butter dish.
  • Dead lifting laundry baskets that contain two sleeping cats.
  • Bicep flexes while struggling to hold Teddy still while we wait for the vet.
  • More bicep flexes while struggling to stop Teddy from kissing the vet.
  • Crunches from popping upright in bed after hearing a cat crash into something in the middle of the night.
  • Planks from reaching under a dresser to get a cat, who has my wedding ring.
  • Downward dog pose checking to see if Teddy has finally fallen asleep in his crate. (He hasn’t.) Another downward dog as I look again to see if he’s nodded off. (He still hasn't.)
  • Jumping jacks to leap away from the live scorpion Lola just carried into the bathroom.
  • Even more wind sprints while trying to catch Teddy, who is again streaking through the house with my bra in his mouth — wrapped in a roll of toilet paper.

It Really is a Workout

dog running with toilet paper
Credit: Wendi Aarons
The only thing Teddy the puppy loves more than running is running with a roll of toilet paper. No accounting for taste!

Now you know why I drink more Gatorade than Peyton Manning. I let my gym membership expire because I don't even need to leave the house to work up a good sweat. Of course, all three of my pets are still fairly young, so I’m guessing/hoping this insane energy level won’t last too much longer.

But that’s OK. I know that the quiet companionship I will eventually get from my peaceful cats and my dog will be good for my health, too. Yep, pretty soon all of us will just spend our days cuddled together on the couch, watching HGTV and chewing on toys.

I’m sure the amazing Martin would never do that with Nancy.

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