It’s safest to keep your kitty indoors instead of letting him
roam free outside — but that doesn’t mean you should let him live the
life of a couch potato.
There are plenty of simple and fun ways to
help keep your cat on his toes so he can maintain his mental and
physical fitness, even if he’s inside. Just remember to consult your vet before introducing a new exercise program.
Cats tend to have short
bursts of energy between their snoozes, so be ready to take advantage of
those times. We’ve rounded up five ideas to keep them active in the gallery below.
Get Out Some Toys
Invest in some toys for your cat to chase, like feathers
attached to a stick, “fishing poles,” balls or little “mice” filled with
catnip. Not all cats respond
to catnip, but when they do, it’s a treat to watch. Some toys even allow
your cat to play
when you’re not there, like food puzzles that make him work to
get to the treats. Of course, never leave your cat alone with toys that can be chewed apart or accidentally swallowed.
Provide a Cat Tree
Cat furniture, perching posts and scratching posts provide a place for cats to sharpen those claws and are also fun places for
them to do one of the things they do best: climb.
Get Out the Laser Pointer
Many cats love chasing a laser, and it’s a great way to give
them a workout while tapping into their hunting instinct. You can vary
the speed that the dot moves and entice your cat to run, jump and pounce. The
important thing is to remember to let her “win” by switching toys and letting
your cat catch something, writes
Dr. Marty Becker. Otherwise, the cat may get worked up without ever having
a resolution, since there's nothing actually there when the cat catches the red dot.
Play Hide and Seek
Just like with kids, often the best toys for cats are those
that you can find around the house. Cats can have a ton of fun with a paper
bag and some tissue paper (just remember to cut the handles off the bag so your cat doesn't get his head caught in them). They’ll love both the noise and the potential
for hiding spots.
Take a Walk on a Leash
Your dog might not be the only one who likes going for walks. Some
cats can be trained to walk
on a leash, too. It’s a great way for your feline to explore the outdoors
while avoiding dangers like getting lost, being attacked by a predator or getting hit by a
car. Cats who are calm and easy-going tend to make the best candidates for using a