Some top tips on how to get started with creating your cats exercise programme
A successful exercise programme requires consistency. You need to dedicate specific times to exercise your cat. It is a good idea to have these sessions at the same time every day. This way you will start incorporating these sessions into your daily exercise routine.
- At least two sessions a day
- At least 15 minutes per session
- Consistent timing of session
Try and raise your cat’s activity levels at least twice throughout the day. As well as increasing their heart rate you will be increasing their metabolism, particularly important if they need to lose weight.
Most owners pick specific times for these play sessions such as first thing in a morning and when they return home from work. This consistency is important since your cat will learn to look forward to your arrival and be more eager to engage in play activity. Some people find a third session useful just before bedtime, especially to tire out nocturnal cats and allow owners a better night’s sleep!
Be sure to put all toys away after you have finished playing with your cat. String and other linear materials can be very dangerous if chewed since they can get caught in the small intestine. This is extremely important with kittens since they have a tendency to chew anything and everything!
More Than one Hunter
In multi-cat households there may be a dominant cat who takes over play sessions. To ensure that all cats are getting exercised is may be necessary to hold separate play times. Once all cats have gained confidence in the sessions then it may be possible to play with the cats together. Having different toys in each hand can allow you to engage more than one cat at a time and reduce aggression and risk of injury.
You must allow your cat to have some good captures of the prey throughout the exercise. This will provide them with a great reward and help to hold their interest. Keeping a toy out of reach all the time can be very frustrating for your cat.
As the play time nears to an end, the prey may begin to slow as it becomes exhausted or injured. Allow your cat to finish on a capture. You can then reward them with praise or a treat and then remove the toy from sight and smell. Don’t leave the toy around since they will become used to this and won’t be interested in chasing it during the next play session.
Using Play to Strengthen Bonds
Unfortunately cats in today’s society are often left to their own devices for long periods of time. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as long working hours, busy social lives and arrival of babies!! Neglected cats often become independent and reduce the amount of affection they show towards their owners or other people. Behavioural problems arise, often born out of stress, frustration and boredom.
Playtime with your cat is a great way of strengthening the bond between you both. Just a few minutes out of your day can be an invaluable way of improving your cat’s health both mentally and physically.