I've got one cat that could use a little extra cardio but won't necessarily run around. What else can I do?
There are lots of things you can do to get a cat to exercise a bit more than it usually does! Here's some suggestions!
- Catnip or honeysuckle toys: The cat could get hyper from them and will play with them more than normal toys. Make sure you supervise and don't leave the toys out while you're gone. Make sure that you change out the toys frequently as well.
- A wide array of toys: Not every cat likes every toy. I know my cat will sometimes give me the "you're kidding me, right?" look if I give her a toy that she hates.
- Play with her: You can tie a string to a doorknob and she'll enjoy it for a few minutes, or you can hide behind a wall wiggling a string around the corner and she'll be entertained for ages.
- A wide array of TYPES of toys: She doesn't like strings? Maybe she'll like laser pointers! Doesn't like chasing mice when you throw them? Maybe she'll like mice when they're wind up!
- Use her loves to your advantage: My cat is diabetic and a food lover. She a bit on the porky side, so I got a treat puzzle for her and put a few in. She'll chase it around the living room for ages until all the treats are out. We also got her a feeder that has little stick like objects in it, so she has to figure out how to move the treat or food piece to the edge of the feeder to actually get it. (warning: she might get discouraged the first few times she tries it. Daphne slammed her face into the sticks several times before we had to show her. She loves it now).
- Chase her!: Our other cat is a bit lazy, and so we'll chase her around corners, and let her chase us.
Some tips on this though:
- Make sure you respect your cat's boundaries. If she gets tired out, don't force her to continue playing. She'll just get upset, frustrated, and discouraged.
- Make sure you stay in tune with your cat's likes. She might really enjoy climbing, so get her a tree. If she likes chasing things, get things for her to chase. If she likes jumping, throw toys in the air over her and have her jump for them.
- Remember that you'll need to work with her and give her plenty of pets and massage when she does exercise.
- Try to limit the amount of treats you give her when she does something you like. There are many things that cats like for positive reinforcement, such as pets, massage, "what a good kitty"'s, holding her, etc.