Cats Need Daily Exercise Too - Here’s Why!

September 17, 2022
Amber LaRock - LVT & Vetted Vet Pro

Indoor cats are prone to falling into a sedentary lifestyle. This is especially true as the years go by, as they may lose parts of their once adventurous and inquisitive selves. Exercise is essential for our cats to live a long and healthy life, so it’s up to us to encourage them to get up and moving. 

Our team at Vetted wants you to have as many years as possible with your little one at your side, so let’s discuss the importance of exercise for cats and the best ways to offer it to them!

Do Indoor Cats Need Exercise?

Exercise is just as important to our cats as it is to us. Most indoor cats need anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day, and the intensity of this exercise can vary based on their age and current fitness level. 

Our cats are natural hunters, so their daily habits should cater to their wild roots in some form. For example, most wild cats will have short hunting sessions once they lock their eyes on their prey, so breaking their daily exercise into multiple short play sessions is natural for our little ones. 

Exercise offers both physical and mental benefits to the cats in our family, as being active is part of who they are. They may not be the wild predators they once were, but they still enjoy any opportunity to tap into those ancestral instincts. 

To make sure you feel empowered about your cat’s physical activity moving forward, let’s discuss some of the most important reasons why cats need daily exercise below!

Exercise Can Prevent Obesity In Cats

It’s estimated that up to 59% of cats throughout the United States are overweight. This is likely due to the sedentary lifestyle many indoor cats fall into, as many pet parents just aren’t aware of how important it is for them to stay active. An overweight cat will struggle with many obstacles they face each day, as their excess fat makes it much more challenging to live a full life. 

An overweight cat is not only more uncomfortable than their fit friends each day, but they are also much more at risk of developing underlying health conditions. Obesity in cats has been linked to diabetes, urinary disease, constipation, joint disease, and many types of cancer. Exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing these conditions, which will ultimately prolong your little one’s life. 

If you are unsure as to whether or not your cat is overweight, you can always reach out to our Vetted Vet Pros on the Vetted app. A Vetted membership gives you 24/7 access to our pet health chat, where you can ask everything you need to know about your cat’s current weight status. We can also help to guide you on how to pave the way for a healthier feline future moving forward!

Exercise Can Promote Joint Health In Cats

Many pet parents have been led to believe that dogs are the only ones that can suffer from joint disease, but that is simply untrue! Anywhere from 60-90% of cats will be impacted by arthritis as they reach their senior years, and being overweight will only increase these odds. Excess weight can put additional stress on your cat’s joints each day, leading to the increased breakdown of their joints over time. 

A sedentary cat is also more likely to be overweight, and these cats will often be less interested in physical exercise on their own. This means they will typically have more muscle breakdown and less flexibility, and these factors will only lead to more joint breakdown in the future. Keeping your little one active can prevent weight gain, promote muscle strength, improve flexibility, and ultimately improve their joint health. 

Exercise Can Reduce Anxiety & Depression In Cats

It’s believed that up to 40% of cats suffer from depression due to lack of stimulation and exercise. Cats are natural born predators, so they will suffer mentally when they do not engage in some form of stimulating exercise. Depression in cats will only cause them to be less interested in the world around them, and this will only further exacerbate this vicious cycle. 

Exercise Can Help You & Your Cat Bond

When you take the time to engage in some form of play with your cat each day, this will naturally strengthen your bond. Cats know who is dedicating their time and energy to their well-being, and your little one will reward you with a beautiful friendship. There is nothing better than spending time with your beloved pet, and daily exercise is a wonderful way to do just that. 

How Do I Exercise My Indoor Cat?

Now that you know just how important exercise is for your little one, let’s list a few of our favorite ways to exercise your indoor cat below!

  • Using some form of wand toy and encouraging them to chase it. This can be a stick with an attached ribbon, mouse, feather, or any other object your cat likes to play with. Most cats will engage with this until they tire out, so we encourage you to run around the house and make it fun!
  • Encouraging them to climb during their play time. You can do this by offering them a cat tree or cat blocks and simply making this a part of your play area. You can move their wand toy up into the climbing obstacle, throw their toys up into the obstacle, and any other method that gets them up and climbing. 
  • Taking them for a walk. You may be surprised to learn that many cats enjoy going on walks with their owners once they are accustomed to the harness. Even a short walk around your neighborhood can be a blast for your little one. Just make sure they are fully protected with their annual vaccines and flea and tick prevention for cats. 
  • Using cat towers and tunnels. There is nothing a cat loves more than chasing their favorite wand toy through a tunnel. This can keep a cat entertained for hours, and many cats even love their tunnels so much that they will rest in them as well. 
  • Throwing a ball or crinkle ball into the bathtub. While this might sound odd, the bathtub makes for the perfect slippery surface when chasing a fun toy. 

Every cat will have varying interests, so we encourage you to figure out what your cat enjoys best. As long as it encourages them to move around and taps into their natural instincts, it is likely a wonderful exercise option!

Final Thoughts

Our beloved cats are our world, so we want to do everything possible to keep them healthy and happy for the years to come! Exercise is a wonderful way to prolong your cat’s life and support their health moving forward, so we encourage you to try out these exercise options with your little one. 

Our team at vetted wants to make sure you have all the information when it comes to your cat’s well-being, so you can always reach out to our Vetted Vet Pros if you have any questions about their current weight or exercise routine. We are here 24/7 to offer you peace of mind and skilled guidance!