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Just for Kids: Exercising Your Cat

By: Virginia Wells

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Everybody needs to exercise. Everybody! And that goes for your kitty, too. Young kittens as well as grown-up cats need to move. Even our older pets needs to get off that couch and do something physical.

Your kitty probably exercises on her own every day. Maybe she dashes through the house, leaping onto chairs and racing through the rooms. Or maybe she attacks your feet as you walk by her hiding place, or jumps across the bed in the middle of the night. Maybe she just stalks the family dog or swats at a pesky fly.

Exercise is important to your cat. It keeps her active physically as well as mentally.
Your kitty can keep you awake at night if she does not receive enough stimulation during the day. A vigorous playtime at night may help you both get some sleep.

Cats on the Move

When kittens play, they are actually learning how to be cats – they learn how to get along with others and how to get along in the world. But they are also exercising their muscles and keeping themselves healthy. Even when they grow up, they still love to play.

Here are a few things you can do with your pet to keep her active:

  • Roll a table-tennis ball across the floor. Sit back and watch as your kitty chases, stalks and swats the ball. This also works with purchased mice, catnip balls and leftover corks.

  • Wad up a piece of paper and attach a piece of ribbon around it so that you can drag the paper around the floor. Soon your cat will launch an attack. Try tying it around your ankle and watch your kitty scurry after you as you walk through the house.

  • Get a tall scratching post, preferably one with "branches," that your cat can run up and down. Scratching posts assist your cat to flex his muscles and to shed old claw sheaths.

  • Provide a large paper bag or cardboard box for your cat to explore. Cut holes in the box and let your kitty climb and peek through the openings.

  • You can also buy elaborate gymnasiums for cats, which your cat might climb and explore.

    Things You Shouldn't Do

  • Never use string or yarn as a toy. This is very dangerous to your cat if she swallows it and a portion becomes stuck around the tongue or in the intestinal tract.

  • Don't put your cat outside for exercise. She is much safer and happier inside the house where she is safe from injury, animals attacks, and the spread of deadly infectious diseases from stray cats.

  • Don't miss a day. Play with your kitty every day. She likes to play for short periods of time, so take a few minutes every so often and give her some attention.

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