House Cat Calisthenics and other Feline Fun
Looking for ways to keep your cat both fit and entertained? Give some of these ideas a try!
1) Food on High - begin feeding your cat on the top level of his own "cat tree." Climbing uses hind limb muscles and promotes balance.
2) Food to Find - don't simply feed the cat in one location of the house, but place small meals (split between 2 or 3 small bowls) around the house. She'll burn calories before she even has a meal as she changes locations and uses her hunting and exploring skills.
3) Toss the Treat - teach him to run for a tossed treat or dry food nugget, much the way a dog chases a ball. You can also toss treats and toys into boxes so that your kitty must leap and maneuver to get his reward.
4) Tech Toys - purchase a laser light to engage your cat in chase activity that is safer than the classic string toys which can be swallowed when you aren't looking. Try rotating through many different sorts of toys each day (some that jingle, some that look like mice, etc.) to keep things interesting and to stimulate the hunting instinct.
5) Will Work for Food - purchase a feeder such as the Booda Treat Ball or the Stimulo Cat Feeder that makes your cat work for her meal. She'll have to manipulate the toy or reach into a tube to get at her kibble. This will stimulate her brain and her hunting instinct.
6) Scratch my Back - scratch your cat's back such that he'll rise up to meet your hand and bend underneath it. These "squats" are great for quadriceps strength.
7) Make a Maze - set up cardboard boxes for your kitty to creep and crawl through.
8) Bird Watching - hang a few outside the window to keep your cat climbing to the sills. In fact, window perches and (secure) screened-in porches can afford ever-changing and exciting views of the outdoors from the safety of your home.
9) Kitty Yoga - buy some cat nip and rub it over a big patch of rug. Watch your kitty twist, turn, and roll!
10) Cat House Architecture - check out Bob Walker and Francis Mooney's book The Cats' House; then steal an idea or two for your own home!
11) Best Friends? - talk to your vet about your cat's specific temperament. Maybe you can add another kitty to your household to give your cat a playmate and companion. Note: territory can be an issue, and it can be easier in an established family to add a kitten instead of a full-grown adult.
12) Outside Exploration - some cats can be trained to walk on a harness and leash. Alternatively, you can buy an enclosed "stroller" for your cat to safely ride inside. As long as you discuss appropriate vaccinations and preventives with your vet, you could get the green light to take your kitty exploring around your neighborhood!