Everyone knows that dogs need regular exercise, but cats require movement just as much as their canine counterparts do. Here are some compelling reasons to keep your cat moving.
Cats that are allowed outdoors even part of the time usually manage to get sufficient exercise on their own. Running around the yard or garden, hunting prey such as birds and rodents, and climbing trees gives them a good workout. Of course, these benefits must be weighed against the dangers that cats face outdoors, such as cars and aggressive animals.
For cats, exercise equals play. Your cat can get her workout by engaging in either of two types of play, or a combination of both.
This type of play involves frolicking with other cats -- or with people. If you're able to keep more than one cat, you'll never have to give another thought to their exercise needs. Two or more cats will stay limber by chasing each other around the house and engaging in friendly wrestling matches. Without a feline companion, your cat will rely on you to be her playmate.
This form of play consists of chasing, batting at, and climbing into or over toys or other inanimate objects. If you join in, the object play will become social as well. Here are some common playthings that may amuse your cat and will provide valuable exercise:
Dogs typically get their exercise from a daily walk. Believe it or not, some cats -- though far from all -- also perk up at the sight and sound of a leash.
Cats who walk willingly on a leash are generally introduced to the idea as kittens. In addition, some "doglike" breeds tend to be more amenable than others to wearing a leash. The most likely leash-wearers are:
Because cats have delicate necks, it's best to attach a leash to a harness that fits over the chest rather than to a collar. The harness should fit snugly but be loose enough for you to slip one finger under a strap.