Why Is Regular Exercise Important For You And Your Cat?

Are you feeling that your cat is becoming way too lazy or lethargic? Does she only eat her favorite meal and lie down on the couch? If so, she probably needs to exercise! 

The habit of exercising is something that we all need in order to live an active life.

Be it a human or an animal, working out brings great changes to your health and wellbeing. Outdoor cats have their lives centered around lots of movement when they are running, jumping, and stalking throughout their day. However, domestic and indoor cats rarely get a chance to be as active as their outdoor counterparts do!

Just like you, your cat also needs to have a lifestyle where it can exercise and play joyfully, rather than becoming a constant couch potato!

Initially, committing to exercise may appear a bit exhausting, but, as you gain momentum, it can become the most enjoyable activity of your whole day. 

Here are just a few reasons why you should make playing and exercising a regular activity for you and your cat:

Helps To Avoid Obesity

Obesity is a modern world problem caused mainly by the fact that we prefer to sit in the comfort of our homes and watch Netflix while munching snacks. Rather than going out and enjoying a walk or some physical game, staying indoors and munching is the preferred default for many of us.

Just like us, our cats follow the same pattern! They also prefer staying indoors, relaxing on their favorite couch rather than heading out of the house. 

This leads to obesity! Both for the cat owner and the pet. The rate of obesity is increasing globally for both cats and their owners. The result of carrying too much weight leads to a plethora of health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle ache, and arthritis. 

If you commit to consistent workouts and exercise you can make this habit permanent. If you feel like your cat is becoming a bit too fat and you can’t carry it around like before, it’s high time you set up an exercise routine for her too.

Obviously, you need to watch what your cat eats (and there’s plenty of cat food that can help weight loss) but making sure that your cat moves enough to burn off some calories is also important.

Keeps Anxiety And Depression At Bay

Cats, just like humans, can go into depression when things get too lazy and lethargic. When they are not feeling any excitement in life, they can become depressed, and you’ll sense them becoming more anxious.

The solution to this problem is similar to what we humans use to kick away depression. Exercising! Working out or staying active secretes positive hormones in the body, elevating the mood. At the same time, it reduces stress as endorphins, the happy hormone, replaces sadness. 

So, if you notice the routine of daily life taking a toll on your mental health, plan a regular exercise session and you’ll quickly get addicted to this new routine as a way to preserve your wellbeing.

The same can be true for your cat. If you feel they are a little down, get them up and do something to get their endorphins flowing too.

Strengthens The Bond 

Just as your pet needs exercise to keep them fit and stimulated, getting some light exercise that you actually do with your cat can have other benefits.

Of course, you need to have some kind of exercise that’s focused on you (and so does your cat) but why not make a session or two of activity something you can do with your cat?

After all, playing together, or exercising with one another, leads to strengthening the bond between the owner and their cat.

Don’t believe it? Try it!

One preferred activity that feline behavior experts recommend to new cat adopters is encouraging your cat to play with you. As you are both new to each other, spending time with each other while playing together should help both of you develop affection for each other.

If you want to take your activity with your cat to the next level you can go out in the fresh air and get some fresh air exercise. There is an increasing trend for cat owners to take their cats on hikes, and let them roam on a leash in the outdoors. This is clearly a great way for you and your cat to get that exercise together.

And, if you do this, it’s guaranteed that people will stop and talk to you. So, outdoor adventuring with your cat doesn’t only help strengthen the relationship between you and your cat but gives you a chance to make new relationships too! 

Helps Maintain A Routine 

Credit – Piotr Musioł – https://unsplash.com/@szamanm 

The biggest issue most people face in their struggle to stay fit is keeping their motivation intact for any length of time. Most of the time, a new workout routine starts with very high enthusiasm. However, as time passes, you may lose your will to work o ut. Eventually, you will stop doing it altogether!

To stay motivated, you need a workout buddy! And who could be a better companion than your cat? If you start exercising with your pet, you are more likely to stay motivated than you would feel while exercising alone. 

As a simple way to start, take that leap and get a leash so you can take your cat with you and simply start going for a walk with your cat. 

If you think your cat is really not going to take to be an adventure cat you can at least think that you need to keep up an exercise regime if you’re going to try to do the same for your cat.

We’re not talking about home gym sessions together in this case, just that it could help to know you need to keep up exercise for you and your cat. If you’re going to make her do something active then you should be committed to doing the same for yourself.

When does Play Count as Exercise?

Let’s be real.

Unless you choose to get your cat out on the trail with you (and, trust us, more and more people are taking their cats out for walks), you’re not going to exercise with your cat in a traditional sense.

First and foremost, the concept here is to see the value of exercise for you as something to do for your health and wellbeing, and that the same is true for your cat.

But, some of the things you can do with your cat, even indoors, should definitely count as exercise for your cat. They might not be especially active for you, but they are going to be better than sitting with your kitty on the couch.

In essence, make playing with your cat more active for you both.

There is any number of household items that you can use to get your cat up to stalk and chase – a ribbon or piece of string, a stick, or a ball of scrunched-up paper.

Simply make yourself part of the games and get active running around and letting her chase you as trail the string behind.

As you proactively engage your cat in play you can work out some routines that involve the pair of you dashing around your living room together and then the play really does start to become more like planned exercise.

Every cat owner knows how much an engaged cat will run around having fun so whether you involve a cat tree, catnip, or make some kind of course or circuit, you’ll know when your cat is putting in some effort.

If they are being spectacularly lazy and you’ve exhausted yourself, then try some more automated types of play such as a laser pointer or battery-operated mouse. That way you can take a breather whilst still trying to encourage your cat to get active.

Just bear in mind that even a cat has limits. Not much more than 30 minutes of really active play is more than enough and your cat will need to slink off for yet another sleep. At least you’ll know they’ve had a good workout and you’ll feel it too!

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, there’s no shadow of a doubt that exercising is crucial for cats and humans alike.

The most important thing to realize is that if you aren’t getting enough exercise it will affect your health and the same may be true of your cat.

The first step is to change that for both of you and get some movement into your daily routine – for both of you.

If some of that involves you getting exercise together, then that will have additional bonding benefits and could lead to a whole new aspect of your life if you start to go outdoors together.

Sam Jones

Sam Jones

Sam Jones is a feline expert focusing on cat behavior, cat health, and cat care. She has lived with cats her entire life and has been writing about cats for as long as she can remember. She is currently a senior contributing editor at We Love Cats and Kittens.

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