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Maximize your cat’s health through play

Indoor cats benefit from regular exercise just like people do. Many indoor cats are overweight, which can lead to myriad health problems. Unfortunately, it can be a bit of a challenge to work exercise into the equation since cats are not quite as easy to hook a leash onto and trot around the block a few times per day.

It’s important to take into account the activity of a normal cat. Cats are actually quite bad at hunting.  They have about a 7% success rate and usually take on about 100 hunting missions per day to fulfill their energy requirement. Compared to our indoor kitties, who simply have to run the bowl to get all the food they need (and then some), these outdoor cats are usually quite lean.

Maintaining a lean body condition has been proven to increase longevity and decrease the incidence of certain diseases. Playing with your cat to mimic a hunting experience will keep your cat interested. The old standby of a feather on a string works extremely well. Da Bird is a popular toy modeled after just this concept. Lasers are very popular, but do not give your cat the satisfaction of “catching” something.

Puzzle toys can be used to dispense food slowly throughout the day, requiring your cat to solve the puzzle to get rewarded with a food treat. Some people even choose to dispense their cat’s entire feeding portions with just such a toy.

Cat towers and tall scratching posts will allow cats to get the stretching they need and also give them a “safe” place to go during their rest times.

Interacting daily with your cat will help your cat not only maintain a healthy body, but a healthy mind. Stress can develop when a cat’s environment is not similar to their natural environment and play helps minimize some of the key differences and stress points.

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Veterinary Technical Services Department

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