Ask Away...: Regular Exercise Is Essential for Your Cat’s Physical and Mental Health

Monday, October 9, 2017

Regular Exercise Is Essential for Your Cat’s Physical and Mental Health

Whether you have an indoor cat or an outdoor cat, there is a good chance it sleeps about 16 hours a day. This is normal, but when your cat is awake, it should be active to help maintain a healthy weight. Cat toys are one way to liven up your cat’s life, and there is a wide range of toys available that your cat can play with alone, with another cat or with you. Here are five of the main benefits of play for your cat.


A cat can get exercise in a variety of ways. Unlike a dog that may need to run for a while every day, a cat can get enough exercise by chasing string, fighting with siblings, or tackling a catnip mouse, feather boa or another specially designed cat toy. An indoor cat especially needs to use the skills it is born with, so it doesn’t become fat and lethargic and at risk of developing many diseases. Outdoor cats may have constant stimulation from different smells, insects, animals, leaves and other natural things.


Cats are naturally curious and like to examine their environment. They can get bored and lethargic if they don’t have enough to do, which is one reason they may sit on your keyboard when you have important work. Of course, it may also mean they want a treat, but cats need challenges in their lives. Cats can focus intensely even on the simplest toy, which helps keep them alert and interested especially if they have bouts of boredom.

Relieve Stress

Cats can be stressed too, and exhibit some symptoms such as urine marking, biting, scratching and aggression. Play, especially with toys that fascinate them like a perpetually spinning ball or a catnip mouse, relieves stress and helps stop anxiety from developing. It is natural for cats to hunt, hide and explore. When they don’t experience these outlets for energy, they can become stressed. Toys are designed to let cats use all their natural hunting skills.


Having fun lifts anyone’s mood and it is no different for cats. They enjoy playing with other pets, their owners and toys. If you are not available and don’t have any other pets, one or two toys may be just what the cat needs to stay active and engaged.

Interactive Play

Some toys are designed for you and your cat to play together. These are mainly used to simulate the hunt. You can control the toy to entice the cat to chase it and try to catch it. While always moving the toy away from the cat, you can judge when it is time to let the cat catch the prey. There is a wide variety of interactive toys available and your cat may have its favorite. It may help maintain the challenge to have a few different ones to vary the rules of the game.

Play is an important part of your cat’s physical and mental health, and to keep the excitement high, you should put the toys away after playtime. If they are left where the cat can find them whenever it wants, the toys will lose their thrill aspect. These are general tips for playing with your cat, but each cat has its own personality and individual playing style.

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