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Tips for making sure your cat is getting exercise in a small space

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Cats who play are happy cats. They dream of going out in the snow, leaves or fresh grass to use their hunting instincts, run after squirrels or mice and bring them back to you as a gift. 

In short, the outside world is a big playground in their eyes! But you are in an apartment… so what can you do so they have just as much fun, while staying inside? What games will amuse and entertain them? We have all these answers for you.

PLAYING WITH YOUR CAT IS CRITICAL

It is a fact: if your cat does not go outdoors, it is important to make sure he/she is getting exercise by giving his/her toys to entertain him/her as though he/she was outside. As well as maintaining physical condition, you will build a strong relationship with your cat and avoid any boredom-related behaviour problems. Twenty minutes a day is enough! When is the best time to play with your cat? Morning and evening, when she is most active. Your cat wants to sleep instead? Some cats are more active than others. If your cat is healthy and of average weight, there is no need to worry.

WHAT TYPE OF INDOORS GAMES ARE GOOD FOR MY CAT?

  • Just like children, cats like playing hide and seek! If you see him/her hide behind the furniture, the curtains or under a blanket, then it is time to play! Act surprised when you find him/her, and then it is your turn to hide.
  • The same idea as hide and seek: you can put an object under the door and shake it: a blade of grass, a piece of cardboard, a feather… anything will work, as long as she feels as though she is hunting!
  • Did you know that, just like dogs, cats like to have a stuffed toy thrown for them to fetch? It’s true! However, there is no guarantee that the object will be brought back…
  • Who would have thought that a simple cardboard box could delight your kitty… Personalize it with a few holes, add some kibble, close it up, and you are good to go.
  • And lastly, the laser pointer. It is almost like a video game console for cats and they can play… until they are exhausted! We advise pointing the laser at a piece of kibble sometimes. That will reward your cat and keep up interest in the game.

IF YOU CAN, TAKE YOUR CAT OUT

Cats love walks in nature. If you do not have a yard, you can still take him/her for walks outside using a harness.

A few tips:

  • Choose a harness (around the chest) instead of a collar, which risks choking if your cat starts to pull.
  • Adjust the harness firmly, leaving a bit of room.
  • To see if your cat is getting used to the harness, test it before going out.
  • Be patient: your cat will take a few weeks to get used to it.
  • Do not force your cat if he/she does not want to go out on a leash. It is fairly rare for cats to enjoy a leash.
  • If you decide to take your cat for walks outside, remember to vaccinate, deworm and protect him/her from fleas and ticks.

MY CAT HAS OSTEOARTHRITIS

Is your cat getting older and less active? Do not hesitate to talk to your veterinarian because your cat may have osteoarthritis (“rheumatism”). Not only can this cause your cat pain but his/her mobility may decrease over time. Only your veterinarian can definitively diagnose this disease.

If your cat does have osteoarthritis, moderate but regular exercise is even more important to maintain joint flexibility.

Talk to your veterinarian who may prescribe a joint pain treatment plan.

 

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