Undeniably, as our cats grow older, they enjoy lounging more. With this sedentary lifestyle comes an increased risk of obesity, which leads to other health concerns such as diabetes or heart disease. So, it’s essential to help your senior cats stay active during those older years!
Below, find our countdown of the top exercise tips to keep your cat active. While all these activities are practical, we saved the best exercise for your senior cats for last, so be sure to read all the way to #1!
Exercises For Senior Cats
Importantly, consult your vet if you have any concerns about your senior cat. Your vet can also provide a specific care routine that’s tailored to your kitty. Otherwise, enjoy encouraging your cat to do these five exercises:
Scratching is a natural instinct that cats of all ages possess. So, for elderly cats, place multiple scratching pads around your home to satisfy your cat’s need to scratch. Scratching is an effective exercise because it allows your senior cat to stretch the little muscles and tendons in its legs, paws, and toes.
When a cat is excited or stressed, they scratch to release those emotions. Further, scent glands on their paws leave their scent where they scratch as a way to mark their territory. So, can you see how it’s vital to encourage them to scratch? Scratching keeps your senior cat’s mind and body healthy and happy. Further, providing scratching pads all over the house prevents them from tearing your couch or window curtains. All in all, it’s a helpful and beneficial exercise in senior cats.
- Leash Walks
This certainly isn’t for every cat, but with the proper precautions, it can be entertaining and stimulating for you and your senior cats. If you have previously familiarized your cat with the harness and leash, it’s worth giving it another go. Of course, if your cat isn’t comfortable with this, simply try another exercise. Don’t force anything when it comes to leash walking.
If your senior cat is comfortable with this, once they get outside, they’ll be mentally and physically stimulated by the whole new world of your outdoor area. You may find they enjoy stretching out on the grass, sniffing all the new scents, and catching or playing with bugs.
While leash walking, allow your cat the freedom to lead you and roam about as long as it’s a safe area. You may find that your senior cat becomes more active than usual. In that case, they’re right on target to meet their exercise goals.
- Climbing On Cat Towers
Take caution with this exercise because you’ll likely want to invest in a cat tower designed especially for senior pets. Why? If your senior kitty struggles with mobility, it could become dangerous for them to attempt going up and down a cat tree. Fortunately, you can find a wide selection of senior cat stairs and towers in pet stores or online.
So, what makes cat towers so important for senior cats? Well, heights are the perfect vantage point for any cat to feel safe while having the ability to watch over the world around them. Therefore, it’s not only a source of comfort; it’s entertainment. When you enable them to experience those feelings of safety and vigilance, you’re encouraging them to continue making the effort to climb.
Further, a specially designed senior cat tower means your cat will exercise by traveling up and down. Also, it satisfies their instincts and provides entertainment, keeping them happy and healthy.
- Walking Or Running On The Exercise Wheel
The exercise wheel is a safe and simple way to promote exercise in senior cats. Although not all cats are interested in it, some take to it straight away. The breeds most likely to love exercise wheels are Russian Blues, Bengals, Siamese, Savannahs, Maine Coons, and Egyptian Maus.
Use treats, catnip, or toys to motivate your cat to get on the wheel and start moving. Once they get the hang of it, it may just be their new favorite activity. When your senior cat has an outlet to run inside, it benefits the muscles, heart, and mind. As a result, their mental and physical health stays healthier for longer.
1. Playing With Toys
Now, it’s time for the best exercise for senior cats: playing. Exercising your senior cat can be as simple as enticing them to play and tapping into their natural hunting instincts.
You can use any toy that triggers your senior cat, such as laser pointers, wands, or feathers. Catnip toys and food puzzles also provide excellent stimulation for your senior cat.
When deciding on toys, leave it up to your cat. Try everything, and see what they respond to the most. Your senior cat may exclusively wish to play with feather wands. Or, maybe your senior cat prefers to chase around little springs or balls. When you see your senior cat’s eyes
light up, and he starts going after it, you know you’ve found the perfect toy.
Remember, it’s important to switch up the toys every so often to stimulate your senior cat’s mind. Get a new style of ball or wand, pick a new puzzle toy, or play a new game with them, such as hide and seek.
Also, incorporating treats into regular playtime motivates your senior cat. Just be sure to monitor the number of treats to prevent accidental weight gain. By the way, you’re also certain to get a little exercise, too, while playing with your cat. It’s a win-win!
Exercise in Senior Cats: Conclusion
Every day with your senior cat is a beautiful gift. So, return the favor by providing your furry friend with the playtime, climbing, scratching, and walking they deserve to keep them going.
Then, after the exercise, give them lots of cuddles and love. While we wish they could stay forever, we can only do our best to keep them healthy as long as possible. Now that you know the best exercise for your senior cat, put it to good use!