Cats have something of a reputation – whether it’s fair or not – for being lazy. Maybe it’s true. Or maybe cats get a bad rap from those loveable but fictitious characters like Garfield, who sleeps more than he’s awake and who is always on the hunt for another, usually unhealthy, human treat.
Some breeds of cats – like the Bengal cat – have higher energy levels than others. Age also plays a large role in how active a cat may be: A kitten will usually have much more energy than an older cat. However, regardless of how old your cat is, you can help her become more active by keeping the following tips in mind.
Set up a play time.
Cats need daily exercise. Set times each day to play with your cat. Maybe you play with her in the early afternoon and before bed. By setting up times, your cat will become used to playing each day. Play time should last a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes for each session.
Play before bedtime.
By nature, cats are nocturnal, which means they are most active during the night. That’s why your cat is batting at your feet and trying to get your attention in the middle of the night when you’d rather stay asleep in your cozy bed. Take advantage of your cat’s nighttime energy by playing before you go to bed.
Offer your cat toys.
Cats require both mental and physical stimulation and toys can provide one or both. Cat trees, for example, allow your cat to follow his natural behaviors and climb. A toy, stuffed with catnip, can get your cat excited or blissed out. Or, bouncing a toy, attached to a string, up and down can get your cat jumping, trying to catch the toy.
Take your cat for a walk.
Ever seen a cat on a lead? Some cats love to walk on a lead. The key is to start with short walks around your garden to get your cat used to the lead and to being led where to go, before heading out into your neighbourhood for a walk.
Two cats can be better than one.
Cats are social animals and oftentimes can form close bonds with other cats. Consider adopting a second cat. Oftentimes, two cats will entertain and play with each other.
You may have to coax your cat to play, especially if he prefers sleeping or if he’s older. Be persistent and find games (swatting the mouse on a string) and toys with which he likes to play.