Cat-ercise…..Tips for Trimming Down Your Feline Friend

If you are the parent of an elderly female cat, you’ve inevitably been in this situation. You go to the vet, vet says cat is overweight, so you take her home and try to get her to lose weight. Exercising with the laser pointer works great for a couple of weeks. Then you go on a one week vacation, breaking her routine. When you return from vacation, you pick up where you left off, except now your furry penguin (she’s a dead ringer for one, only she has pointy ears and a long tail) has grown tired of the laser pointer and regards it with a look of ambivalent boredom. She regards it now in the same way most people regard the Weather Channel, she ignores it.

The time has come for you as a cat parent to get creative. The weight won’t simply fly off by itself. And as much as she licks herself, that’s not an effective weight loss strategy either. So I’ve devised a list of alternative activities to help your cat lose that feline muffin-top.

1. Play Cat Laser Tag: I realize above I mentioned that our cats have stopped giving a rat’s patooty about the laser pointer. So, the other day I had a brainstorm. What if I just needed to modify how they interact with it?? So I waited until it was dark outside and then turned off our living room light. After it was completely dark, I turned on the laser pointer. IT WORKED!! Our oldest cat LOVED it. She was able to run a few laps around the living room. Now, I will caution you that if you have more than one cat, be aware of their whereabouts when you do this. There was a few moments of cat fighting when both of our girls went for the pointer at the same time bonked into each other (and yes, I had a moment of thinking, “Well, at least she’s moving her body!”). I would recommend investing in some night vision goggles if you are gonna implement this technique.

2. Limit Food: This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you get into the habit of feeding your cat the same amount each time you fill the bowl, this habit can be hard to break. Especially if you have multiple cats and they eat out of the same bowl. If using separate bowls is not possible (Ours have been known to cease eating if you give them their own bowl), limit the amount you put in the bowl. We went from a full cup once a day to 1/2 to 1/4 cup once a day. This was done gradually so the girls could get used to the new routine.

3. Utilize Manipulatives: Use small cat toys to get them interested in moving their bodies. Small toys that contain cat-nip are wonderful because most cats are drawn to them. Now, they won’t be running back and forth, but they will be moving their legs and feet as they hunt the toy.

Hopefully you find these tips useful in helping to get your cat to trim enough fat to live a longer, productive life.

**And here we have our feline heroine demonstrating another form of exercise-the sit up. ONE. SIT. UP. Hold this position until everyone in the room stops looking at you. Then relax, jump on your feet and exit stage right. Repeat every few weeks.