Health Topics

Too Many Cat Naps?

How to keep your indoor cat active.

(This article was originally published in the Fall 2008 Issue of Cat Basics and is reproduced here with the permission of the publisher.)

Indoor cats stay much safer than outdoor cats, but they don't get the benefits of wide open spaces to run and play. Cats need activity to stay healthy.

If you find that your kitty is taking too many cat naps and not getting enough exercise, here are some ways to encourage activity and release some energy.

  • Tie a toy or feather to the end of a piece of string, ribbon, or shoelace and drag it across the floor to act as prey. This will encourage hunting and capturing. It is a fun game that exercises your cat's reflexes.
  • Chasing toys will really give your cat some exercise. Ping pong balls, balls with bells in them and crumpled pieces of paper are great items to stalk and pounce on.
  • Put toys under a doormat, table or blanket and let your cat go hunting. She can spend time digging the "prey" out from their hiding spot.
  • Boxes, baskets and paper bags are great for cats to hide in and jump in and out of. Play a little game of peek-a-boo with your cat. Do not use plastic bags!
  • Make sure your cat has room to run. It is fun if there are obstacles, but it is nice to have a wide open space to run and jump.
  • Encourage climbing by purchasing a tall scratching post with different levels and perches. Cats enjoy sitting up high to survey their "land".
  • Keep curtains and blinds open so your cat can see what is happening outside. Watching birds at a feeder will keep your cat alert and entertained.
  • Think about getting your cat a playmate. It takes time for cats to get used to one another, but once they do, they will have fun chasing each other and play fighting.

Some cats are overactive. If you want your cat to sleep well at night, play for at least 20 minutes before bedtime. This could help keep your cat away from your toes while you sleep.

Giving your cat toys to play with on her own is a great way to encourage activity, but if you play with her, you will create a special bond between the two of you and have a friend for life.