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6 Simple Tips for Exercising Your Senior Cat

Reviewed by Dr. Bill Saxon DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC on Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Posted August 18, 2015 in Cat Checkups & Preventive Care

I have always said that if you get a couple of kittens, you can cancel your cable subscription. Kittens are fuzzy little packages of boundless energy that can amuse themselves and you for hours on end. As our cats get older and enter into their senior years, however, they become more sedentary; according to Cornell University, that in turn makes them more prone to obesity which puts them at increased risk of other serious, medical conditions such as:

Unfortunately, your cat is not likely to ever walk past a mirror, catch a glimpse of herself, and vow to eat less and exercise more. And not every cat is going to be up for taking leash walks. So here are some simple tips to get your senior cat up and moving more.

1. Try using toys
Get your cat some new toys. Even if she has a basket of old favorites, get her some new and novel ones. And not just the ones that you think are cute. Figure out what she likes, so she’ll play with them. Ask yourself:

  • Does she like noise or not?
  • Texture or no texture?
  • Is she a catnip junkie or could she care less?
  • Does she like boxes?
  • Does she like bags?
  • Does she like crumbled paper to bat around the room?

Anything that interests her and is safe is a good choice. (As tempting as it may be, stay away from string toys since string can be swallowed and cause serious problems.)

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Mike has more than 35 years of experience in companion animal veterinary practice and is a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2013.