6 of the Best Ways to Keep Your Cat Active Indoors, According to a Pet Behavior Expert
Exercise is an important part of staying healthy as humans. But how about our feline friends?
Mary Molloy, CPDT-KA, behavior consultant with Behavior Vets of NYC, says that exercise is definitely important for cats—especially indoor cats, who don't usually get as much exercise as cats who might spend their days roaming the great outdoors. A lack of exercise can create obesity issues and even serious health problems for cats... but on the other hand, just letting your kitty roam free outside can pose a host of other health and safety issues, as well.
Molloy recommends that you aim for 20–30 minutes of exercise and play each day for your cat. In addition to the physical benefits, exercise can also help prevent boredom. "Cats who don't get enough [mental stimulation] can become bored and lethargic, and this can give rise to stress, behavior problems, and obesity."
RELATED: 5 Signs Your Cat Needs More Playtime
Molloy says that just like with us humans, running or walking on a treadmill can be an excellent way to sneak some exercise into your cat's daily routine, but it might not be as easy as hopping on the classic cardio machine that we're used to seeing in the gym. "[Cat exercise wheels] are definitely good options for physical exercise, especially if you have a breed that's very active," Molloy says.
Molloy continues, "Give them a week or two to explore it on their own and get comfortable with it. Leaving the occasional treat on it can encourage exploration. Once they're used to it, most cats can easily be trained by luring them with a favorite toy or treat."
She also recommends introducing your cat to his new exercise wheel slowly and when he's alert and active. Molloy has a few recommendations for exercise wheels and notes that many of the smaller ones shown here are best suited for kittens, and the Cat Running Wheel option from Etsy stands out as a quality option for full-grown cats.
Below are a few cat exercise wheel options that range from budget to luxury items that can help keep your kitty in tip-top physical and mental shape.