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Movement Is Medicine for Senior Pets – Part 3: Catercise!

April 3rd, 2023 by Ima Admin

“Catercise” might sound like a great Instagram hashtag, but for felines, the power of play is unparalleled for keeping senior kitties fit.

“Daily short sets of exercise can improve mobility, help manage pain, and keep your kitty’s cognitive function intact,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice. In other words, an engaged kitty is a happy cat.

What if your cat is quite content to be sedentary…lazy even? After all, research shows that older cats sleep up to 20 hours per day! Experts recommend scheduling your catercise routines around peak active hours, typically sun-up and sundown. It also helps to use a quiet room sprayed with feline pheromones.

Veterinary therapist and animal movement innovator, Dr. Brooke Loewenstein, recommends using these aids for at-home feline movement therapy.

  • Unstable Surfaces – Walking over unsteady surfaces such as balance discs, exercise
    balls and other surfaces helps cats develop core strength, balance and something
    called proprioception – which is the sense of self-movement, force, and body
    position we all need for natural movement. Use food rewards to lure.
  • Cavaletti – Just like Dog Cavaletti, luring your cat to jump over low bars and weave
    through a miniature indoor course engages them both physically and cognitively.
    Build complexity slowly and according to your feline’s condition. Create a DIY course
    from random household objects. Start low and slow.
  • Changes in Elevation – Climbing is a full-body cat workout. Whether you use
    furniture and stairs or advanced kitty “trees”, you can motivate this movement by
    luring with a wand, toy or treat.
  • Tunnels or Chutes – Add some mystique to your feline’s exercise routine with cat-
    sized chutes to transform your lap cat into an apex predator.
  • Wand-style Toys – Unleash your kitty’s innate hunting instincts and give them the
    thrill of the chase with “cattractive” lure wands. In addition to helping your kitty stay
    healthy, this kind of play increases your bond.
  • Feeding Toys and Games – Hide mini-meals (instead of regular meals) throughout
    the house in low to high spots to ‘level up’ your kitty’s game play. And/or use a
    favorite feeder toy or puzzle.

In addition to these indoor “catercise” games, consider leash-training your kitty in a harness to explore the stimulating, wonderous world outdoors. Your cat will feel like a kitten once more.

For Part 1, visit: Canine Cavaletti: Equine Exercises You Can Do At Home With Your Dog

For Part 2, visit: Canine Cavaletti: Equine Exercises You Can Do At Home With Your Dog