6 Simple Ways to Give Your Indoor Cat a Workout

6 Simple Ways to Give Your Indoor Cat a Workout

You don’t normally see the words “indoor cat” and “exercise” used in a single sentence but making it a point to give your home-bound feline family member a regular workout is essential to keep him happy and healthy.

If you’re still having a tricky time getting in on simple and practical ways when it comes to exercising an indoor cat, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover some no-fuss cat exercise ideas that you’re sure to include in your home pet care checklist.

Let’s kick off our discussion by finding out the importance of giving your indoor feline regular exercise…


What is the Importance of Exercising an Indoor Cat?

Cute bengal funny cat playing at home

There are two (2) key reasons why your indoor bound feline family member needs cat exercise on a regular basis.

First, it helps keep his muscles and bones strong, which prevents problems like sprains and accelerated degeneration of the joints. As an added benefit, the constant movement also keeps obesity-related health issues like hypertension, heart disease, as well as diabetes at bay.

Second, giving your indoor cat a workout is a fun way to get rid of stress and anxiety. Apart from nipping negative behaviors in the bud like aggression, destructive scratching, and urine spraying, regular cat exercise is an outlet for you and your pet to become even more attached, too.

Now we’ve got that out of the bag, let’s talk about the amount of exercise your indoor cat needs…


How Much Exercise Does an Indoor Cat Need?

cat lying on the mat and playing with a toy on a stick

An indoor cat requires at least 20 minutes of exercise per day. However, it is important to consider your feline family member’s age and current health status before engaging him in a playtime/workout session.

One strategy to ensure that your pet gets the exercise he needs without making him prone to overexertion—which can potentially lead to injury—is to split the whole thing into four 5-minute periods. I recommend starting with a couple of minutes of moderate exercise to get your cat going then cranking it up to intense for the rest of the remaining time.

For this part of our discussion, let’s have a quick rundown of the negative effects of not giving your feline family member regular cat exercise…


Adverse Effects of Not Exercising an Indoor Cat

fat cat sitting on the ground

Unlike what a lot of people mistakenly think, your kitty won’t just be putting on extra weight if he doesn’t get the right amount of exercise, he needs every day. He is also at risk of the following physical and mental health problems sooner or later:

  • Muscle and ligament injury
  • Arthritis and joint deterioration
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes in cats
  • Anxiety
  • Very high levels of stress
  • Aggression
  • Destructive behaviors

Additionally, scientific studies reveal that the lack of exercise in indoor cats can also lead to feline obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), along with other factors such as social and environmental stress.

Next, I will walk you through the simple exercise options that you can do with your indoor cat…


Simple Ways to Give your Indoor Cat a Workout

Here are some cool and no-fuss indoor cat exercise ideas that both you and your feline family member will surely enjoy:

1. Activate your cat’s natural stalking and hunting instincts

Two kittens playing and running

A study published in the British Ecological Society highlights that while indoor cats spend most—if not all—of their time inside the house, this doesn’t take away their inherent stalking and hunting instincts.

And you can take advantage of this to give your feline family member a regular workout.

One simple and low-cost way to pull this off is by tying a ribbon to a piece of string and dragging the whole thing on the floor in a continuous but irregular manner. This mimics the movement of a mouse or some other small animal that your cat would love to creep up on.


2. Having a playmate makes a lot of difference.

cat and dog playing together

Another approach to encourage your resident indoor cat to move more is by getting him a companion kitty. Cats often like to do things together like grooming and curling up on the carpet or some other comfy surface. The same goes for playing, too.

However, there are important factors to take note of when choosing a companion cat. Besides selecting a kitty that is as old as your resident feline, it is crucial to go for one that has a similar temperament as well.

One thing to remember, though. Your resident cat and companion feline may not hit it off immediately. Be extra patient with their unexpected squabbles here and there and you’re sure to be rewarded for your efforts before you know it.


3. The laser pointer trick never fails.

Scottish straight cat playing with laser pointer

Although he may not look like it at first glance, your feline family member is naturally built to stalk and pursue prey. And in lieu of natural prey like birds, rodents, and other small animals inside your home, you can use a laser pointer to set off this attribute instead to give him a workout.

Just keep in mind to go for red laser pointers because they are significantly weaker compared to their counterparts, but still as eye-catching. I also highly recommend aiming the laser on the floor first and not directly on your cat’s eyes to avoid potential damage.


4. Stimulate your kitty’s mind by exploration.

cat in a pod

Another way to give your indoor cat the exercise he needs is by introducing puzzle games. Apart from motivating him to become more physically active, these kinds of games will also help stimulate his mind a lot.

No need to get your hands on big-budget toys, too. One way to do this is to stuff a tissue roll with a few cat treats and then tightly seal both ends with paper and tape. The rattling sound will get your pet’s inquisitive side going, while the smell of the treats will give him the idea that there’s a reward waiting for him.


5. Take cat exercise to new heights.

Cat jumping down from cat tree

The Scientific American shares that cat claws—even those found in indoor felines—are designed to climb surfaces almost effortlessly. Giving your cat appropriate places to clamber up inside your home like a cat tree is one strategy you can use to get your pet to become more active.

When choosing a cat tree for your pet, keep in mind to go for those made from solid wood. Apart from being sturdy and stable, they can also hold your feline family member’s weight really well for quite a long time.


6. Leash training works for cats as well.

cat with leash

While this may sound surprising, you can use a leash to walk your cat as a form of exercise. The first step to pulling this off is making your pet feel comfortable wearing a harness indoors.

And when you observe that your feline family member has already become comfortable with the harness, attach a leash to it and try leading and maneuvering your cat around your home. Although this may take a bit of training (and a lot of goading, too), the payoff will definitely be worth it.

Now, here’s a quick reminder to help keep your indoor cat as healthy and happy as can be…


Indoor Cats can be Susceptible to Health Issues, too!

Sure your indoor cat may not be as exposed to the elements and other factors that can trigger health issues compared to his outdoor cousins, but he still needs to have a strong and resilient immune system to have an ideal quality of life.

And this is where Zumalka’s IMMUNOPET comes in, which contains many premium natural ingredients that support the immune system.


It is primarily designed to improve your pet’s white blood cell count to help him fight against numerous types of bacterial and viral infections. This natural product also promotes an increase in hemoglobin levels and acts as a purifier of blood and lymph nodes.

IMMUNOPET combines top-quality natural ingredients with a gentle holistic approach to help make sure that your feline family member’s immune system is always ready for action without making him prone to adverse side effects sooner or later.


A Quick Recap

Your indoor cat needs regular exercise to stay in tip-top shape. Besides helping keep health problems like diabetes, heart disease and hypertension at bay, it also gets rid of stress and anxiety that can trigger negative behavioral issues in the long run.

In case your feline family member is going through an illness, and you’d like to have a more personalized solution for your pet's health concerns, make sure you check out our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION right now.

Each consultation is aimed at targeting the root of your pet's problem, instead of just dealing with the symptoms. And if you’ve already tried all conventional treatments possible with little to no convincing results, our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION also features a pet-friendly comprehensive approach to give you the best natural solutions instead of guesswork.

Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie Cyrenne


Suzie Cyrenne co-founded Zumalka over five years ago, and has worked in naturopathic pet medicine for more than six. Day-to-day, she works as the lead manager for the Zumalka staff and specializes in training the team to have thorough knowledge of pet health and the company’s extensive line of naturopathic remedies.

Suzie has gained a lot of experience from years spent in the pet health field and she earned her degree in Homeopathy at the School of Classical Homeopathy in Quebec, Canada, (a partner of the European Academy of Natural Medicine (AEMN) in France).

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