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EXERCISE FOR CATS

It's time to coax kitty off the couch! Tickle her interest in playtime with these pointers.

Fetch, chase and catch sound like games you would play with your dog. But your cat needs an exercise routine too, and these games can be part of a lifetime of healthy fun for you and your feline.

Exercise is an important step toward good health and a balanced life. After all, regular exercise helps prevent obesity, improves your cat's physical condition, teaches social skills and helps prevent bad behavior. And contrary to popular belief, cats don't get all the exercise they need on their own. Ready for some fun with your cuddly furball?

Cats in Toyland

Your cat engages in two types of play - object or solitary play and social play. And while the objects she attacks may look like string or stray feathers to you, to your cat each toy is live prey for her to hunt down and attack.

When you start looking, you'll find a huge array of toys that will stimulate even the laziest lap cat. Consider toy fishing poles for cats, catnip toys, stuffed animals or feathered strings. So fill up that toy box and help your pet make play part of her day.

Super Social Play

When your cat was a kitten, she learned to wrestle, roll and bite her littermates. And although this sounds rough and uncomfortable, your cat learned a lot from the interaction. For example, when her brother bit her back hard, she learned not to bite so hard the next time she played with him.

Your cat probably doesn't have many opportunities for this type of play unless she has a companion she was raised with in your home. So it's your job to be her playmate. Fortunately, it's a fun job.