Momma Told Me: How To Keep An Indoor Adult Cat Active

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

How To Keep An Indoor Adult Cat Active

Please Note: The following is not medical advice, and is only to be taken as original thoughts compiled by the blog owner. Please consult your veterinarian before making any lifestyle or diet changes with your pets.
Simple tips for keeping an indoor adult cat active and healthy.
Momma Told Me: Did you play with the cat today?

Until recent years we were a pretty lazy family. In fact, you could say we practiced recreation, hardcore. If there was such a thing as extreme channel surfing, we'd have gone to the X-Games. I think you get the idea- but the real point is that we've come a long way. I've come a long way. We're investing in experiences, and I'm investing in myself with a better diet and regular physical activity. I lost, and kept off over 50 lbs and, while I still enjoy a good binge-watch of Orange Is The New Black, I find challenging and physical activities quite rewarding. Getting the fur-children on board, however, has been another story in itself.
Nora, the Morkie just hit 3 years and is as big a ball of energy as ever. She wears her humans out long before she even begins to slow. However, like most parents in denial about their children's age, Truffles (the tuxie) is going on 6. To calculate your cat's 'human' years one follows the generally accepted formula of; +15 years for Year 1, +10 years for Year 2, and +4 years per consecutive year after. That makes Truffles my elder, at 41 human years! But don't tell her that, she doesn't need any more excuses to lounge around and act her age!
Do you know how to calculate your indoor cat's 'human' age?
Science tell us cats tend to age more gracefully than canines (Truffles already knew that though.) Additionally, due to their prey and predator nature, cats typically hide the symptoms of aging long after they've began to surface. Issues such as sore and stiff joints due to arthritis may not cause a marked difference in your cat's activities initially, so regular vet checkups and visual monitoring is key. Once your cat hits 7, human, years of age it's suggested you bring them in for bi-annual checkups (twice a year.) While felines may not exhibit frustration with aging symptoms, keep an eye out for changes in mood, difficulty making it in/out of the litter box, and in house accidents.
Some of the primary concerns facing indoor cats is the increase risk of diabetes and obesity due to food source and lifestyle. The good news is that most indoor cats live up to 2.5x longer than their feral, outdoor, counterparts. Monitoring the portioning and ingredients of your cat's food is key to keeping nutrition high, and heart disease away. Indoor cats may also develop allergies to grains and ingredients as they age, so, again, regular health checkups is a must.
Truffles, in particular, has always been a mischievous cat. She is heavily active at night and a few of her favorite hobbies include knocking just about anything light enough off the living room table and dropping cat toys on her parent's faces while they sleep. She loves to play fetch, and especially enjoys any toys with feathers, though her reaction to cat nip additives is hit or miss. However, just like so many adult indoor cats, she will often sleep all day in the window, or curled up in my bed, if I let her. And, since, as a human, I am not 'active' at 2 am, when she is, it's important that I engage her at least once during the day for a regular play session.
I know not all adult cats are as easily engaged in toys, or people play, so I've compiled some helpful tips to help keep your adult indoor cat active and healthy.

Tip 1: Hydrated felines are naturally more energetic, and healthy. In addition to keeping fresh water out, at several locations within your home, consider adding a water fountain, or running water source. Animals will naturally drink more water when it is circulated, and most modern pet fountains even offer filtration systems.

Another way to naturally introduce more hydration into your pet's diet is through the inclusion of wet food. The American Association of Feline Practitioners now recommends feeling indoor felines wet food throughout the course of their entire life, allotting to a minimum of 50% of your pet's diet. Not only does wet food cut down on dehydration, but also the number of trips your cat will need to make to the litter box, due to over drinking caused by dry food. I'd call that a win for everybody! Naturally, your cat's specific dietary needs will vary, so it'd best to consult your veterinarian before changing their diet, and to determine the best wet food regimen.
Tip 2: Feed the need to hunt- Unless you're unlucky enough to live in a mouse infested habitat, your cat's likely not having their natural hunting needs met. In the wild, the average cat will hunt around 10 mice per day! Hunting is not only a natural instinct a cat should be able to nurture, but an activity that naturally keeps them active and healthy in the wild. Without that activity, indoors, all the more calories are stored, and all of those valuable muscles are likely going neglected.

One solution is to invest in a puzzle feeder system for dry food or treats. If your cat is on a primary wet food diet you can even use dry food kibble as a form of training with various puzzle feeders, or treat dispensers. You can even find a few small variations of this concept in the pet care aisle of your grocery store (next to the pet treats), without naming names, one looks like a white mouse :)

Finding a toy that is inconspicuously a toy, also works well. Truffles loves to play with trash above all else. A forgotten twist tie, a stray bottle cap (she loves bottle caps), a mini hair clip. Of course these options are not always the safest for kitty. In our house a toy known as Cat Springs (NOT an affiliate link) have been ordered in bulk through the years. These are very light weight, pet safe, springs that tend to stick to cat's paws and claws when they swat them. This creates a natural springing effect, where the toy, itself, leaps from the cat's grasp in a random direction, thus feeding the need to 'hunt,' and the illusion that it could possibly be alive.
Simple tips for keeping an indoor adult cat active and healthy.
Tip 3: Switch it up- Research shows that just because a cat may show no interest in playing at the time, does not mean it does not want to play. In the wild prey is constantly varied and the stimuli is constant. If your car grows bored of a toy mid session don't be afraid to pick up a new toy and start fresh. The average house cat will happily go through 3-4 unique toy sessions in a setting. I know I've watched Truffles go from one room to the next with different items dangling from her mouth. 'Conquering' different toys helps feel a sense of accomplishment, and also plays into your cats natural ADD.

These are just a few tips to help keep your indoor adult cat active. Do you have a cat in your family? If so how old are they? What's the oldest pet you've had as a family member?

What Daughter Says: Playing with your indoor cat isn't jut fun, it's healthy!

5 comments:

  1. Those pictures are great! My sister's cat is an indoor cat. She does a few of these, but I will pass on your tips!!

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  2. She is such a cutie! Keeping indoor cats active can certainly be a challenge!

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  3. Many of these tips could be applied to the BETTER pet, the dog! Gotta keep them moving also!

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  4. Older animals get lazy, it's fact. Ummm, us too as well. lol But, activity is a key in health, so trying to keep them moving is very important.

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  5. very cute. I am allergic to cats but have many friends with cats this information will be helpful for them. I also like carrying kitty toys to their houses for the kitties :)

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