Here’s how to make your cat your workout friend

excerise with your cat

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Jafari Jamison Underfoot is a cat like no other. Not only does he master the art of carrying a harness and leash, but he also goes for walks with his owner every day, which often leads to short sprints. The handsome Abyssinian cat lives in scenic Vancouver, British Columbia and has access to beautiful hiking trails and the Pacific. “People just stare in disbelief. They are not used to seeing a cat run, ”says its owner Christopher Weeks.

How did Jafari come to be such a great role model for active cats? Christopher says he started training his pet to be a kitten. He taught Jafari to wear positive reinforcement harness by associating the harness with treats and positive praise.

After he got used to the harness and the leash, the two went outside. “We went for walks regularly and Jafari kept up. Then one day he began to accelerate the pace. Then we started running, ”says the cat father proudly.

Jafari doesn’t run long distances, but Christopher says the two are short distance runners who take a lot of breaks. “We walk, run, stop, scratch and sniff, then we do it all over again.”

The Abyssinian Jafari learned to wear a harness as a kitten, and now he not only walks with his humans, but they sometimes sprint too. Photo: Christopher Weeks

Exercise with your cat by tailoring training based on personality

Dr. Liz Stelow, a certified veterinary behavioral scientist at the University of California at Davis, says Jafari is unfortunately not the norm. “Most cats don’t get enough exercise. I don’t think most cat owners think about training their cats. It doesn’t even occur to them that their cat would find it rewarding. “

The veterinary ethologist advocates that humans and their cats do sports together. “We all need exercise for our physical and mental health,” she says. “Cats and humans need exercise to keep our muscles in shape, to slim our bodies and to supply our brains with good blood.” While some cats can go outdoors, the vet says the decision should be based on your cat’s personality. A scared cat hiding under the bed is unlikely to want to go on outdoor adventures.

Dr. Stelow insists this is not a problem. There are still many things you can do together, especially with toys. Magic wand toys are a universal favorite of all cats. She personally uses the Go Cat Brand wand toys, especially the Cat Catcher Mouse Wand, although she emphasizes that every cat is an individual. So experiment to see what works with your little lion.

With so many people working from home, the vet says running around your house with your cat chasing you is great practice. Doing this only once a day for five minutes is a great exercise routine for you and Kitty.

She also emphasizes when choosing toys, choosing a toy that won’t fall apart and cause suffocation, or end up in your cat’s stomach:

  • Avoid twine, elastic cord, string, thread, bells, or other small pieces that can come off or be chewed off
  • Never let your cat use hanging toys
    when you are not there as they can be a strangulation risk.
  • Avoid cheap catnip toys as mold problems can arise.

Dr. Stelow gives Doc and Phoebes Indoor Hunting Feeder ($ 19.99, Chewy) high marks. The interactive feeder made of small plastic mice that you fill with nibbles gives your kitten a higher calorie training when it tries to find the nibble. The ever-popular cat dancer is also a California veterinarian’s favorite.

Exercise with your cat

Photo: Fondsaksit | Getty Images

Increase your exercise routine

Besides running, walking and toys, what else can you do with your kitten? More and more cat owners are getting creative:

Stroller walks / runs: Can’t you get your cat in a harness or she gets cold outside? Walks or runs in strollers are perfect as they will exercise your cat’s mind. Your cat may feel more secure in a stroller, and you can walk or run! Gradually build up your cat’s time in the stroller and put in treats and toys in before taking them out so that they associate the stroller with positive things. Couch to 5K’s online run / walk programs are ideal for building stamina for you and your cat partner.

Cats Yoga: Meow masts! Get out your mat and cat and host your favorite online yoga class. Kittens are curious and will try to get your attention once you start doing the downward-facing dog. They will interrupt you, but know that you will be stretching a bit as your cat jumps and climbs over you.

Connected: Why cats and yoga make a perfect couple

Cat weightlifting: Use your cat as a dumbbell or medicine ball. The actor and weightlifter Travis DesLaurier uses his cat Jacob as a training partner. Whether leg raises or pushups, the orange tabby helps people to keep their abdominal muscles rock-hard. Travis even has a Youtube video that shows you exactly what to do for great weight training.

Exercise with your cat

Laura Moss, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Adventure Cats website, along with creative director and co-founder Cody Wellons (right), created the website as a resource for outdoor cat lovers. Laura has three adventure cats, including Fiver. Photo: ridayIvo | Getty Images

Burn calories outside

The trends of people training their cats also caught the attention of Laura Moss, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Adventure Cats, a website celebrating the feline lifestyle outdoors. She started the website as a resource and community for cat owners. “Kittens defied my expectations. They can do so much more than what is offered, ”says the outdoor enthusiast.

Her book, website, and social media pages show cat lovers around the world how to get active with their living room lions. You can see cats visiting every national park in the country, cats paddling, and kittens hiking, but the Atlanta-based writer believes you need to respect your cat. “If they don’t like being outside or doing a certain activity, don’t force them; This will only hurt your relationship with your cat. “

Christopher gives this statement again. Fortunately, its active Abyssinian loves nature and can handle its adventures. “He made people dislike cats. We are so proud of him that he is a cat ambassador who can show the world the wonderful things you can do with a cat. Cats need exercise, and it’s always best when they can do it with you. “

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