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Pet News

17 September 2019 by Geoffrey Insurance

Make sure your cat gets enough exercise, vets say

Just as in humans, obesity can increase the risk of a pet developing things like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

And many cat owners underestimate how much exercise their pet needs, according to Dr Carolina Vilches Romo, an expert in feline medicine and surgery at nationwide chain The Vet.

"Dog owners are well aware that they need to exercise their pet," Dr Romo said.

"Cat owners, however, don't tend to look at their pet in the same way when it comes to exercise, and we'd like that to change.

"We're not recommending that people start walking their cat on a lead like a dog, as this can cause distress to an animal that is fiercely independent and craves control.

"But house cat owners should be creating a daily 'exercise' routine for their pet through active play and stimulation, in the same way a dog owner knows when to take their four-legged friend for a walk."

Around 10% of the estimated 11 million cats in the UK don't go outdoors unsupervised. These cats in particular, and any that are overweight, need to have about 30 minutes of energetic play every day.

"Find something your cat enjoys, and then look to vary it, increasing the duration," Dr Romo recommends.

"Hunting-type games work well, where you encourage your cat to chase or stalk something -- whether it's a battery-powered mouse or a simple shoelace.

"They also love to bat toys around and chase after them."