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Fat Cats: Questions and Answers for Getting Your Tubby Tabby Back into Shape

How to get overweight or obese cats back in shape.


A: Some might like the videos, but I don’t personally know of any. I think those videos are really more for people who have guilt because they’re gone all day at work. But dragging a piece of string around for a little while when they get home is too much work, so they’d rather buy a video.

Now fish tanks are great. And cats love watching birds outside a window. I don’t recommend birds inside a house with cats, because birds are very intelligent and know they are being stalked. But a birdfeeder outside a window that cats can watch is a great idea.

Q: Can you train a cat to walk on a leash?

A: Yes, but they don’t get a lot of exercise from it because they’re too busy sniffing around and checking things out. The main reason to walk your cat on a leash is to safely give them some time outdoors when they can’t run away. It’s more mental exercise than physical exercise.

Q: My cat doesn’t like toys, or gets bored with them quickly. What can I do?

A: Toys for cats to play with by themselves have marginal interest. You’ve got this ball on a spring. The cat bops it a few times, it goes up and down, and the cat says “OK, now what?”

Cats do want toys, but the toys should be “prey play” oriented. In the wild, a cat will only stalk prey for about three to five minutes. After that, he’ll give up and go search somewhere else. So don’t try to play longer than the genetic capacity of the cat.

When he’s beginning to lose interest, change to another game. Now, some cats will really like bird and they’ll play that longer than other games. Some might really like the bug. Fine. It doesn’t have to be equal time.

Also, let them win occasionally. Put a tasty treat under the toy and let them pounce on it, eat it, and win.

I also believe if a kitten between 7 weeks and 12 weeks is given a lot of toys to play with, it will probably be more likely to play with toys when it gets older, although that’s just my opinion. Two great cat toys are ping pong balls, because they’re light and they go a long way if you whack them, and walnuts, because they make a little crackly sound, like a mouse scurrying away, and they roll irregularly, like a mouse would run.

A really good game is bathtub hockey. Give a kitten a ping pong ball in the bathtub and just watch what happens.

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