Every living creature seems to need a certain amount of physical activity to stay healthy. We have a good idea about how much exercise we need as humans.
But how much physical activity do our kittens need? Let’s find out.
How Much Exercise Do Kittens Need?
Overall, most experts recommend about 20 – 60 minutes of total exercise per day for kittens. This should be split up into increments of 10 – 20 minutes each. Cats naturally have activity in relatively short periods. If they stop playing, it usually means they have had enough exercise.
Why Does a Kitten Need Exercise?
Just like humans, or any other animal for that matter, kittens actually do need to exercise. No, they don’t need to lift weights or go on a treadmill, but they do need a certain amount of real physical activity.
Exercise or physical activity is crucial for developing muscles and bones that are healthy, strong, and coordinated.
Even though a pet cat will never need to hunt its own food, it’s still important for it to be strong and coordinated enough to chase and stalk things, even if just for fun.
Additionally, like humans and other animals, it’s important to get enough physical activity so that the kitten does not become obese and then develop all of the problems that go along with obesity. These include problems with their joints, diabetes, heart disease, and other problems.
Getting enough exercise is also important for promoting positive behavior and bonding. Giving your kitten exercise mostly involves playing with it, which helps your relationship with your kitten, and helps keep it happy!
How Do I Know If My Kitten Needs More Exercise
A few signs that your kitten is not getting enough exercise might include problematic or unwanted behavior, such as excessive scratching of items like the floor, doors, or furniture, or any other destructive behavior.
If your kitten seems depressed or is showing signs of anxiety, this could also be a clue that your kitten needs more exercise. You might see it as a sad or worried look in their eyes. Other signs of these conditions might include over-grooming, over-eating, picking fights, or being lethargic.
Of course, another telltale sign that your kitten is not getting enough exercise would be if it is becoming obese or overweight. Check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your kitten’s weight or health to be sure.
How Can I Help My Kitten Exercise?
Encouraging your kitten to exercise is fun and a great opportunity for you and your kitten to bond. Most ways to get your kitten to exercise are basically different variations of getting your kitten to play!
One fun way to do this is to get toys that look like items cats like to hunt, such as a stuffed animal mouse or bird. If it is on a string so that you can pull it and make it bounce, this will be even more fun. Use this to encourage your cat to chase, bat at it, and jump for it.
You can do a similar game with the perennial cat-favorite, the laser pointer. They also like to chase a waving string or ribbon. (After playtime, make sure to put the string or ribbon away where your kitten can’t reach it so that it does not accidentally choke on it.)
A pattern here is that cats and kittens tend to be especially interested in things that are moving.
They sometimes like to play with other cats or even follow or chase you around!
Many cats also like to climb and jump through a cat tower. You can encourage this by placing special toys or treats in certain parts of the cat tower, especially toward the top.
Another fun game for cats is to let them chase a ball around a dry bathtub.
Anything that can get them up and moving and burning up their energy in a healthy way counts as exercise for a kitten.
Can You Over Play With a Kitten?
If you are worried that you might accidentally get your cat to exercise too much by over playing with it, don’t be. If your cat has had enough activity or exercise, it will generally just stop playing with you on its own.
If the kitten has exerted itself a lot, it might even pant, similar to the way a dog pants. Again, don’t be alarmed. This is natural and will stop after the kitten has rested sufficiently.
How Much Exercise Does a Kitten Require?
Naturally, cats are active in short durations so most experts recommend that kittens play actively in increments of 10 – 20 minutes each, for a total of about 20 – 60 minutes of exercise, overall, per day. If they stop playing, this is a sign that they have had enough exercise.