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Exercise tips for older cats

Older cats may have joint problems or age-related health conditions, but it’s still important for them to get exercise. It can keep them healthy and help to prevent obesity. Here are some top tips to help your older cat to exercise safely.

Cat flap considerations

Having a cat flap will enable your cat to explore the outside world freely. Your garden and the surrounding countryside is a great place for an older cat to get gentle exercise. However, your cat might have trouble getting in and out of the cat flap as they get older. To help your cat, put a step or ramp on the outside of the cat flap so that they can get in and out more easily. As your cat becomes slower with age, you might want to keep them indoors at night for safety. A Microchip Cat Flap Connect features a programmable curfew mode which can be used to lock and unlock the cat flap automatically at the same times each day, keeping your cat safely indoors at night.

Low level activity

Your older cat might have trouble jumping so when you are playing with them, don’t raise toys too high in the air and provide low level perches for them to explore.

Cat trees

If you want to get a cat tree for your older cat, make sure it has lots of levels close together so that they don’t have to jump too far or high to scale it.

Beware of the stairs

Cats with arthritis or other age-related conditions may find stairs too much of a challenge to tackle as they get older. Therefore, make sure all their resources (their bed, litter tray, food and water) are all on the ground floor so that they don’t have to climb a mountain to reach them. You don’t need to block off the stairs completely as a slow climb can be a way for them to exercise; it’s just a good idea not to make them rely on the stairs to reach their resources.

Turn feeding into a game

Older cats might be reluctant to exercise so using food as an incentive can be a great way to keep them moving. Make an edible treasure hunt and hide food for them to find.


Catnip can be a great motivator to get reluctant cats moving. Choose catnip filled toys or rub catnip on your cat’s favourite toys to encourage to interact with toys more.


Get your older cat checked out by a vet regularly and ask the vet for advice on what type of exercise is suitable for your cat’s age.

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