Exercise with your cat - not as crazy as it sounds.
You might be thinking, “After Acroyoga, Cardio Kick Boxing, and Stroller Cardio, they’re going to sell me another perfect workout?” Maybe not perfect, but definitely cuter! Working out doesn’t have to be about heavy lifting or posting ab pics on Insta. Moderate activity can benefit cat owners as much as their pets.
One of the best ways to motivate yourself to work out is to have a partner. It’s not easy to find someone with the same schedule as you. When you’re just starting out with a sport or getting into shape, it can also be hard find a partner you can trust – someone you can put your leggings on in front of without worrying they’ll judge your love handles or get impatient with your pace. Between a significant other who’s on a different schedule, colleagues you’re not totally sure about, or your neighbor with three kids, you might think you’ve exhausted all your options. But maybe the perfect training partner is purring right next to you!
STUDIOGYM challenges you to share your training with your cat.
Everyone knows Garfield, the lazy, lasagna-eating cat.
He has a hard life as the stereotype of a cat who lounges around all day. But
before being domesticated, cats were wild. They were hunters. Cats do sleep a
lot, but that’s because their growth hormones are produced during sleep. It’s only
through human contact that felines have adapted to a more sedentary life. Jane
Brunt, former president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners
(AAFP), explains that, contrary to popular belief, cats are not solitary
They’re actually social and intelligent animals that often behave similarly to their owners. So it’s no surprise that an active and healthy cat needs an active and caring owner.
While cats enjoy the comfort of your home, deep down, they still need to play and get out. And so do you! There’s no need to list the many benefits of exercise, like the production of dopamine which can improve mental health, and the prevention of health problems!
GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
You’ll be happy to learn that a recent study has shown that cat owners are generally smarter, more open-minded, and more sensitive than dog owners. Indeed, a study conducted in Wisconsin in 2014 revealed that on average, people who choose cats as pets have a higher IQ! While cat owners are also generally more likely to be homebodies, another study showed that they’re also more open-minded. So something new, like exercising with their cat, shouldn’t put them off!
Whether it’s going for a walk or run with your pet or using your cat as a furry dumbbell, there are creative ways to exercise with your feline companion. You can make the idea of working out less unpleasant by turning it into a game and spending quality time with your pet. We’ve designed a workout program with cats, click on the image bellow it's free:
For starters, it’s important to know you can train effectively without special equipment simply by using your own body weight. You can do several exercises with just a small mat and a chair or stool. If you work out with your cuddly kitty, you use them as an extra weight to speed up your progress. The fact that the weight is lighter or that you’re only using your own weight doesn’t mean it’s inefficient.
The key to this type of training is to do the right number of reps.
Whether you plan to use your cat as a weight or take them out for a run, here are some facts about the average cat:
- An average adult cat weighs between 3.5 and 5 kg (7.5 to 11 lbs);
- A cat runs at an average of 40 km/h, which is a little fast for a jog but could be suitable for a short HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout;
- Cats are easily distracted, so avoid public places while you’re training your cat to work out with you;
- A domesticated cat can spend up to 70% of the day sleeping, so you’ll want to make the most of their waking hours;
- In terms of development, the first year of a cat’s life is equivalent to the first 15 years of a human’s. So if your cat’s still very young, now is a good time to introduce exercise habits.
BETWEEN DOGS AND CATS
We promised you some cat stats, so here they are:
- 18% of cat owners consider themselves very happy, compared to 36% of dog owners;
- 76% of dog owners say they play with their pet, compared to 65% of cat owners;
- Dog owners are 15% more extroverted than cat owners;
- Cat owners are 11% more open-minded than dog owners.
DO IT FOR YOUR CAT, TOO!
Just like humans, cats can suffer from arthritis and obesity. According to several veterinary studies, more than 40% of cats are obese. While there’s no miracle solution, keeping your cat fit and active can help prevent arthritis and certainly won’t do any harm to keeping them at a healthy weight. The heaviest domestic cat ever weighed was Himmy. This chonker weighed 21.3 kg (46 pounds). You certainly don’t want yours to break that record!
HOW TO DO IT
Every cat has their own personality. Some are calmer and more attentive by nature. Keeping an eye on your pet’s reactions will be important as you get them used to exercising. If your cat seems distracted or wants to leave, try to eliminate distractions or study their habits to find a better time. Using rewards or clickers is usually the most successful approach.
When going out, we recommend a harness designed for cats so as not to injure your pet. You’ll need to adapt them to wearing the harness, and then to the leash. It takes patience, but it’s totally doable and sooooo cute!
Whether you’re wondering how to get your cat used to wearing a harness and leash or how to keep them in one place while you exercise, there are several tutorials available online:
Writer: Jocelyn Goyer et Jerome Pilette.
Program and exercises: Guillaume LeBlanc M.sc. Kinésiologue