Cat pouncing on toy

Cat exercise

All cats need exercise to help them healthy, happy and relaxed. The exercise they need depends on their age, and whether they're indoor or outdoor cats. 

How much exercise does my cat need?

Unlike dogs, cats are great at getting the exercise they feel they need. This is because their day-to-day activities involve exploring, jumping, pouncing and hunting. This keeps them fit and healthy.

How active they are will depend on:

  • age
  • any health conditions
  • personality
  • weight

Cats naturally sleep for an average of 15 hours a day, but can nap for up to 20. Find out more about why cats sleep so much.

Indoor cats

You'll need to give your indoor cat opportunities to be active. 

Cats usually spend a lot of their day outside where they are surrounded by different smells, situations, environments and this gives them more chances to explore. When this is restricted, and they are not allowed outside, it can cause behaviour issues if they are not kept entertained. 

A bored cat will often seek their own entertainment which may lead to unwanted behaviour. This can be seen through scratching areas of the house you don't want them to, climbing curtains or chasing and playing roughly with humans.

So you'll need to actively encourage them to play to keep them occupied and healthy. So find out what toys they like, and spend plenty of time every day playing a game that encourages your cat to be physically active. 

Find out more about indoor cats and their behaviour.

Outdoor cats

Cats that are allowed outdoors usually exercise more than indoor cats, because they are more stimulated. This sometimes means they won't seek as many opportunities to play within the house. However, play is still really beneficial to your cat and is a great way of bonding. So play will still form an important part of your day with them.

Read more on how to play with your cat.

Kitten exercise

Kittens need lots of opportunities to be active and to play. This keeps them occupied and builds strong muscles. They also need to learn skills for adult life, such as chasing and climbing. 

Find out more about how to play with your kitten.

My cat is old. Should they still exercise?

As your cat ages they will sleep more and generally be less active. When your cat is less active, they tend to only eat what they need.

If you feel your cat is putting on weight or losing weight, speak with your vet. They will check your cat's health and be able to come up with a diet plan.

As they get really old, their hearing and eyesight may get worse, so it becomes harder for them to exercise safely outdoors. Encourage gentle play indoors instead and your older cat will continue to enjoy it. It does a lot of good to keep cats active into old age.

If you have any concerns as your cat is aging, please talk with your vet.

— Page last updated 28/07/2022