Exercise Benefits Cats and Owners, Says Survey

Cat owners want to spend more active time with their cats and think their cats are happier or more content when they exercise regularly, according to a new poll.

By BowTie News Editors | Posted: May 3, 2012, 4 p.m. EST

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Kitten with toy -- Exercise Benefits Cats and Owners
One out of 10 cat owners polled said playing with string or feather toys was their favorite form of cat exercise.
Dog and cat owners want to spend more active time with their cats and dogs because they believe it makes their dogs and cats happier and strengthens the human-animal bond, but work and family are getting in the way, according to a nationwide survey of 1,200 dog and cat owners published by Nestlé Purina and conducted by Ipsos.

According to the survey, 64% of dog and cat owners desire to spend more active time with their cats and dogs, and 75% believe their dogs and cats are happier or more content when the dogs and cats exercise regularly. Forty-two percent of owners said regular physical deepened their bond with their cat or dog.

The most popular form of activity shared between dogs and cats and owners was playing ball or “fetch,” with 15% of respondents choosing it as their top activity. Another popular activity was chasing a string or feather toy (11%).

Jobs and family demands represented the largest hurdle for dog and cat owners to reach their goal of spending more active time with their cats and dogs, with 42% of respondents choosing jobs and family demands as the top barrier to fitness. Other top responses included health (14%), need for guidance (13%), and 25% of respondents were satisfied with their current activity levels with their cats or dogs.

About half of respondents consider themselves and their cats or dogs to be “regular Joes,” receiving some form of exercise or activity time every day. Twenty percent of dog and cat owners view themselves consider “resting” to be their favorite activity, and 26% place their cats and dogs the same category. Those who “seldom sit still” comprised 13% of dogs and cats and 7% of owners, while 19% of owners consider themselves “weekend warriors,” compared to 6% of cats and dogs. Just 4% of owners and dogs and cats consider themselves “active athletes.”

Other reasons respondents felt dogs and cats benefitted from exercise included weight management (41%) and higher exercise and activity level achieved by owner (33%).

In response to the survey, Purina is teaming up with beach volleyball gold medalist and dog and cat enthusiast Misty May-Treanor to help steer dog and cat owners to veterinary professionals to seek advice on losing weight and increasing activity.
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Reader Comments

M    Lake City, FL

3/3/2013 10:43:45 PM

Thanks for the interesting and important article- and the reminder to give my kitty (and myself) more exercise!

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

2/11/2013 11:58:37 AM

Daniela -- Thank you for caring for a special-needs cat. Beyond giving her pats and scratches as I'm sure you provide plenty of, try playing with toys that you can tap on the floor or surrounding walls or furniture. Your cat could feel the vibrations and try to tackle them herself.

Also, check out Oskar the Blind Cat (seen in videos linked here LINK ), a famously blind kitty who has overcome the odds to thrive. Good luck!

daniela    new york, NY

2/10/2013 9:36:17 PM

Unfortunately,my cat is cosidered dear & blind @ only 4 yrs old....what activities can i do w/ her??

Gina    Philadelphia, PA

5/17/2012 11:17:56 AM

I have several cat-owning friends and I am the only one who exercises my cats. I think some people think cats are supposed to be fat! Ugh. Very true article; cats can be happy and healthy without being overweight. I throw my cats mouse toys daily and we play with strings to keep their weight down, and they even get perfect bites treats as a reward for playing, which is all I will give them because they are only one calorie each.

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