#Feline Exercise--#Cats This Week by Karen Rose Smith



As our pets age, napping times become more and more a part of their daily routine. But just as with adults, exercise is very important to their health. A little observation on our part can help provide the incentive for them to stay active. Sometimes a toy that we purchase becomes a favorite exercise tool, other times, some other household item captures their attention. And then there are bugs--those unwanted distractions that provide instant exercise, including running through the house, racing up cat condos, climbing furniture. So this week, I would like to share some of the items that I use to provide exercise opportunities (in between naps!)

A daily scheduled play time is a good way to give the signal that it is time to exercise. Zoie and London know that their play time is before bed each evening. Because I consistently engage them at this time, they both have come to expect the attention and eagerly await my arrival in the living room. They both enjoy the laser light, and London loves to dive through crumbled packing paper to pursue the red dot. Zoie will chase through the bedroom to follow the dot.       

Cats can have a whole basket of toys, crumbled tin foil balls and ping pong balls and yet always migrate to certain items to occupy themselves. Many mornings while I am outside with the stray cats, I can hear Zoie running through the bedroom, playing with the ribbons I have draped over the scratching house. Because I know she likes the ribbons, I always have them available, changing them to match the colors of the season. 

Halo likes a carrot toy with a feathery top as well as certain mouse toys and felt balls. I always resist the temptation to pick up these items, because I want them available when she is in a playful mood. Paddy has a favorite catnip turtle that she carries through the house making little cat squeaks as she brings it in the room where we are working or watching TV. She wrestles with it often rumpling throw rugs in her wake.    

Bed making time can also be an opportunity for exercise. While the intrusion can be frustrating, the cats love to jump on the bed, climb under the blankets, slide though the clean sheets--all healthy activities.


Mail deliveries are also opportunities to provide exercise for the cats. They love to jump in and out of the boxes, competing for the space and this can occupy their attention for extended periods of time.   


For London, our senior cat, a simple jump to the counter for her nightly massage and catnip treat is exercise. She doesn't resist our encouragement and enjoys the attention she gets because of it.  She still races up and down the stairs, though she clearly spends much of her day napping.








The sun catchers in the kitchen window provide pretty rainbows on the kitchen wall, and often a breeze from the heating/AC vents cause the rainbows to skitter around the kitchen. A feline pursuit of the rainbows provides exercise in the guise of playful entertainment. 


Nature also provides other exercise opportunities. Although Bonnie and Clyde, our outside visitors, have numerous opportunities to remain active, the vast array of butterflies in the garden has captured Bonnie's attention and often a chase is the result. 

Halo joins the search
for a wayward fly.
Inside, bugs who find a way into the house, provide the same kind of distraction for Paddy and Zoie. The smallest critter can cause a huge commotion as Paddy, followed by Zoie, chases from window to window in pursuit. Neither rests until the intruder has been eliminated.   
So with some simple attention to the cat toys, household items and activities that attract and hold our felines' attention, we have an arsenal of opportunities to provide healthy exercise. Sometimes we have to step around empty boxes, put up with intrusions while we are doing our household chores and resist the temptation to pick up stray toys. But a healthy cat is a happy cat.

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Her Sister on Barnes and Noble

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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 97th novel will be released in 2017.
Karen and Paddy

Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens.  And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.

Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below. 





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