We’re honored to have a distinguished guest blogger today for Vet 101. Dr. Letrisa Miller is an award-winning veterinarian with more than ten years experience as a feline-only practitioner. To learn more or to visit Dr. Miller’s Website, kindly scroll down to the end.
It’s no secret that feline obesity rates have risen in the U.S. Part of the problem is a lack of exercise, but just how much exercise does a house cat need every day? Our Cat Wisdom 101 cats get plenty of exercise being supervised indoor/outdoor cats with enriched play, but most cats in the U.S. are indoor only cats. I’m convinced as a holistic behaviorist, exercise from engaged play is critical for the physical and emotional well being for cats. We owe it to our cats not to be couch potatoes.
I asked Dr. Miller about the need for cats to get exercise.
“It’s generally agreed that most indoor cats do not get enough. There is a recent study of the activity of outdoor cats and the size of the cat’s territories was surprisingly large. http://m.phys.org/news/2011-05-t This study showed that unowned cats were much more active than owned cats, leading some to think that our pet cats are under exercised.
My personal opinion is that cats should spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day engaged in moderate exercise. Some cats will need less and some more, but 30 minutes is a good starting point. As to how to accomplish this, well… There is no easy answer and everyone and every cat will have different things that they like to do. It’s up to us to find out their favorites. Some like to chase feathers, some like the ingenious toy called the cat dancer or Da Bird, some like to go on walks, other like laser pointers or other interactive toys.
There is a great website that puts a lot of different knowledge sources together to try to help us take better care of our cats. It is one of the Ohio State University veterinary school web pages and is called “The Indoor Pet Initiative”. http://indoorpet.osu.edu/cats It has great ways to exercise your cat even when you aren’t home. Providing lots of vertical space like climbing trees is one of the best ways to ensure that your cats get enough exercise on a daily basis.
Begin to think practically how to increase activity levels in your home with you feline companions. Hopefully this will lead to happier, less stressed and healthier cats.”
Letrisa Miller with her cat Romeo. He adopted her after he was found with a broken pelvis and a paralyzed tail under a bush. No one claimed him so he went home with her. Sadly he is no longer living but Letrissa currently has four cats, all orphans.
Dr. Miller is recognized authority on feline medicine and surgery, Dr. Miller has been interviewed for articles in Cat Fancy, Purina Pro Club Update, and other specialty cat publications, and from 2006 through 2011 was a board member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). A founding fellow of the International Association of Cat Doctors, she became president of that organization in January 2012.
Long interested in research, Dr. Miller has published several scientific papers and for many years was chair of the AAFP’s research committee. In 2010 she represented the AAFP at the founding of the Cat Health Network, a joint initiative of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Morris Animal Foundation, Winn Feline Foundation, and AAFP. She has also been an investigator for an FDA clinical drug trial to gain approval and labeling of a drug for use in cats. Dr. Miller currently owns Connecticut Feline Medicine and Surgery, a full service facility for cats. For more than ten years she owned a cat clinic in Norman,Oklahoma. After selling this practice in 2011, she and her husband relocated to Connecticut to be near her husband’s family. Visit her website at CFMS