Animal Fitness

My 16 year old cat, who has spent most of his life asleep, can still snatch a floating candy-wrapper out of the air with breathtaking quickness. He has excellent reflexes and can scamper up a tree with ease. I’ve always been curious as to how far he could walk without tiring but I’m unlikely ever to find that out. Is my cat fit and if so how is that possible? If animals don’t require an exercise regime to be able to fulfil their physical potential why are race horses trained? What about dogs? Can a dog run to its full potential without exercise? Old human beings who have led lives of inactivity cannot scamper up trees but my cat can. I don’t understand how he does it.

~~Is your cat fat?..

Animals do need to be active…

I work in muscle research and we do a number of studies
with rabbit muscle tissue…

Muscle “fiber” from a rabbit that lived its life in a
cage will last for around 10 hours…

On the other hand, the same tissue from a wild rabbit will
live for days, over a week…

‘Inactivity’ is a relative measure. A typical cat sleeps for 12-14 hours a day, and spends much of the rest of the day relatively motionless. This would be detrimental to a human, but cat metabolisms work differently.

My nine-year-old black female shorthair was getting a bit chunky & lazy until we got a new kitten a few months ago. The two of them were playing/fighting one morning, and afterwards my wife noticed the older cat laying on the carpet and panting. “Is she OK?”, she asked worriedly. “Yes-she’s just exhausted,” I answered.

She’s doing much better now-she’s lost weight, she’s moving better, etc. The fact that she still sleeps 12-14 hours a day doesn’t matter. For at least an hour or so every day, she’s getting a serious workout, and that’s enough to keep her in trim.

My mum’s cat is very fat – like a little furry cannonball – but it can still tear around the house for hours at a time (struggles to jump up on things tho. Mind you she struggled to do that when she was young and thin!). I know she should lose some weight but she still seems ridiculously fit for such a rotund feline!

My cat isn’t fat. Although he’s fed very well he has never put on weight. He has one of “those” figures I suppose. I have wondered if cats need exercise though. In places like New York I believe it’s possible for cats to live entirely indoors - is that right? Well, most people would think of that as kind thing rather than something causing muscle atrophy. A cat like that probably lives a long life. I suppose the behaviour of a cat in the wild is a measure of what is right and wrong for a cat though. If that’s right I would guess that most cats are incredibly lonely animals because a great many of them never come in contact with another of their species. What would it be like to be a human being who had to spend their whole lives with a family of cats and no other people?

My cat is 13, eats any time she wants, as much as she wants. She is very “fit” looking - like a little gymnast. One of my brothers cats was very young, had to compete for the food with 8 other cats, but literally had the figure of a basketball. It appears that individual cats, like humans, have different tendancies to put on weight, though on the whole they require much less conditioning than we do. Apart from differences in metabolism, our bodies are built for different purposes. Cats are supposed to sleep half the day, lick themselves, and shoot around for 5-10 minutes. I imagine we’re more suited to be walking around gathering food for most of our waking hours, chasing down a rabbit now and then, and not eating several huge high-calorie meals per day. Troubles start when we adopt a lifestyle we’re not built for (eat, sit, eat, sit, drive, eat, watch TV, eat, sleep). If we lived like African or Australian bushmen, it would seem like we didn’t need exercise on the side either because the rigors of life would keep us in shape.

~~I asked if he was fat as a simple indication of his
fitness… A cat that is very fat probably isn’t all that fit

It is true that a cat needs some degree of physical activity…
They’re not exempt…