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Keeping your kitten fit

Just like humans, cats need exercise to keep fit and healthy. However, they're hardly likely to become regulars down at the local gym.

Kittens who go outdoors

A couple of weeks after her second set of injections, you may decide to start letting your kitten go outdoors. If this is the case, you won’t have to worry about her getting enough exercise. She'll instinctively roam, hunt, climb and explore, giving herself quite a workout in the process.

Kittens who live indoors

More and more people are deciding to keep cats as totally indoor pets. Perhaps because they live in a flat without a garden, for example. Or in an area with particularly dangerous traffic.

If you have chosen an indoor life for your kitten, you'll have to work a bit harder to make sure she has an outlet for her natural predatory instincts like hunting, climbing and scratching. She also needs exercise to keep her fit and healthy. Luckily both these needs can be met through play. All cats love to play, but for ones who live indoors it's vital.

The best games and toys will encourage your cat to stalk, pounce, chase and bat objects with her paws in a safe way. She'll love toys that move, so anything on a string is likely to be a big hit. You can also buy mechanical toys for her to chase around. Or what about a toy stuffed with catnip? Some cats go mad for these. Your kitten will love to climb and hide and you can encourage this behaviour by buying a cat activity centre. If, however, your budget won’t stretch that far, cardboard boxes are a cheaper alternative. Don't forget a scratching post either. Using this will tone the muscles in your kitten's shoulders and back and could even save your furniture!

Bear in mind that cats are clever and thus easily bored. A good tip is to swap around the toys you make available to your kitten.

In addition to providing stimulating toys, aim for at least 20 minutes of interactive play with your kitten each day. This is sure to keep her muscles toned and joints flexible. It's also a great way to bond.

Fat cats

Another key factor in keeping your kitten fit and healthy is making sure she doesn't become overweight. Britain's animals are getting fatter and fatter and some experts believe that as many of 50% of the nation's feline population are carrying more pounds than they should be. With neutered cats being especially prone to weight gain. To stop your kitten adding to this depressing statistic, just follow a few simple guidelines.

First of all, feed your kitten a balanced diet such as Hill's Science Plan Kitten or Hill's Nature's Best Kitten. To find out the correct quantities, simply follow the pack instructions.

Do not give your kitten titbits. One biscuit, to a cat, is like us eating the whole packet (Hill's pet research). If you want to give your kitten treats, use proper pet ones, and factor this in to her daily food intake.

Make sure your kitten gets plenty of exercise.

Finally, keep a close eye on your kitten's weight and, if you notice it creeping up, consult your vet who may recommend a special food such as Hill's Prescription Diet

Your kitten's effect on your health

Whilst on the subject of health and fitness, did you know that owning a kitten is actually good for your health and well-being? Research shows that stroking a pet can actually make your blood pressure drop, for example.

Of course, this may not come as a huge surprise to you. After all you didn't need the scientists to tell you how good your kitten makes you feel, did you?

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