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What do cats do for exercise?

Valley Girl's picture

Hugh posted a great comment a while back

"If cats don't come and sit on your head demanding their food, where would they get their exercise?"

It was such an acute and hilarious take on catitude that it stuck in my mind.

Here's one answer for Hugh- Tootsie, my Maine coon rescue cat, gets her exercise rolling around on the sidewalk outside my condo. Though she rests a lot too.

Maine coon belly fluff

Anyone else have a cat tale?

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Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I had three girls, she had two boys.

Oldest cat, absolutely disgusted with the entire situation, stayed outside a lot(she comes and goes as she pleases).

Middle cat, went out often, and spent the rest of the time up my daughters butt(not uncommon).

Youngest, which is mine, was absolutely terrified, and refused to leave my bedroom unless it was to use the litter box. Wouldn't even eat. One day, she sits on my bed, and every time someone walked past the open door, would meow the MOST pathetic meows I have ever heard. The Sailor and I were so worried. We sat in the room with her and petted and calmed her for an hour. Finally we left, and she also followed us to the living room. The smaller boy came up to her, and she did this plaintive little trill she does, as if asking if he would be her friend.

And he hissed(which is ALL he does, he'll be in your lap, purring and content, then suddenly turn and hiss and run off).

Then the middle girl came up, my cat trilled again, and the middle cat yelled at her, which again not uncommon, she's part Mau and they are talkative and loud.

Finally, the big boy came up, she trilled one more time, and HE hissed back(which wasn't typical for him).

And my girl, LOST HER KITTEH MIND. She attacked this huge cat, beat the everloving piss out of him. Then went after the little boy. After being terrified for days, she had finally had enough. She did nothing but torment these two boys for the next three weeks. She'd lay in wait, hidden under tables and in cubbies and when those boys wandered in her range, SHWOOM, she was out in a flash, chasing them through the house.

Those poor boys.

Submitted by hipparchia on

how did i win [lose] the cat exercise sweepstakes? what bad karma is it that i'm paying off in this life? how is it that everybody else's cats but mine sit around looking cute for their exercise???

mine sit on my head or roll over and look cute when they want me to do something. for exercise they fly around the room knocking over floor-to-ceiling bookcases and pushing the futon or marble-topped coffee table across the floor. futon frame, i should say; there used to be a futon cushion on the futon frame, but the cats demolished it.

i have one cat who scaled the wall to a light fixture, where she pulled the grating off the a/c duct and wandered through the ductwork until she ended up stuck at the ceiling vent of another room, meowing for me to come and let her out.

true stories, all.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

er.... well... Hipp and her band of hooligan cats. I think you'd mentioned before that they were active little house wreckers, but I didn't quite get the picture...

NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

It was an old house turned into two apartments; one up & one down. My landlord lived on the main floor and heard some scruffling and clawing, then my cat tumbled down from a displaced ceiling tile. He then presented me with my very dusty cat.

My current cats will play-fight with each other, and scamper after balls I throw. One current cat will fetch the ball back to me! Softer crinkly balls are best. Outside, one does an occasional dash-around-the-house race for no reason except fun.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Maine coons are known for playing fetch, but alas not Tootsie.

Yes, Tootsie does occasionally go into "gallop mode" outside, also it seems just for the fun of it. I estimated 25 mph over 100 yd distance. Seemed high! Turns out I was in the range (so it says somewhere on the interned) -22 - 30 mph for domestic cats.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

The Maine coon story again, Lambert. Classic.

Submitted by lambert on

... and it doesn't involve exercise, is about my mother's coon cat, a male I'll call Teddy. Teddy would randomly "slash" people who came within his personal space (except for my mother).

Teddy actually held grudges, for years, and cherished a great hatred of for my favorite Aunt. Once my Aunt was resting in a second floor bedroom, and Teddy actually walked up the stairs, into her room, hissed at her, and then walked back downstairs to the kitchen again.

That is the most famous story about Teddy....

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

But he was getting his exercise- walking upstairs and down.

Submitted by lambert on

... sounds like a good compromise for me, if I can induce one to take up residence.

Not chasing a cat up into the rafters! No destructo cats for me!

Submitted by scoff on

They're almost fearless and the best mousers I've ever seen. I've had two, and both were natural born hunters.

The story of how the first one got his name is funny. First time I saw him he was running across my mom's yard. Unlike most cats, he didn't run with both front feet passing between both back ones. He ran with his front paws passing alongside the rear ones, so it looked like he was running at an angle even while he was going straight.

First time I saw him run like that I said, "look at that cat scoot," and from then on he was "Scooter."

Submitted by lambert on

Are they really a species?

Not at all sure how to accomplish this. I definitely do not want an indoor cat, because there's not space. And the shelters seem to have the wrong incentives. So I need a cat who... isn't already attached, to the extent cats are attached.

Submitted by scoff on

They're not really orange, but range from a rusty orange color to a much darker rusty reddish-orange. The ones I had were both excellent at keeping pests out of the house but were not house cats at all. Both preferred the outdoors.

Tabbies are probably all good hunters, but I had especially good luck with the two orange ones I had.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Hi Lambert- not clear about your property. Do you actually have a barn, or is that just a manner of speaking - "barn cat"? Is there some kind of outdoor shelter on the property?

I don't know how well cats do outside in the Maine winter. The only cold place I've lived was Ithaca- I rented a house and took care of the cat. Indoor cat in the winter, outdoor cat in the summer. I don't think she would have fared very well outdoors in the winter. But that's based on Ithaca, and that cat.

Food might be scarce in winter, and you want some incentive for the cat to stick around. Cats really don't take up that much space! And, a cat that is an outdoor cat probably won't want to spend a lot of time indoors, even in winter. But, you could feed it indoors in winter. Putting food out won't work, of course, because that will attract all kinds of critters.

And, initially, even in fall, you want to give the cat some reason to identify with your place as its own cat territory.

Shelters differ a lot from place to place. Here the county shelter is so crowded that 50% of the cats are killed. So, they don't put up huge barriers to cat adoption. But some "shelters"- privately funded- put up significant barriers to adoption. You have to jump through all the hoops (fill out questionnaires, get references, etc.)- which in some cases is counter productive.

A possibility would be to put up a notice in local place that has a bulletin board- "barn cat wanted". And, start asking around.

My opinion, fwiw is that you want a large male cat at least 3 years old. An adult cat in other words. If not neutered, then should be pronto. Maybe others can give views on my take- which is based on first guess.

Heh- maybe it's time to start a "household remedies" thread, Lambert.

Submitted by scoff on

was a black and white cat I used to have who had 22 toes. Six on each front paw and five on the rear ones. His mom looked like a Russian Blue and had six toes on each front paw but the normal four on the rear.

His favorite form of exercise was to walk up to me, lower his head and ram into my shins. Hence the name Harley Butthead. He was huge, close to 20 lbs., had a head the size of a large grapefruit and sounded like a Harley Davidson when he purred.

Both he and his mom were very agile at manipulating things with their front paws. Always good for a laugh to see them pick things up. The extra toes for both of them were on the "thumb" side of the paw, and it looked like both of them were wearing mittens.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Lucky you.

Tootsie MC has thumbs too! Love the thumbs. She likes to pick straws and such. She is a hoot in that mode.

Don't know if you can see this in the picture. OK, if you look closely you can see thumb on left front paw. She also has extra toes on back paws.

I've read that polys were part of the originating population of Maine coons. Even though I got her via petfinder, I managed to trace her cattery of origin. Mother is poly, and her sire was also poly. Poly- friendly MC cattery, even though "show people" don't recognize polys as "acceptable" in a MC.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Don't know where in Maine they are, but interesting info.

~~~Save Our Strays seeks homes in barns, sheds or other suitable outbuildings for feral cats who must be relocated. Each cat is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and vet checked before relocation. We prefer to adopt two or more cats from the same colony to provide companionship for each other.

Relocation is the last resort for feral cats. TNR (trap/neuter/return) is the best option for adult feral cats, as they are returned to their familiar habitat to live out their lives, as long as there is a caretaker to provide food, water and cover during the harsh Maine winters. Unfortunately, there are circumstances where this is not possible, and we seek alternate homes for these cats.

If you are interested or would like more information, please contact us at