While it’s hard to believe, the holiday season will soon be here, and most of us will have to adjust to life with frigid temperatures once again. The winter can sometimes be a period of inactivity for many cat parents and their pets, as it’s far more relaxing to curl up under a blanket indoors rather than brave the seasonal weather. Unfortunately, this lack of activity can lead to unexpected weight gain for you and your cat if you allow it to continue, so it’s your job to find creative ways to get your indoor cat up and moving to avoid putting on the winter chub and other feline health concerns. Here are a few intriguing indoor games you can play with your cat to help him or her stave off seasonal weight gain and stay healthier throughout the year.

1. Use catnip to your advantage. One of the easiest ways to get your cat up and moving is through the use of catnip. Whether you buy a large pouch or a few toys filled with the stuff, cats simply can’t resist it, reports PetsGoNatural.com. These toys are great for playing “catch,” and you can throw them around your living room to get your cat’s blood flowing. Of course, catnip can get stale after a while, so make sure you keep a small container in the freezer or in a sealed pouch in your cabinet to ensure that it will stay appealing to your pet.

2. Find the food. While the aim of your playtime is to cut down on your cat’s winter weight gain, you can still use a small amount of cat treats to pique your pet’s interest. If you have a cat tree, placing a treat on each step of the furnishing is a great way to get your cat up and moving. When you’re out of the house for an extended period of time, consider hiding a few treats all over your house. This will nurture your cat’s instinct to hunt and give your cat a bit of mental stimulation while you’re at work or doing errands.

3. Make use of interactive toys. Fishing pole toys and other items that have dangling parts are wonderful options for indoor cats that will be more than happy to chase them around. Set aside a half hour to an hour each day of extended playtime with your cat during the winter – this is guaranteed to help him or her let off steam from being cooped up in the house all day and will help your cat get a better night’s rest.

This article is brought to you by the pet behavior experts at Hartz. When it comes to training your dog and cat, our knowledge and experience is guaranteed to make the process easy, smooth and fun!

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