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Published: Feb 27, 2012

If your dog becomes overweight, incorporating fitness into its daily regimen means throwing the ball more often, taking it for longer walks or finding other activities outdoors. But when a cat needs to shed pounds, owners are often at a loss as to how to amp up an indoor feline's exercise. According to Vetstreet.com, the answer is through play.

The news outlet reports that there are a variety of games you can play with your cat to get its heart pumping and keep it healthy. Waving around a feather toy attached to a wand can stir your cat's natural instinct to hunt birds - it will run and leap to get its "prey."

You can also bring out the predator in your feline friend by playing pouncing games on the floor. Whether you use a blanket or a small toy, waving it around will convince your cat that it is a creature that needs to be caught.

Another game to play involves using a small furry cat toy that may look like a mouse or other small rodent. Playing with these types of toys brings out the cat's natural instinct to pull the "prey" onto her belly while lying on her back, kicking with her legs.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, more than 50 percent of dogs and cats in North America are overweight or obese, a condition that frequently leads to serious complications such as feline diabetes mellitus, cancer and heart disease. 

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