Got a needy, unhappy cat? Here's a behaviorist's simple tip for tiring them out

Cat lying on it's back over a sofa
(Image credit: Getty)

If you have a very active cat on your hands then they probably demand a lot of attention from you. Whether they show this neediness by following your every move, waking you early in the morning with their purrs, or walking over your laptop keyboard while you're trying to work, they'll do anything to steal your attention. 

Spending lots of time with a cat is essential for building a good and trusting relationship but pet owners do need breaks every now and again. You may make use of some of the best interactive cat toys as they require no participation from you but there are other ways to tire out a lively and needy kitty. 

Anyone looking to burn some of their cat's energy so you both can have some downtime will love this tip shared by the animal behaviorists over at Cat School Clicker Training. It does require your input too but once it's done you'll be able to put your feet up while your cat takes a break from zooming around.

You can watch the Instagram video below, where a Cat School Clicker Training behaviorist demonstrates their handy little workout activity to do with a cat.

The exercise is super simple but one that will help to tire out an active moggy, especially since it provides mental and physical stimulation. 

What will you need? A set of stairs would be useful, a spoon and some tasty food or treats (either some of the best dry cat food or best wet cat food will do), and an obstacle that your cat can walk around on the stairs, like a block or small box of some sort.

Up next, it’s time to work out your feline friend. The steps of the stair climbing workout are outlined below for you to refer to:

Step 1: Using the treats, teach your cat to circle an object   

Step 2: Add in some stairs when they get good at step number one      

Step 3: Increase the distance your cat needs to climb to go around the object        

According to the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, it’s a good idea to spend at least two 15-20 minutes sessions a day playing with your cat. Regular play with your feline friend is a simple solution to keeping them happy and healthy and settles those livelier cats who struggle to sit still for more than a minute.

The comments section of the Cat School Clicker Training’s stair workout invited fellow pet owners to share their own success stories with tiring their cat's out. One cat parent said, “This is a great idea! Training jumps also works for us. And practicing other behaviors on station and throwing a treat off after each repetition to reset”.

You can pick up other tips and tricks for entertaining your cat with this vet’s guide to how to play with a cat

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.