It is a characteristic of the entire cat family that while they are capable of short bursts of energy, they do not possess a dog's stamina for more sustained exercise. In many ways, this makes them particularly suitable as household pets because they are content to spend a great deal of their time just sleeping and resting.
So far as possible, all cats should be encouraged to stay close to their own house and garden, which can be achieved with those cats that have been neutered. Tom cats that have been castrated will have less desire to roam than entire cats and similarly, those females that have been spayed will not be so restless and nor will they entice the local toms to come visiting their house with their calling.
Even if the family cat is not free to exercise at will, it is obvious that any cat should have the freedom to play in its own garden every day. The cat will be most content if the garden is rather wild, with trees for it to climb and bushes to stalk through. In particular, cats like a high vantage point from which to survey their territory, and they will often climb up trees or on to a rooftop to secure one. Although a cat will find its way through any fence or over any wall, neutered cats will usually stay within 'their' territory.
Collars and leads
It is even possible to exercise some breeds of cat on a lead. Many of the Oriental breeds, and in particular the Siamese, will wear a cat collar comfortably and will allow themselves to be led by their owner.
It might seem that a cat collar, when used with a name disc, is an excellent way of identifying a cat in the case of a mishap, but this is not always so. The only really satisfactory design is the type where the buckle snaps apart when pushed hard. A cat that is trapped in a tree by its own collar is bound to struggle and may well twist the collar into a figure of eight shape until it becomes a noose.
Although it is not desirable, it is possible to kept entirely in the house must be given lots of play and exercise opportunities, otherwise they soon become lazy, lethargic, and possibly overweight. You should set aside a period for playtime each day and encourage your cat to chase after a feather on a string, ping-pong balls or cat toys that are suitable for tossing around the room. Some cats become adept at retrieving , and you will tire of the game long before your feline friend. Large cardboard boxes can be stuck together with non-toxic glue and have interconnecting holes cut through to form a maze. Cats love leaping into boxes, hiding and pouncing out through the different holes.
Wooden step ladders can be converted into the ideal climbing toys for housebound cats: carpet off-cuts can be tacked or stuck to the treads and a padded cushion fixed to the topmost step. Some of the larger pet product manufacturers sell wonderful carpet-covered 'cat trees' which fit from the floor to the ceiling of the average room. Cats love to shin up the 'trunk' and use the various 'branches' for sitting or sleeping. Some of the cat trees have hollow drums at the bottom for holding a removable toilet tray or a cat's bed. There are all manner of sophisticated feline furniture and toys, which are designed expressly for confined cats, and although many of the items are expensive, they do last for many years and provide endless hours of exercise and fun for your cat.