How Much Exercise Does an Indoor Cat Get?: Week One

by Kevin

snickerdoodle-with-fitbit

It has been one week since I attached a Fitbit tracker to my cat. Let’s look at the data.

Snickers fitbit week one

Daily breakdowns

 

Snickers fitbit week one summary

Week summary (12 Dec to 18 Dec)

 

A few observations:

  • Looking at the daily breakdowns, the general pattern would best be described as: “Sleep for an hour or two, goof off for a bit, repeat.” Sounds about right.
  • Some cats can sleep up to twenty hours a day, and I would have expected Snickers to be on this end of the laziness spectrum. Even if we assume that 100% of her sedentary time is spent asleep, she still would not be able to log twenty hours. At least she is less lazy than I expected.
  • When she is awake she is also much more active than I would have expected, playing for an hour or more on several occasions. Impressive.
  • Friday and Saturday evenings usually mean guests, and therefore mean that Snickers will sequester herself in the basement or beneath a bed for the duration.  This does not appear to affect her activity level.

Notes:

  • Walking on four legs may confuse the tracker, so I would not trust the step count. Distance traveled is surely way off, as this is calculated from steps assuming a normal stride length for a bipedal six-foot-tall human. Fitbit.com did not consider 9″ a valid height (nor 12.2 lbs. a valid weight) when I created Snickers’ account. Time active is probably fairly accurate.
  • I am unsure how much grooming gets picked up. Scratching around the collar may, but cat baths probably do not.
  • The tracker was removed from about 1-3 P.M. on Monday (bottom) to recharge it. Fitbit’s engineers deserve praise for designing a device that can be in absolutely constant use for over two years, and still have a 40% battery level a week after its last charge.
  • No change was made to Snickers’ daily routine, nor did we change how much we play with her. The only exception was when she had not walked near the Fitbit tracker’s wireless base station in a day or so, so I shut her in my office for five minutes to allow the tracker to connect and upload its data.  She gave me a kind of bewildered “Why am I in here?” look when I opened the door to let her out.

Next

Snickers seems to have adjusted to the collar and Fitbit tracker fairly quickly, so now that we have a good baseline we should be able to start throwing some new cat toys into the experiment to see if they make her more active.