While it is commonly thought that cats simply lay about and sleep away hours of daylight, most felines are, in fact, quite active. They love to play, jump and explore. Physical exercise is a huge part of keeping a cat healthy, which can sometimes be challenging for owners. Cats are primarily indoor animals, and finding ways to keep them active is not always as easy as it seems.
Enter the cat exercise wheel, a helpful tool to keep kitties entertained and get that much-needed physical activity. These products are very beneficial to helping kittens, and adult felines work off all that energy. They also give kitties a fun activity in the safety of their own home with the owner’s full supervision.
Cat wheels can be used for kitties of all ages. They are great for kittens who seem to have no energy limit, for aging kitties who need to stay active, and for fur babies who may need to lose a few pounds. Something like feline workout equipment is not exactly on the top of the new pet owner’s supply list, and many owners may not realize these even exist. We looked at some of our favorite options for the best cat exercise wheels and shared them here.
Best Cat Wheels At A Glance
Penn-Plax Wheeled 35-in Sisal Cat Tree
Best For Kittens
QJM Cat Wheel Exerciser
Go Pet Treadwheel
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Remember that every feline is an individual. While some kitties will immediately become interested in a cat wheel, others may need some time. Some options will work well for one kitty and then be an absolute failure for others. Owners should always do their research and, if possible, try out a couple of options. It is no secret that felines are often finicky and sometimes need a little encouragement to try new things. So, do not give up if a kitty does not like one specific type right off the bat. Training your kitty to use a cat treadmill may take a few weeks. Do not expect kitties to know precisely what to do right away. They will need encouragement and treats to help them learn this new behavior.
What Is A Cat Wheel?
Cat wheels are a fantastic invention that allows pets to run and exercise indoors whenever they want. Rather than racing across the house, up the curtains, and bounding over furniture, these products give kitties a place to run fast, without the risk of damaging furniture or injuring themselves or their humans. Felines need at least 15 minutes a day of high-intensity exercise to stay at a healthy weight and not become depressed or withdrawn. Physical activity is vital to their physical and mental health. Owners should always discuss specific concerns about their pet’s weight, overall health, or mental state with their veterinarian.
Essentially a cat wheel is a large ring placed on a base that moves as the kitty runs inside it. These are like hamster wheels but not quite the same. Some products are marketed as cat wheels, which are just cardboard balls placed on a spindle and base that fur babies can scratch at and turn. In this guide, we review only products meant for running on.
There are different options available for owners and picking the “best” one for your kitty can be a challenge. Follow these buying tips:
- If you are buying a feline exercise device, know that it will take up room and may not match your décor. Owners need to remember this. Just like a kitty tree or tower, an exercise device like this will consume some space. Keep this in mind and look at the product measurements if available.
- Buy the best you can afford, but do not feel obligated to buy one with lots of bells and whistles.
- Be aware of the space you have available and try to pick one that will not be too big.
- These products will make noise, be aware of this and look in reviews, etc., to see if they mention noise level.
- These products will require some setup and maintenance. Most will not come assembled.
While we have divided these into different categories, it is important to point out that they are all the same basic idea with some different accessories, designs, and building materials. These exercise tools are referred to as different things, including the cat wheel, feline exercise wheel, running wheel, pet treadmill, hamster wheel, and cat Ferris wheel.
Basic Overall Cat Wheel
Not every feline owner can afford expensive accessories. Even the basic options of these can be pricey. There are a few budget-friendly options available. Some are standalone accessories or come attached to a cat tower, tree, or perch. For some kitties, the basic option is best.
Penn-Plax Spin Kitty Cat Wheel
- Sturdy design.
- Can support cats up to 25 pounds.
- Sisal-lined scratching surface.
- Carpeted for comfort.
- Easy to clean.
- Lightweight design.
This sturdy, no-frills large option is perfect for adult kitties of average size. The wheel is 29.5 inches in diameter and lined with sisal and carpeting making it easy for felines to run or walk inside and provides them with a lovely extended scratching area. This multi-level kitty tree is simple and sturdy with a feline hamster wheel, multiple sisal-covered scratching posts, and two perches.
Soft resting pads are removable, and the entire unit is easy to clean. This option is intended for adult kitties and older kittens and can hold up to 15 pounds. The downside is the wheel is on the smaller side. However, for felines that are 15 pounds and under, it should be an excellent way to express energy and spend hours of play.
It has a weight maximum of 20 pounds and is recommended for adult felines who are 15 pounds or less. Made from wood, this option is easy to assemble and clean. Wood is easily wiped off with a soapy rag, and the sisal carpeting can be vacuumed.
Overall = 29.5” (W) x 13” (D) x 35.8” (H) / Wheel = 29.5” (Dia) x 8.7” (D) / Base = 23.6” (W) x 13” (D) x 5.9” (H) / Max Weight Capacity = 20 lbs.
Best Kitten Wheel
QJM Cat Wheel Exerciser
- Designed for kittens.
- Suitable for small adult cats 20 pounds or less.
- A sisal-covered base to scratch.
- Made from fir.
- Easy to clean.
We love the design of this one for kittens, it is one of the few explicitly approved for kittens, and small adult felines can also use it. It is very durable and made from fir. It has a very sturdy base and is covered in sisal so kitties can scratch at it. They are designed to be easy to clean and very durable.
This product is recommended for kitties 20 pounds and under. This one has a remarkably high price tag. So, while this is a wonderful tool for felines, it may be out of many feline owner’s price range.
44.5 L x 96 W x80 H cm.
Most Expensive Wheel
Our final review goes to a product that was originally designed for dogs but is now marketed for felines as well. The Go Pet Treadwheel can support animals up to 25 pounds. This is a perfect option for some of those larger breeds as well as smaller breeds. It works for kitties of all sizes. It is made from recycled plastic and is super sturdy, with a lightweight design.
This one is easy to assemble and clean. It has no scratching posts or platforms, just a simple spot to run on. It is noisier than some and takes up more room than some other options due to its larger size. A training door is included, and a running mat for comfort.
Felines can really get going at a fast pace on this one, and it holds up to even the largest of feline breeds. Small and large options are available, though they can be hard to find. Owners and animals alike love this one, but it comes with a hefty price tag.
Cat Exercise Wheel
Balemaue Cat Wheel/ Treadmill
- Wide base for stability.
- Ultra-quiet running.
- Maximum load of 20 lbs.
- Velcro-backed carpet.
- Easy to clean.
This feline exercise wheel is super sturdy and can hold up to 200 pounds, meaning it is suitable for all breeds, even big kitties like Maine Coons, Bengals, and Ragdolls. The circular treadmill is built to be quiet. It has silent wheels on the bottom shaft to ensure quiet running, even at high speeds.
The base is wide, and all connections are stainless steel, making this product a strong option that kitties of all sizes can use. The inside is lined with a soft carpet that can be removed for cleaning.
Cat Running Wheel
TWW Treadmill Ferris Wheel
- Enlargeable base.
- Low noise.
- Easy to clean.
- The ring is 3 feet in diameter.
- Made from durable PVC.
This treadmill is intended for large kitties and reaches about three feet in diameter. It is designed to be very quiet, with silent bearings. This option is a tad larger and may be wobbly, depending on the animal’s size. Unlike most others, this product is made from PVC plastic rather than wood.
This is a pricier option, and online reviews are mixed. A common concern is wobbliness, as well as a slow turn. This product does require assembly and regular tightening as things can loosen over time and with high use.
Dimensions: 46.1” L x 11.4” W x 48”H
Cat Treadmill Wheel
WUQIAO Cat Exercise Wheel Cat Treadmill Ferris Wheel Pet Furniture Cat Climbing House
- Economical price tag.
- It comes in multiple sizes.
- Made from corrugated cardboard.
- Cat wheel and climbing/scratching surfaces.
- Environmentally friendly.
We like this option for a few reasons, starting with its eco-friendly construction. This circular treadmill is made of corrugated cardboard, paper, and wood. Designed to be sturdy and durable, this treadmill is both a scratcher and a treadmill. The climbing frame adds another element of interaction. Kitties can enjoy hours of entertainment and physical activity.
Available in two sizes, one for smaller kitties and one for larger tykes, it is an excellent option that is not available on many other similar product choices. The small size is suitable for felines 11 pounds and under. The larger is for kitties up to 16 pounds. The price is reasonable, making this a great choice for those who do not want to spend too much.
Cat Hamster Wheel
PawHut Cat Tree Activity Condo & Hamster Wheel
- Hamster wheel attached to the cat tree.
- Soft cloth for comfort.
- Easy to use brake feature.
- For cats 10 pounds and under.
- Natural wood grain.
This cat tree from PawHut has just about everything a kitty could want to play with, including a solid hamster wheel. Felines have space to climb, hide, and play. This one is for smaller kitties, about 10 pounds and under. It is not meant for larger kiddos and may be a bit wobbly, so owners will want to put it on a solid flat surface. Owners should note it is probably best for one kitty to use at a time.
For added comfort, this tree has soft cloth on the inside rather than sisal, intended to be less scratchy on the feline paws and skin. The wood is unfinished and can be stained to match other wooden furniture.
The brake feature is very useful, making it easier for owners to turn it off when the kitty needs to take a break.
23.5″ L x 12.5″ W x 26.25″ H. Running wheel Inner Diameter: 19″ Dia., Width: 10.5″.
Make Your Own
Feline exercise devices and tools can get pricey very quickly, and there are few economical choices. Many owners ask if they can make their own, and it is possible. There are plenty of plans online for every skill level of DIT expertise. Owners interested in making their own kitty treadmill should research, find a plan they like, and use the most feline-friendly materials they can buy. Always take great care to ensure no exposed nails, sharp edges, or other potential hazards before letting a kitty play on any new equipment. Owners should not try to get pets to use human exercise equipment. That can be extremely dangerous to both felines and humans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my cat use a hamster or a chinchilla wheel?
No, cats should not use exercise wheels designed for rodents. Most of them are not meant to support the weight of a feline. Some may be approved for feline use. Always read the labels, and ensure a product is safe for felines before letting them play in it.
Can my cat use my treadmill?
No, cats should not use human treadmills. They pose far too great of a danger to them. Kitties risk broken bones, shredded tails, and even fatal injury if they get caught up in a treadmill meant for people. Keep felines and all pets clear of treadmills when they are on, just to be on the safe side.
Why are cat exercise wheels so expensive?
There are not a ton of options on the market yet for this specific type of thing. This can lead to low availability and high prices. Many people have never heard of these. Some owners who have and are interested have preferred to try and make their own. Because this is a newer niche for feline products, there are just not that many choices, which can cause prices to be extremely high. Owners who are crafty and don’t mind building things can look for a DIY alternative.
Cat exercise wheels are a niche product that is growing in popularity. They are a fantastic option for kitties that need somewhere to run and get out that physical energy. These can range in price, and some are on the costly side. Always read reviews from verified buyers and ask sellers and manufacturers questions before buying. This can help owners decide if a product is right for their pets. Also, always ensure that wherever you buy one from there is a return policy that allows you to get your money back if a product just doesn’t work for you.
Felines need exercise every day to stay healthy, and tools like this can be a perfect way to ensure they get it. These are great for aging pets, felines recovering from an injury, kittens, and fur babies that just do not like to exercise. Owners need to have patience and let kitties take their time learning how to use these. These exercise treadmills are not something felines will automatically know how to use, and owners should not get discouraged if things are not a hit right away. Owners can always learn more about a product by going to the manufacturer’s website and talking to other feline owners and their veterinarians to get product recommendations.