Cat Exercise Wheel - Not Just for Hamsters

Indoor cats tend to get very fat, very quickly. Diet is not enough, so why not add a cat exercise wheel to your feline friend's weight-loss plan?

Unlike the cat's canine counterpart, we as pet parent's can't just take Kitty for an extra walk around the block to get her back in shape. Plus, cats tend to sleep a lot more, which only adds to packing on those added pounds.

With the best cat exercise wheel, your pet will want to run and play, while the weight just melts away! Cat wheels are also mentally stimulating, too, so Kitty won't be bored, frustrated, or depressed!

Let's "run" through the best cat exercise wheels on the market today. Then read on for our buying guide to help make your purchase the perfect one for your pet, home, and budget. Plus, some helpful tips on how to train your cat to use the exercise wheel toy.

Best Exercise Wheels for Cats

What to Look For in the Best Cat Exercise Wheel

The cat exercise wheel is going to be an investment in your feline's health. These units are pricey, so you will want to make sure you are getting a quality item. Here's what to look for in the best cat exercise wheel for your pet.

  • Warranty - make sure your cat exercise wheel comes with a warranty. If your feline refuses to use the toy, you will want to be able to get your money back. This product is also prone to wear-and-tear, so be sure the main parts of the exercise wheel (like the bearings) are under warranty for at least one year.

  • Proper Wheel Dimensions - The size of your cat will determine the size of the wheel you purchase. Measure your cat's height, length, and weight to ensure the product can handle your cat's body-type.

  • Product Placement - these wheels are large and will need a substantial amount of space in your home. Be sure you have a place to put this unit where your cat can use it daily.

  • Stability of the Wheel - Ensure the cat exercise wheel is well-built and not easily tipped. These products are most stable on thin carpeting and hard surfaces. If you plan on placing your cat exercise wheel on a plush carpet, use a wood slate beneath it to give it stability.

  • Assemble it Properly - For the safety of you and your pet, always assemble the cat wheel according to the product's instruction manual.

smoky cat running on exercise wheel

Tips on How to Train a Cat to Use the Best Cat Wheel Toy

Cats, unlike hamsters, may not know what to do with the exercise wheel once you have it situated. Here are some helpful tips on how to train a cat to use the best cat wheel toy.

Step #1 - Food Rewards

If your feline is food driven, then use small bits of cooked chicken, tuna, or cat treats to entice Kitty onto the wheel. You may also gently place your feline onto the wheel, immediately giving him a treat. Repeat this action for 15 to 20 minutes, allowing your cat to become accustomed to this new toy.

Step #2 - Teach to Move Forward

Once your cat is used to the wheel, hold a treat in front of your cat's face (about a quarter of the way up the wheel). When your pet moves towards the treat, the wheel will move with him. Reward your cat with the treat. Gradually, move the treat further away, so your cat will have to propel the exercise wheel to get the treat. Don't rush this process! Patience is vital, so your cat won't be frightened of this new toy.

Step #3 - Reward Often

Reward your cat every time he jumps on the wheel or starts walking on it. This will encourage him to use it on his own. Remember, to use only small bits of food, as you don't want to make your cat fatter.

Step #4 - Use a Wand Toy

If your cat loves feather toys, use a feather wand to entice Kitty onto the exercise wheel. Start by shaking the feathers close to the wheel, slowly moving it until Kitty jumps onto the exercise unit. Move the feather toy off and on the toy to get Kitty used to the wheel. After your cat is comfortable with being on the wheel, move the feather toy up the wheel, so your pet has to move the wheel to capture the feathers. Reward and repeat the process as long as it takes.

Step #5 - Use a Laser Pointer

If your feline can’t resist that elusive spot produced by the popular laser pointer, use one in the same manner as you would the feather toy. Be sure to start slowly and praise and reward when your cat walks on the exercise wheel.

Step #6 - Use Catnip

If catnip enhances your cat's activity levels, try sprinkling some along the inside surface of the exercise wheel. You can also hold a catnip toy in front of her nose, slowly moving it up the wheel to encourage your pet to walk on the exercise unit.

Cats and the Cat Exercise Wheel

Choosing the right cat exercise wheel is the first step to getting a quality product. Be sure to measure your feline, then purchase the exercise wheel accordingly.

Although some cats are naturals when it comes to the cat exercise wheel, other breeds, or older cats may take extra time (up to one month) to get the hang of this device. Work with your cat each day to encourage play and exercise on the cat wheel, so Kitty will be comfortable using it. Once this is accomplished, your pet will have hours of enjoyment on this cool new product.

Further reading:

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Physical activity level of female and male adult cats before and after running wheel habituation
  2. dvm360. Entertaining to watch, but is it safe for cats? Veterinarians weigh in on cat running wheels


Not rated
Affiliate Disclosure

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.