The benefits of exercise1, both mental and physical, are well-established when it comes to human beings. When it comes to our feline friends, exercise is no less vital but much less rarely performed. With up to 50% of adult cats being overweight2, this lack of exercise is clearly taking its toll. Life as an obese cat may be unhealthy but life as an outdoor cat can be downright deadly3. Since you can’t send your cat out for a daily jog around the neighborhood, what else can you do to help your kitty get in a good workout?
Cat exercise wheels may look like an oversized version of a hamster wheel but they’re a stellar option when it comes to helping your kitty work off some excess pounds. Here are our reviews of the six best cat exercise wheels we’ve found this year. Before you get started creating a home gym for your cat, check out our picks to learn more about what’s out there in the brave new world of cat wheels.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023
|Best Overall||PawHut Hamster-Wheel Style Cat Tree||
|Best Value||PennPlax Spin Kitty Exerciser Wheel||
|Premium Choice||One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel||
|PawHut Cat Tree Exercise Wheel||
The 6 Best Cat Exercise Wheels
1. PawHut Round Hamster-Wheel Style Cat Tree – Best Overall
|Size:||5 x 13 x 36.5 inches|
|Best For:||Cats less than 9 pounds|
Our choice for the overall best cat exercise wheel is the PawHut Round Hamster-Wheel Style Cat Tree. Made of sturdy wood materials, this wheel is also covered in sisal rope, allowing your cat to sharpen their claws as they get their exercise! This wheel is smaller and sleeker than many others so it won’t take up as much space in your home. The biggest drawback of this wheel is also its size, which is best suited to smaller cats. Heavier cats will be hard-pressed to fit into this wheel. Most owners report this product is easy to assemble as well, always a plus when it comes to any new purchase. This wheel also runs quietly, meaning if your cat is one of those middle-of-the-night exercisers, your sleep quality won’t suffer for it.
2. PennPlax Spin Kitty Cat Exerciser Wheel – Best Value
|Size:||5 x 13 x 35.8 inches|
|Best For:||Cats up to 20 pounds|
Our pick for the best value cat exercise wheel is the PennPlax Spin Kitty Cat Exerciser Wheel. We’ll be honest: cat exercise wheels are never cheap and the lower-priced options often don’t measure up when it comes to quality. However, this wheel is lower priced than the others on our list and gets good reviews for durability. Simple in design, this cat exercise wheel is also easy to assemble and very quiet when in use. It’s rated for cats up to 20 pounds, but some users report that longer kitties may not be able to fit well in this wheel. The small size allows this wheel to blend into the background of even the tightest living spaces. It can even be stained and finished to match other furniture for even more visual appeal.
3. One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel – Premium Choice
|Materials:||Plastic, EVA foam|
|Size:||48-inch wheel, 34 x 12-inch base|
|Best For:||All cats|
One Fast Cat is one of the original cat exercise wheel companies. Their open-sided wheel is large enough to accommodate any size cat, making it a good choice for those with plus-sized kitty models. Despite mixed reviews for durability and ease of assembly, those whose cats like this wheel seem to really, really like it. Customer service for this product is reportedly excellent for those who find themselves in need of it. Unlike the other two wheels we reviewed so far, this one takes up a lot more space and is a bit noisy. It is lightweight, however, making it easy to move around the house in search of the perfect, out-of-the-way spot.
4. GoPet Treadwheel
|Size:||19 x 42 x 45 inches|
|Best For:||Cats up to 25 pounds|
This exercise wheel is marketed towards small dogs but it’s also just the right size for cats, especially larger breeds like Bengals and Maine Coons. Made of metal, this wheel is extra durable and easy to clean. It is heavy, however, and will take a bit more effort from the cat to keep it moving. One big upside to this wheel is that it comes pre-assembled and ready to use straight from the box. The major downside is the price, which is definitely on the high side for our picks. Make sure you feel confident your cat will use an exercise wheel before you splurge on this model.
5. PawHut Cat Tree Activity Condo w/ Exercise Wheel
|Materials:||Wood, plastic, sisal|
|Size:||5 x 19.75 x 56.25 inches|
|Best For:||Cats up to 9 pounds|
Worried about spending money on an exercise wheel only to find that your cat completely ignores it? Try this combination exercise wheel, perch, and scratching post to give your cat other options besides just the wheel. Even cats who won’t use the wheel can climb, scratch, and snooze on this activity condo and you won’t feel like you’re wasting your money! Like the other PawHut exercise wheel, this one works best for small cats less than 9 pounds. Users also report that some cats find this cat tree too wobbly and won’t climb it. Because it’s a cat tree as well as an exercise wheel, this product definitely takes up some space. However, it looks nice when assembled and the wood can be stained and finished in any color you like.
6. TWW Treadmill Ferris Wheel
|Size:||1 x 11.4 x 48 inches|
|Best For:||All cats|
This jumbo-sized cat exercise wheel is made of durable PVC material lined with soft blanket material on the inside. Big enough to handle any size cat, it could even fit more than one feline friend if your kitty decides the buddy system works best for their exercise goals! This wheel is expensive and doesn’t have many reviews as of yet but is reportedly quiet and stable. The base size is adjustable, allowing you to add even more stability if your cat turns out to be tough on their gym equipment. This exercise wheel will take up some space in your house but can be placed anywhere since the open-sided design allows your cat to jump on from either side.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Cat Exercise Wheel
Cat exercise wheels are a unique concept that won’t be the best option for every household. As you decide whether you and your cat might benefit from purchasing one of these products, here are some key points to consider.
Unfortunately, this will be many buyers’ top consideration when it comes to cat exercise wheels. Even the very cheapest is probably more expensive than most other cat products out there, especially when it comes to ways to keep your indoor cat active. And as we mentioned, you may not get your money’s worth out of the less expensive options. That being said, an owner whose cat won’t lose weight any other way may find the high price worth it for the improved health and well-being of their beloved feline.
Personality Of Your Cat
Running on an exercise wheel probably isn’t on the list of your cat’s instinctive behaviors. Because of this, you can expect to be doing some coaxing, bribing, and training to entice your cat to use their new wheel. Contrary to what many people believe, it is possible to train a cat, usually by the generous use of food rewards.
However, if you’ve already tried to train your cat to do other things with minimal success, consider carefully whether you think you’ll succeed in teaching them to use the exercise wheel. This goes back to the issue of cost as well. Do you want to be spending a lot of money on a product that your cat won’t go near?
Many users do report success in training their cats to use exercise wheels. Higher-energy young cats or active breeds like Bengals may get the best use out of these products. Nervous or high-strung cats might be scared by the motion and sometimes the noise of the wheel.
Size Of Your Cat
Because several of the wheels we reviewed are too small for larger cats, your options might be limited based on the size of your cat. While bigger cats can’t use the smaller wheels, small cats and kittens might find the larger, heavier exercise wheels, like the GoPet, too difficult. Owners of large cats probably have to opt for one of the bigger wheels which then brings us to the next consideration…
Size Of Your Living Space
The bigger the cat, the bigger the exercise wheel, and the more space it takes up in your house. Some cat owners don’t mind sharing their living rooms with their cat’s furniture, especially if it’s one of the natural wood options that can be stained and finished. Others might want to tuck their cat wheel away in a corner somewhere, which will somewhat limit the choices.
Teaching Your Cat To Use The Exercise Wheel
- Give your cat time to get used to the presence of the exercise wheel.
- Never force your cat to use it. Let them approach it when they’re ready.
- Try using catnip or another favorite scent or toy to entice your cat to the wheel.
- Reward the cat with treats as they start to investigate the wheel.
- Try holding a treat just above the cat’s head and out of reach to lure them to run.
- Continue to reward the cat as they learn to use the exercise wheel.
- Be patient!
Our pick for the best overall cat exercise wheel, the PawHut Hamster-style Wheel combines quiet and durability into a product that’s best suited for small cats but is effective. Our best value choice, the PennPlax Spin Kitty Cat Exercise Wheel is an easy-to-assemble product that works for a wide range of cat body types. Cat exercise wheels are a unique and newer option when it comes to activity options for cats. The biggest hurdle for most cat owners will be the price of these products. Hopefully, our reviews of some of the best cat exercise wheels will give you the information you need to feel like you’re spending your money wisely.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023
- The 6 Best Cat Exercise Wheels
- Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Cat Exercise Wheel
- Final Verdict