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8 DIY Cat Treadmills You Can Build Today! (With Pictures)

In the wild, cats are ferocious hunters that rule the forest, jungle, or savannah in which they live. As they have become more domesticated, they have seemingly regressed to be lazier than their wild predecessors. It can be difficult to inspire your cat to exercise if they quickly grow weary of playing with their toys.

One of the great ways to get a cat to exercise is to inspire in them the freedom to run. Making them a DIY cat treadmill can get them exercising without having them tear around the house or be released outside. Most of these DIY designs are similar in style to a hamster wheel but are much larger to accommodate your cat’s more prominent size and stride.


1. Bike Wheel

This cat wheel has a hipster look to it and is similar to a bike tire. It uses thin pieces of plywood as spokes that stick out from a center gear hub. This wheel’s best aspect is that you can attach it to the wall, where it stays fixed in place instead of taking up room in the middle of the floor.

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2. Hula Hoop on Wheels

A quick fix to your cat’s exercise conundrum can be done using bits of plastic and hula hoops. If you want it to be able to move in a fixed location, set up the bottom with plywood. It is quick and straightforward but gives you a chance to test an exercise wheel on your cat without investing in a nicer piece of equipment.

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3. Carpeted Plywood Treadmill

The overall size and width of your cat treadmill depend on your cat’s size and how many cats you want to be able to use it at one time. Carpeting the plywood that you use to build the treadmill can give your cats a better grip on the wheel. That can be quite satisfying for them and allow them to move even faster, getting more and more in shape with each turn.

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4. Artful Cat Treadmill

A treadmill for your cat doesn’t mean just building the simplest thing that you can manage and sticking it inside a disused room. Instead, you might decide to make it a work of art. This cat treadmill does precisely that. It is stable and quite large, giving your cat plenty of space to run around. Plenty of timber is involved in this design and has more wheels than some others.

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5. Almost Enclosed Cat Treadmill

Sometimes simplicity is key. This cat treadmill is mounted onto wheels on the ground, then set onto two pieces of plywood. The inside of the wheel is entirely covered with carpet to give your cat more grip as they run around. The wheel isn’t as large as some other options, but it mitigates the amount of space that the entire structure takes up in your home.

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6. Exercise Wheel

Although it is not entirely clear what material that the creators of this exercise wheel have used to put together their DIY version, it is a straightforward design. You can see their cat’s use of it and gain more details about the design on their YouTube channel.

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7. Glistening Plywood Treadmill

This basic cat treadmill uses a central gear on which it spins and is mounted to a back piece of plywood to keep it suspended above the floor. The entire thing has been sanded and stained. If you decide to stain your wood to make it look more aesthetically pleasing, then be careful about any chemicals and odors that could exude and harm your cat.

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8. Outdoor Exercise Wheel

Sometimes, building and keeping a treadmill inside the house for your cat is not an option. Whether you don’t have enough space or you are unwilling to hear your cat running on their treadmill at all hours of the night, you might want to keep it outside. If that is the case, try crafting one of these waterproof and grass-inspired exercise wheels in your backyard.

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Featured Image Credit: mariyaermolaeva, Shutterstock