As more studies show that cats should be kept indoors for safety reasons, the greater the incidence of obesity that is occurring in our feline companions. Of course, we want to keep our cats safe, but indoor environments are often not stimulating enough, and cats don’t get enough exercise. Obesity can lead to numerous health problems, so it’s incumbent upon owners to find ways to get their cats up and moving. Thankfully, you don’t have to “reinvent the wheel.” Cat exercise wheels are easy to find and loved by cats. They provide them with the physical and mental stimulation they need to stay healthy.
To help you find the best cat exercise wheel for your furry friend, we’ve reviewed the best cat exercise wheels this year.
A Glance at Our Winners in 2024
|Coziwow Exercise Wheel
|Penn-Plax Spin Kitty Cat Wheel
|INOVEX Cat Exercise Wheel
|ZYDDNH Cat Wheel
The 7 Best Cat Exercise Wheels
|31.5 x 16 x 34 inches
The Coziwow Exercise Wheel with Lock & Teaser Cat Treadmill is an exercise wheel made from wood with a felt carpeted runner. It uses a silent pulley system and has an extra wide base to prevent wobbling and rattling, making it a quiet wheel. The wood has a pet-proof varnish coating, and the carpet can be removed for convenient cleaning. The half-inch natural wood and the pulley system will hold weights of up to 110 pounds, which means it will support even the heaviest cat.
The wheel is also open on both sides, giving it a sleek appearance. We think the Coziwow Exercise Wheel is the best available cat exercise wheel, and it can be locked in place when not being used, but it does take quite a lot of construction before it can be used.
2. Penn-Plax Wheeled 35-In Sisal Cat Tree – Best Value
|31.5 x 15.75 x 35.04 inches
|2-in-1 Cat Tree and Exercise Wheel
The Penn-Plax Wheeled 35-in Sisal Cat Tree is the best cat exercise wheel for the money because it combines a 20-inch diameter wheel with a cat scratching post and cushioned rests. The wheel has sisal on the inside and out but while the cushioned pads can be removed, the carpet can’t. The wheel has a 20-inch diameter, so is really only suitable for small cats and kittens, and it will hold a maximum cat weight of 15 pounds.
Overall, the combination of perches, scratch post, and cushioned pads, make this a handy two-in-one cat play tower, but the wheel isn’t big enough for most cats and it lacks features like a lock to prevent accidental spinning.
3. Penn-Plax Spin Kitty Cat Wheel – Premium Choice
|23.62 x 12.99 x 35.83 inches
The Penn-Plax Spin Kitty Cat Wheel is a wooden wheel with sisal carpet both inside and outside the wheel. The wood is sturdy, and the 19.5-inch diameter is larger than a lot of similar wheels.
However, the wheel is closed on one side, and it is quite narrow, which means that larger cats may struggle to fit on. And, considering its price, it lacks features like a locking mechanism to prevent the wheel from spinning when not in use. The free-standing wheel is quite easy to put together, however, which means your cat can give it a go in no time.
4. INOVEX Cat Exercise Wheel
|43.3 x 14.3 x 45.5 inches
|Wood, Carpet, Stainless Steel
The Cat Exercise Wheel is a large exercise wheel with a 41.5-inch diameter and 110-pound weight limit. It is very reasonably priced, and it has a silent mechanism that prevents the wheel from squeaking and rattling. The wheel can be locked in place, which is useful if you’re leaving the house and don’t want to leave your cat to run unattended.
There is very little gap between the treadmill and the base, which prevents accidents and injuries, and the sisal is attached by Velcro so it can be removed and easily washed to keep it looking and smelling clean. The Cat Exercise Wheel is very reasonably priced, but the Velcro can wear down and because of the size of the wheel, it can be difficult for smaller cats to get enough traction to spin the wheel.
5. ZYDDNH Cat Wheel
|28.2 x 15.7 x 14.5 inches
The Cat Wheel is a wood and carpet wheel with metal braces to keep the wheel stable. It operates quietly and has a Velcro carpet in the wheel that is easily removed and washed. The 38.5-inch diameter is suitable for most cats and the manufacturer claims it has a 200-pound weight limit, although it doesn’t feel as sturdy as some of the other wheels available.
It is very reasonably priced, though, and it has a locking mechanism to prevent unwanted usage. Some assembly is required, but it is easy to put together so it won’t be long before you can teach your cat to use it.
6. JOUDOO Cat Treadmill
|42.13 x 38.58 x 5.51 inches
|Carpet and plastic
|Available in 12 different sizes
Since the runway diameter is extra wide, your cat won’t have trouble with falling off. The wheel can be cleaned easily with a wet cloth, or the carpet liner can be vacuumed.
7. WUQIAO Cardboard Cat Exercise Wheel
|29 x 14.2 x 28 inches
|Wood and Paper
|Exercise Wheel, Scratcher
The WUQIAO Cat Exercise Wheel takes a unique approach with its design to this exercise toy. Most of this wheel is made of corrugated paper, making it environmentally friendly. Your cat can climb on this toy, scratch it until its heart is content, and get needed exercise. The WUQIAO comes in two different sizes: small and large. The small size is suitable for kittens and small young adult breeds, while the larger size is suitable for adult-sized cats. However, cats that are 15 pounds or more will not fit in the large size of this toy.
Some buyers felt that this product was too expensive because it is primarily made with corrugated paper material.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing The Best Cat Exercise Wheel
After browsing our product review list, you might still be having trouble deciding which cat exercise wheel your cat would prefer. Are these wheels safe? Are they worth the money? Will your cat even use it? To help you answer these questions and more, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide, including FAQs to give you all the information you need to know about buying a cat exercise wheel.
Considerations when buying a cat exercise wheel
There are some questions to ask yourself before buying an exercise wheel that can help you determine which one to choose.
Benefits of cat exercise wheels
The greatest benefit of a cat exercise wheel is that it will motivate your cat to exercise. In 2019, 44% of domestic cats in the U.S. were found to be obese.1 Given this statistic, it’s essential that cat owners do everything they can to give their pets a higher quality of life. It’s hard to give indoor cats the amount of exercise they need, and exercise wheels are one way to solve the problem. But would your cat actually use the wheel if you gave it to them? Cats have been shown to increase their physical activity if given the opportunity to do so. Your cat isn’t lazy because they want to be; they simply need the appropriate stimulation and opportunity to get up and move.
Training your cat to use an exercise wheel
Although your cat is likely to start using the exercise wheel on her own, you can help train your cat to use it. Placing your cat’s favorite toy on the wheel (preferably one they love to chase) will help encourage them to hop on. Once they realize they can walk or run on the wheel while chasing the toy and do so happily, you can reward them with praise or a treat as positive reinforcement for using the wheel. Treats or toys can be used as motivation to encourage your cat to jump on and off the wheel. If you choose to use treats, be mindful of your cat’s intake, so you don’t inadvertently feed them too many calories, however.
While your cat might take a while to get used to their exercise wheel, be patient. As they get used to it, they will increase the amount of time they use it for. If you have an obese cat or aren’t comfortable with using treats for training, you can also use a laser pointer. Laser pointers encourage your cat’s natural predatory instincts and give them something to chase. Just be careful not to point it in your cat’s eyes as you can damage their retinas. Be patient with your cat if she’s not immediately taken to her exercise wheel. The amount of time it takes varies greatly between individual cats. Some take to it immediately and never want to get off. Others take several days just to stand on the wheel surface, then several more days to start walking on it.
If you make training sessions positive, your cat will take to it eventually.
Are cat exercise wheels safe?
While they can look intimidating if you take a look at how cats exercise on their own, a wheel isn’t much of a stretch for your cat. Cats like to jump on tall objects, climb things, run, chase, and even slide into walls. Reputable cat wheels are wide enough that your cat won’t go flying off and hurt themselves. The cat exercise wheels listed in this review article are all safe to use for your cat.
How often should cats use the exercise wheel?
Cats should use the exercise wheel for approximately 15 minutes at a time, with a total daily playtime of about an hour. Even if your cat loves her exercise wheel, this hour of playtime should be broken up into small chunks throughout the day to encourage mental well-being, and your cat should have different types of play to prevent boredom from setting in. As with any activity, if the exercise wheel is their only outlet, your cat will become bored with it over time.
A cat wheel is a great way to try and encourage cats to get regular daily exercise, or to increase their daily exercise levels and help lose weight. Choose one that will fit your cat but isn’t so large that it’s difficult for your cat to turn, and find one that is silent when in use, or you will have to endure squeaking and rattling.
The Coziwow Exercise Wheel with Lock & Teaser Cat Treadmill is the best overall cat wheel, although very large cats might struggle to fit in. The Penn-Plax Wheeled 35-in Sisal Cat Tree is a 2-in-1 scratching post and exercise wheel that offers good value for money considering its multiple functions and uses.