Cats need exercise and some breeds are more energetic than others. One innovation is a cat wheel, a larger, more sophisticated version of a hamster wheel. Cats can get on the wheel and walk or run to their heart’s content.
Do cats really use cat wheels? It depends on the cat. Some breeds use it right away while others don’t like it. Some of the more exotic breeds like Bengals, Russian Blues, Siamese, and Maine Coons are more likely to use it, according to one cat wheel manufacturer. That is likely because these are more high-energy breeds.
Read further to find out if a cat wheel is a good choice for your cat.
Cats and Exercise
Cats are known for laying around and taking naps. Yet, cats need at least 15 minutes of exercise daily to ward off depression and obesity. Most need more, especially the more exotic breeds that have wild cats in their ancestry.
Cat exercise is any type of physical activity outside of a normal routine. This means it has to raise their heart rate and gets them to be active. It can be you using a feather wand to get them to play, puzzle games, walks, outside play, or something like a cat wheel.
What Is a Cat Wheel?
Cat wheels are running wheels designed for felines. Most are four feet in diameter and have a sturdy platform that allows the wheel to roll. the 10-inch wide tread gives your cat room so it won’t injure itself.
The tread is covered with rubber so your furry friend can gain traction without getting snagged.
Health Benefits of a Cat Wheel
Veterinarians state a cat wheel can help a feline lose weight, improve muscles, help with joint flexibility, and reduce the risks of issues like heart problems, respiratory disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis.
A cat will also increase a cat’s confidence, improves mental stimulation, and helps reduce anxiety as well as behavioral issues.
The one caution vets have about using a cat wheel is its use with older cats. Veterinarians recommend that pet owners have their senior cat checked out before getting them a cat wheel.
There have been some debates about the safety of cat wheels but it’s been shown that major brands manufacturing them produce devices that are safe for felines to use regularly.
Pros and Cons of a Cat Wheel
Cat wheels aren’t new to the pet industry but are now just being discovered by pet owners. These devices have advantages and disadvantages and anyone picking one out should do some research before buying one.
- A cat wheel helps a cat overcome a sedentary lifestyle.
- It stimulates their minds as well as their bodies.
- It can keep cats from waking up family members at night.
- It keeps cats from getting bored and depressed.
- It entertains the feline while family members are away, keeping the cat from being destructive.
- All cat wheels require assembly and some assembly can be difficult.
- Cat wheels can be expensive with some priced at $500 or more.
Why Cat Owners Like Cat Wheels?
Pet owners that use cat wheels state the device allows their cat to burn off energy when they aren’t home or even at night while the family is sleeping. Cats like to explore at night and the cat wheel gives them that opportunity to exercise without keeping the family up crying to go out.
Those who own cat wheels say they are quiet, even while the feline is using them, so the family can sleep through the night undisturbed.
Which Cats Are Best for Cat Wheels?
Certain felines take to cat wheels better than others. Those with moderate to high energy levels like it best. These are cats that will race through the house throughout the day and night.
Larger cats that have a wild cat ancestry seem to get the best use out of cat wheels. These are cats that are typically extremely high-energy animals. They are also incredibly intelligent, which means they can get bored easily.
These breeds include Savannahs, Egyptian Maus, Abyssinians, Maine Coons, Siamese, Bengals, and Toygers.
Regardless of breed, cats need the training to learn to use an exercise wheel. Proper training will make it a safe activity for them.
Working the Cat Wheel
The cat wheel works the same as a hamster wheel. A cat steps on it and it turns as the cat walks. The wheel turns faster as the cat picks up their gait.
Training for the exercise wheel begins with the pet owner getting the animal familiar with the wheel. This starts with enticing the cat to get on the wheel using treats or catnip. A feather toy can also be used to get the cat on the wheel and moving.
It will take a while to get the cat accustomed to the wheel and how it moves. Be patient as you work with your cat and don’t force the cat to get on it or use it. Let him work out accepting it at his own pace.
Training is the key component in getting your cat to use a cat wheel. Cats that are never trained likely will never use it.
Cats that are properly trained will likely use the wheel several times throughout the day and night and get far more exercise than the minimum 15-minute recommended amount.
Picking a Cat Wheel
There are several brands of cat wheels on the market so it’s best to check them all out before you pick one. Most recommend the One Fast Cat wheel as a top pick. It is veterinarian recommended, as is the Paws and Fish Cat Wheel. However, there are at least 10 brands from which to choose.
They come in different sizes, designs, and prices. Some are even incorporated into cat trees or cat jungle gyms. Be sure to get a cat wheel that fits your size of cat. Smaller cats can use something more compact while larger cats need a larger wheel with a wider tread.
Generally, a larger wheel will work for all cats if you have several felines of different sizes.Some are affordable while others are incredibly expensive so you will need to check on all their websites to figure you which one best fits your budget.
Cat wheels are also created to be stylish so that they fit with almost any type of home decor. Most come in neutral colors but offer different patterns on the tread or other features of the wheel.
Things to pay attention to are safety features, the sturdiness of the construction, the type of materials used in construction, the type of tread on the wheel, how quiet it is, and how easy it is to clean.
You will also want to make sure the rollers work smoothly on the track so the cat won’t have to deal with a bounce effect.
Cat wheels can be helpful to cats who spend a lot of time indoors and especially for those felines who are left alone for long periods. It can help tire out your feline during high-energy times, like night, and keep them from being bored or depressed.
Whether or not you need one depends on your cat’s personality, the time you can spend training her to use it, and your budget.