A cat wheel can be an excellent addition to your cat’s usual toys and furniture, provided you buy the right one for your kitty.
Cat wheels are often made by independent sellers, so it can be tricky to determine whether you’re getting something good quality or thrown together cheaply.
So, let’s look at what makes a great cat wheel. Any cat owners that want to buy one for their feline friend can use this info to buy the best cat wheel for their kitty cat.
Why Buy a Cat Wheel
Cat wheels aren’t the first thing on your mind when buying cat toys and furnishings for your kitty. But they can be beneficial, especially for an indoor cat. You might assume wheels are best left for small rodents, but many cats will get a lot out of a wheel.
Not every cat, though. It depends entirely on whether a wheel is suitable for your kitty’s personality. However, if they tend to have bundles of energy and often seem restless or frustrated, then a wheel might be just the ticket.
A cat exercise wheel is the same as your typical hamster wheel. The idea is that your cat steps into the wheel and runs, causing the wheel to turn. It’s like their own circular cat treadmill that they power themselves for safe indoor exercise.
They can be very useful in helping your cat to avoid boredom and burn off energy. And if you want to ensure your cat is active without tearing through your home (especially if space is limited for zoomies), then a wheel can help. They’re also good for weight loss.
What to Look for in a Cat Wheel
There are several features you want to look for when choosing a good cat wheel. Cat wheels don’t come cheap, so finding the one right for your cat is crucial unless you have a load of cash to waste by trying a few first. And most of us aren’t in that position!
Cat wheels require different levels of assembly. The most premium wheels will arrive almost completely built, leaving you to just place the largest parts together. But most wheels need to be clipped together – it helps keep shipping costs down for the manufacturer, especially if they want to offer free shipping.
However, the more assembly required, the more weakness there are in the wheel, and the more places where it may snag on the base and cause the wheel to run less smoothly. Aim to buy a wheel that comes in no more than 3-4 pieces, ideally a single piece.
Cat wheels come in various sizes, and you need to make sure you get one that’s right for your home but also for your cat. Buying a small cat wheel for a breed like a Ragdoll is no good – they’ll barely fit inside it and may find it tricky to use.
At the same time, you don’t want to get an extra large cat wheel if you don’t have space in your home. Look at the measurements for the diameter and width of the wheel and base, and check that it will fit.
A cat running wheel can have different surface types, so shop around to find one that you feel is best for your cat. Some are plain plastic or wood, but you can find cat wheels with soft carpet lining for added comfort.
Some cat wheels double up as a scratcher, using sisal carpet or cardboard. You can often buy replacement surfaces, too, should your cat do enough damage with their claws. Some wheels are even double-sided, with a scratching surface on the outside of the wheel for added fun/scratch relief.
While your cat wheel is an item for your cat, that doesn’t mean it should spoil the look of your home, either. Some cat wheels are designed using natural colors to blend into the décor more. If this is important to you, look out for contemporary cat wheels in neutral shades.
The material of the cat wheel will determine how heavy it is and how strong it is. Plastic wheels will be robust and lightweight, so you can quickly move them around your home, and your cat can turn them. However, they don’t tend to look the best, and if scratched, they can harbor bacteria.
Wooden cat wheels are a good choice but look for solid woods rather than cheaper, weaker composites.
Cat wheels use different methods to turn, including castor wheels, rollers, or just a central nut that the wheel spins around. It’s essential to make sure that the cat wheel is safe for your kitty by choosing one with the rollers or wheels hidden if that’s the method of choice.
Make sure your cat can’t get their paws trapped in any mechanisms that might be exposed, as they could really hurt themselves.
Unless your cat is particularly sensitive to loud noises, a cat wheel is unlikely to bother them – the potential rattling or scraping noise as the wheel spins quickly builds up as they run, so they will probably be fine.
But buying a cheaper wheel that isn’t designed to keep noise to a minimum could really bother you!
A quieter wheel will run smoothly and won’t cause you to get woken in the middle of the night when your cat decides it’s exercise time.
Because many cat wheels are made by independent manufacturers and small businesses, you can often make custom requests. Look out for cat wheels that let you change the color, the surface material, or add other customizations.
Another thing to consider is whether you’re buying from a trusted seller. With good-quality cat wheels being a little more costly, you might find that many sellers don’t have hundreds of positive reviews.
So, take the time to read the reviews that they do have in detail. Look at any customer photos or videos to help you determine that the reviews are real. That way, you’ll know that real customers have bought the product and are happy – so you likely will be too.
The O Mer Design Cat Wheel
The O Mer Design Cat Wheel ticks all the boxes for a good cat wheel. It’s a premium wheel shipped in one piece – just insert it into the base (which is also pre-assembled), and it’s ready for your cat to use.
It comes in different sizes and has a carpeted surface as standard, but if you want to change that or get a custom-sized wheel, then you only need to ask. You can even have your cat’s name inlaid on the base if you want to really put a personal stamp on it!
It uses smooth wheels to spin the main wheel, which are hidden away in the base for total safety, and it’s made from high-quality Baltic birch wood, which is durable without being super-heavy. It’s also made in the USA.
Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,