Young cats are like young children in one very important way: they both seem to have unlimited supplies of energy. In the colder and darker months of the year, pet and child parents are often stuck trying to find ways to let their active charges burn off that energy indoors rather than out. Truthfully, cats of all ages are safest inside no matter the time of year.1
Whether you have a young, active cat or an older cat who’s packed on a few extra pounds, finding an easy way to exercise your indoor cat can be tough. Enter the cat exercise wheel! Resembling oversized hamster wheels, these products offer an opportunity for your cat to burn some calories while staying within the safe confines of your home.
Check out our reviews of the top six cat exercise wheels of the year to help you decide if it’s time to start your own home kitty gym!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||PawHut Activity Cat Condo||
|Best Value||Penn-Plax Wheeled Cat Tree||
|Premium Choice||TWW Treadmill Ferris Wheel||
|Best for Kittens||PawHut Hamster Wheel Cat Tree||
|Go Pet Treadwheel||
The 6 Best Cat Exercise Wheels
1. PawHut Cat Tree Activity Condo & Hamster Wheel – Best Overall
|Best for:||Cats up to 9 pounds|
|Materials:||Wood, sisal, plastic|
|Size:||31.5”L x 19.75”W x 56.25”H|
Our pick for the best overall cat exercise wheel is the PawHut Cat Tree Activity Condo with Exercise Wheel. We chose this product first because of its versatility. Not only does this cat tree offer an exercise wheel but multiple places for your kitty to snooze and scratch as well. Even if it turns out your cat isn’t a fan of running on the wheel, you can still get some use out of this tree. This product is also excellent for multi-cat households with the space for cats to play and hang out without squabbling over the activities. The exercise wheel is on the small side and large adult cats might not be able to fit well enough to use it comfortably.
On a practical note, this exercise wheel takes up less space than some others on our list and the unfinished wood can be stained or painted to match your home decor. Some owners find that the tree is a little wobbly, especially when placed on non-carpeted surfaces.
2. Penn-Plax Wheeled Sisal Cat Tree – Best Value
|Best for:||Cats up to 15 pounds|
|Materials:||Wood, sisal, carpet|
|Size:||31.5”L x 15.75”W x 35”H|
Our choice of best cat exercise wheel for the money is the Penn-Plax Wheeled Sisal Cat Tree, a smaller and less expensive option similar to our top pick. Much like our best overall choice, the main benefit of this exercise wheel is the fact that it’s not just an exercise wheel. Covered in sisal and carpet, it can also serve as a scratching post while the two attached rest platforms give your cats a place to nap. Unfortunately, all of the cat exercise wheels we reviewed are fairly expensive, including this one.
However, like our top pick, this one is more likely to be useful even if your cat is too big or too indifferent to run on the exercise wheel. This product is reportedly easy to put together and sturdy. Although it’s designed for cats up to 15 pounds, those larger felines may have a hard time using the exercise wheel. This wheel is also a good choice for homes with more than one cat.
3. TWW Treadmill Ferris Wheel – Premium Choice
|Best for:||All cats|
|Size:||46.1”L x 11.4”W x 48”H|
If you have a little extra money in your bank account, consider the TWW Treadmill Ferris Wheel. This exercise wheel is the highest priced on our list so you may want to be sure your cat is going to use it before you make the purchase. Made of sturdy PVC materials, this wheel is open on both sides for easy access to cats of all sizes. The wheel is lined with soft, easy-to-clean blanket material. The base is sturdy and the wheel is designed to turn quietly, making this a good choice for owners whose cats prefer midnight exercise sessions. Besides the high price of this product, it’s also pretty bulky and won’t exactly blend into your home decorating scheme.
4. PawHut Round Hamster Wheel Cat Tree – Best for Kittens
|Best for:||Cats up to 9 pounds|
|Materials:||Wood, sisal, carpet|
|Size:||29.5”L x 13”W x 36.5”H|
If you have kittens or unusually small adult cats, the PawHut Round Hamster Wheel Cat Tree might be the right choice for you. This is one of the best-reviewed exercise wheels we found but users are also pretty unanimous in feeling that it’s too small for most adult cats to use comfortably. This exercise wheel doesn’t take up too much space, is a neutral color, and is designed with a cute cut-out pattern on the base, making it a good option for those who care about the visual appeal of their cat furniture. Users report this wheel is easy to put together, usually not wobbly, and runs quietly.
5. Go Pet Treadwheel
|Best for:||Cats up to 25 pounds|
|Size:||19”L x 42”W x 45”H|
Although the Go Pet Treadwheel is designed and marketed for small dogs, it also works well for cats, especially larger breeds like Maine Coons or overweight kitties. This wheel is crafted out of metal, making it durable and easy to clean. The metal construction also means this wheel is a little bit heavier and will take more effort from your cat to get it spinning. It comes already assembled and ready to use out of the box which is a major bonus, especially to those who are less handy. There is some noise generated when a cat uses this wheel. The other major downside of this product is the cost, which is higher than some others on our list.
6. One Fast Cat Wheel
|Best for:||All size cats|
|Materials:||Plastic, EVA foam|
|Size:||48” wheel, 34” x 12” base|
Made of recycled plastic, the One Fast Cat Wheel is light but sturdy, a good choice for those willing to pay a little more for an earth-friendly product. Open on both sides, this exercise wheel will fit any size cat and is easy to climb in and out of for cats who might have mobility issues. It is not the best choice for small spaces due to its bulk and height. This wheel gets mixed reviews for ease of assembly and users found that it was fairly noisy. Most users found that the wheel did work well if their cats would use it, although some felt it was not as high-quality as they expected based on the price.
Buyer’s Guide: Purchasing the Best Cat Wheel
Now that you’ve read our reviews, it’s time to start narrowing down your options to find the perfect cat exercise wheel for you and your feline friend. Here are some key points to consider as you try to come to your decision.
How Much Space Do You Have?
As you found by reading our reviews, cat exercise wheels come in many different sizes and some can be quite bulky. The amount of space you have available will influence which cat wheel works best for you. Those who live in small spaces will find their options a little more limited unless they’re willing to let a piece of cat furniture dominate their living area.
How Noisy Is the Wheel?
With many cats being on more of a nocturnal waking schedule, the amount of noise generated by a cat wheel is something to consider. Some of these wheels definitely make more noise than others, which you may want to avoid unless you’re a sound sleeper or able to place the wheel far from your bedroom.
Do You Care What the Wheel Looks Like?
Cat tree shoppers will also find themselves dealing with this dilemma. The unfortunate truth is that most cat furniture and products won’t be winning any style awards and could fairly be described as ugly or tacky in most cases.
As our choice for the best overall cat exercise wheel, the PawHut Activity Condo With Hamster Wheel is a versatile option, useful even for those whose cats decline to use the wheel as intended. Our best value pick, the Penn-Plax Wheeled Sisal Cat Tree is a compact, less expensive version of our top pick with similar versatility. But if money is no option, consider the TWW Treadmill Ferris Wheel.
Hopefully, reading our reviews has given you a good introduction to the wide world of cat exercise wheels. Remember, all cats are safest inside so even if you decide against purchasing a cat wheel, resist the temptation to let your cat play outdoors and invest in some other indoor toys instead.
Featured Image Credit: Amazon