It’s 4am and your cat has the zoomies again. You’re sleep deprived as it is and you’re basically out of options. You think to yourself “there must be something she can play with instead of running back and forth so much”. And it hits you - your cat needs to run, it’s just your misfortune that they need to run at 4am. And what solution is there for a problem like this?
A cat exercise wheel.
Yes, they are a little expensive, at least in terms of cat toys, but they solve a big problem for cat owners - the zoomies. Yes, your cat can run forever on a cat wheel. And that means if you get the right one, you’re not going to need to listen to their little paws hitting the floor as they jump from couch to table to floor.
Now, the market for a cat exercise wheel is a little rough. These items are large, cumbersome, and expensive. Most people don’t get their cat an exercise wheel, but I guess most people don’t love their cats as much as you do, dear reader.
This makes choosing an exercise wheel a rather difficult task. There’s very few reviews found online, and very few people talking about the magnificent inventions, unlike cat shelves which everyone seems to love. But we’re here to help. Below, find our top choices for a cat exercise wheel in 2023 (and yes, every year we look to see if there are any new choices we can include in the list).
The Best Cat Exercise Wheels of 2023
- PawHut Round Hamster-Wheel Style Cat Exercise Wheel
- PawHut Cat Exercise Wheel Treadmill
- Penn-Plax Spin Kitty Cat Wheel
- Homegroove Cat Exercise Wheel
Now, let's dive into each of these products to get a better understanding of what it is they actually have to offer.
PawHut Round Hamster-Wheel Style Cat Exercise Wheel
Our top choice this year is the PawHut because of its sturdy quality and affordability. In fact, this is probably the sturdiest cat wheel you can buy, and it’s one of the cheapest as well. Maybe sturdiness doesn’t come to mind when purchasing a cat wheel for you, but imagine how traumatizing it would be for your kitten if they fell over on a cat wheel.
PawHut Cat Exercise Wheel Pros
The pros are simple: it’s sturdy, well made, and well thought out. Meaning the PawHut team actually thought of all the use cases for it. It has sisal on the exterior of the wheel so your cats can claw at it, it has carpet on the inside of the wheel so when they get tired they can sleep on it, and it’s got a beautiful natural wood color.
PawHut Cat Exercise Wheel Cons
The downsides of this cat wheel are simple to understand as well. The primary issue this wheel faces is it’s size. This will work fine for kittens and smaller cats, but after 12 pounds, it’s going to get a little tight in there. You’re also going to have to fight with it a bit when you get it, as you will need to assemble it, but that’s really not much of a con in our opinion.
Dimensions: 29.5”L x 13”W x 36.5”H
Recommended Size: Cats under 9 pounds
PawHut Cat Exercise Wheel Treadmill
Next on our list is PawHut again. They really seem to know how to make a high quality cat exercise wheel. This Treadmill model is on the upper end, and it’s a step up in build quality from their Hamster-Style wheel we talked about above. Now, the Treadmill has a natural wooden grain that looks absolutely beautiful, and they stripped out that ugly design in the base on the Hamster Style wheel. This gives it a much more elegant look. Outside of the looks, not much has changed here.
PawHut Cat Exercise Wheel Treadmill Pros
The pros are the same as the previous - it looks great, it’s really sturdy and well made, and well thought out. Again, you’re going to find a carpeted inner wheel to allow a smoother quieter run (trust us, you will appreciate this at 3am). And they shed the sisal from the exterior since it’s not really practical for cats to be scratching the outside of a wheel. One of the best features you will find on this wheel as compared to the last is the addition of a brake device to force stop the wheel so your cats can't use it all day. And to top it all off, this wheel is accessible on both sides, so you have a bit more flexibility in where to put it.
PawHut Cat Exercise Wheel Treadmill Cons
Well, the biggest con to this design is the price. It’s quite expensive, but you get what you pay for in terms of quality. The other issue you will face is that your cat will grow out of this unless they stay very small. In fact, it’s even smaller than the other one!
Dimensions: 23.5”L x 12.5”W x 26.25”H
Recommended Size: Cats under 9 pounds
Penn-Plax Spin Kitty Cat Wheel
Next on our list is the Penn-Plax cat exercise wheel. Now, this wheel is again super high quality, made out of wood, and a reasonable price (at least as far as cat wheels go). There’s not a huge unique selling point to this wheel, but it’s about the same quality as the previous two and has a bit different of a design. These decisions come down to preference more than anything, as both options are high quality and expected to last a long time.
Penn-Plax Cat Wheel Pros
Like the others go, the biggest pro to this cat wheel is the sturdiness. Your cat won’t be knocking it down easily. It also has a comfortable carpet interior to help muffle noise and provide comfort for your cat. It’s all wood and has a very minimalist design to it, so if the other options have a bit too much flavor for your house, this one might be the perfect fit.
Penn-Plax Cat Wheel Cons
There’s two big cons with this cat wheel. One is that, like the others, it can’t really handle larger cats. Under 10 pounds should be good, but over that, they aren’t going to really be able to open up. The other issue we see with these is that it’s hard to buy. They are usually out of stock.
Dimensions: 23.62”L x 12.99”W x 35.83”H
Recommended Size: Cats under 10 pounds
Homegroove Cat Exercise Wheel
The last on our short list of cat exercise wheels is the Homegroove. This one really shares a design with the PawHut Treadmill model, but in a more muted color, so again, it’s more about the appearance than anything. Homegroove hits all the features the others have - sturdy, clean design, easy to set up. The biggest issue we’ve seen on this wheel is that it can be a bit noisy.
Homegroove Cat Exercise Wheel Pros
The pros are simple - it can hold a lot of weight, and may be the best option on our list if your cat is a little larger. The wheel is well made, and even has the stopper if you want to prevent your cats running on it all night (not sure why you would ever do that). It’s wooden and clean looking.
Homegroove Cat Exercise Wheel Cons
Now for the issues - the biggest one is that it’s kind of loud. Not that it’s so loud it’s annoying, but you can hear it and at night it might be a little too loud for your liking. Outside of that, it’s an incredibly well made alternative to the PawHut monopoly on cat wheels.
Dimensions: 31.4”L x 13.5”W x 39.3”H
Recommended Size: Cats under 12 pounds
Frequently Asked Questions
How To Train A Cat To Use A Cat Wheel?
Most active cats will hop right onto an exercise wheel, but not all cats have that bravery. If you need to train your cat to get on a moving wheel, it can be difficult, but not impossible. The easiest thing to do is entice them to try it using catnip. Sprinkle some on the cat running wheel and see if they at least get in there. After that, it's all about giving them space and time.
Your cat may not seem interested in the moment to start running on their new exercise wheel, but at 2am they may have a different opinion entirely.
Will Cats Really Use An Exercise Wheel?
Yes, it's some cat's favorite toy. It's a great way to keep your cat entertained and it's vital for indoor cats to have a way to get some decent exercise. Cats love to run, so an exercise wheel is a natural stimulant for them.
What Size Does An Exercise Wheel Need To Be For My Cat?
The best cat exercise wheel is one that your cat uses. With that being said, all cats are different sizes, so the size of the cat wheel matters a lot based on your furry friend. As a general rule, 40 inches in diameter is considered "safe", but if you have a larger cat, you may need a larger wheel.
Remember that cats stretch out while they run, so the wheel needs to be large enough to accommodate that position.
Are Cat Exercise Wheels Safe?
Yes, exercise wheels are generally safe if made well. The same safety rules apply to an exercise wheel as they do to a cat tree - a cat can knock it down if they want to. Most cat exercise wheels are more stable than a cat tree, since they need to hold a rotating wheel.
When determining safety, ensure the bearings are strong and the base is stable. Outside of that, look at items that can affect your cat's safety, such as a gap between the base and the wheel that they could get stuck in.
How Do I Choose The Best Cat Wheel?
The best cat exercise wheel is one your cat uses, but the materials and craftsmanship willl determine how long it lasts in your home. As cat parents, we know how challenging this can be. The cat exercise wheels selected above all have a sturdy design to ensure that you can keep your cat active for years to come on the exercise wheel.