Feline obesity is fast becoming an epidemic. This is especially true of indoor cats, who don’t have as many opportunities for exercise. Having your cat indoors is far safer than leaving them at the mercy of cars, dogs, wildlife, and disease-ridden feral cats. Unfortunately the busy schedule of most homes means that your cat may suffer from boredom. A bored cat is prone to misbehaving and destroying your treasured furniture and belongings. A cat exercise wheel is a great solution to both problems. Not only will it help your cat stay fit and healthy, preventing obesity from becoming a problem in the first place, your cat will have a blast running for miles in the comfort of their own home.
If you have ever seen the wheels used in hamster and other small animal cages, then you know what a cat exercise wheel looks like. Usually constructed of metal and plastic, a cat wheel is a much larger version of the ubiquitous hamster wheel, measuring anywhere from 36 to 48 inches in diameter. The wheel is mounted on a sturdy frame, with one side open to make it safe and easy for your kitty to hop on and off.
Originally designed to help handle the increased energy of the Bengal cat breed, a cat exercise wheel has become popular with owners of all breeds of cat. Many owners report that once their cat becomes familiar with the wheel, it becomes a favorite toy, with the cat opting to use it without any coercion or bribing.
When you first get your cat wheel, don’t be surprised if your cat is initially fearful. Unless they have been raised with a wheel since they were a kitten, your cat likely won’t know what to make of this strange new contraption invading their home. Cats don’t like sudden change, so allow your kitty to get used to the presence of the wheel before attempting to get kitty to use it.
Once your cat seems comfortable around the wheel, they will likely get curious. This is when you start teaching them how it works. Begin by tempting your cat into the wheel using a favorite treat. They may be startled when the wheel starts to move underneath, so be patient and don’t get discouraged if your cat doesn’t take to it immediately. Working slowly, every day work on getting your cat into the wheel, and eventually, taking a few steps forward. Once they are completely comfortable, most cats will discover that they genuinely enjoy the ability to run, and will not need further coaching.
Whether you have a hefty cat who could stand to lose a pound or two or a bored kitty who needs more entertainment, every cat can benefit from access to an exercise wheel. Having the stimulation that regular exercise provides will not only keep your cat’s body healthy, but it will keep their mind healthy and happy as well.