How to Make a Cat Wheel? 12 Easy Step

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If you’ve ever aimed to ensure the happiness and health of your cat, like my dear Whiskers, I’ve discovered the importance of providing her with engaging activities.

That’s why I’ve delved into a creative and enjoyable idea to enrich Whiskers’ daily life—constructing a cat wheel, a specialized exercise wheel designed exclusively for her.

What makes it even better? I can put it together right at home, and it’s a project that not only brings joy but is also budget-friendly.

With the do-it-yourself approach, I can customize the design to suit Whiskers’ preferences and seamlessly fit into my living space.

Whether my beloved feline companion prefers the comfort of indoors or the excitement of the great outdoors, a cat wheel presents an excellent opportunity to encourage exercise and play.

This guide will guide me through each step of the process, detailing the materials required to craft how to make a cat wheel.

Beyond the physical health advantages for Whiskers, this personally tailored creation is sure to bring happiness to both her and me.

I’m eager to embark on this thrilling journey of creating a one-of-a-kind and personalized cat wheel, promising moments of enjoyment and fitness in Whiskers’ daily routine!

Tools Required

Alright, as we gear up for this exciting adventure of crafting the perfect exercise wheel for our feline friends, let’s take a closer look at the essential tools we’ll want right by our side.

First things first, grab that trusty circular saw – it’s the go-to for making precise cuts in our chosen materials. The drill, accompanied by a set of drill bits, will be our reliable companion for creating holes and securing the various components.

To add that smooth finishing touch, we’ll need a Forstner bit, approximately 1 inch in size, and a handheld sander or sanding block to ensure every surface feels just right.

The hacksaw will come in handy for any necessary cutting, and our trusty hammer will be there for those satisfying moments of securing things firmly in place.

The dynamic duo of a jigsaw and miter saw will be our partners in precision, ensuring our cat wheel takes shape flawlessly. For those looking to add a touch of finesse to our creation, considering the use of a router (optional but adds a nice touch) could be a great idea.

Painter’s tape becomes our artistic ally, helping us achieve clean lines and professional-looking edges. Keeping a pencil nearby for creative markings and a speed square to maintain accuracy throughout the process is essential.

When it comes to securing everything in place, our must-have tool is the trusty staple gun, and a tape measure ensures our dimensions are spot on.

Two tongue and groove pliers prove invaluable for various adjustments, while a utility carpet or an X-acto knife provides cutting precision.

Lastly, keeping everything steady with some reliable wood clamps is crucial. Armed with this personalized arsenal of tools, we’re well-prepared to embark on our cat’s unique exercise wheel adventure. Happy crafting, fellow feline enthusiasts!

Tools Required for cat wheel

Materials I Used:

  • 13 pieces of 1-inch wood dowels
  • 2 pieces of 8-ft. 2×4 lumber
  • 1 sheet of 4×8-ft. plywood (minimum thickness of 1/2 inch)
  • 4 bolts (at least 1-1/2 inches long), along with nuts and washers
  • 5/8-inch roller ball bearing
  • Artificial turf or carpet runner
  • Cardboard scrap for a compass
  • A heavy-duty caster – 2 inches
  • Paint (optional)
  • Sandpaper
  • Staples for my trusty staple gun
  • Wood glue
  • Wood screws – 2 inches and 1-1/4 inches

If you’ve ever scrolled through the cat internet, you’ve likely come across those amusing cat wheels. Similar to hamster wheels, these contraptions either spin on an axis or rest on a skateboard wheel base.

Larger cat breeds, like Bengals, seem to enjoy their exercise routines on these wheels while their owners binge-watch Netflix.

With my chunky cat in mind, who could benefit from a bit of weight management, I embarked on the journey of making a cat wheel.
While cardboard versions were an option, I chose to work with wood for durability.

A plywood wheel, pine lath running platform, and a 2×4 base were my chosen materials to ensure stability for my larger-than-life feline friend.

Plywood and 2x4s were easily accessible. However, after finding three stores out of stock on wood lath, I pivoted to dowels.

They’re sturdy and, when glued into the plywood backing, provide solid support for the carpet runway. Plus, they were in stock – a win!

A quick tip: half-inch dowels proved to be too small and tricky to handle during gluing and clamping. If you’re thinking of taking on this project, opt for one-inch dowels.

Now, a little heads-up: cat wheels can be noisy, and mine was no exception. I used a heavy-duty caster and roller ball bearing, making it quite loud on plywood. To minimize the noise, consider using two radial bearings and an axle.

Building a DIY cat wheel is a bit of a time investment. I did my best to navigate through the challenges, but it truly is a labor of love.

Lastly, there’s no guarantee that your cat will take to it. If your cat already enjoys running on a wheel, you might have better luck than I did.

Despite not being a fan of laser pointers, I made an exception this time, with moderate success. It’s a delightful and engaging project, and it’s sure to spark some interesting conversations. Ready to dive in? Let’s get started!

Step-by-Step Procedure

Step 1: Cutting the Plywood

Let’s begin by securing the 4- by 8-ft. plywood and carefully slicing it into two equal 4- by 4-ft. pieces using a reliable circular saw. Thinking about precision, mark the centers of these plywood pieces with the help of your trusty tape measure.

Now, let’s create a simple compass from cardboard – cut a narrow strip longer than the circle’s radius and attach one end to the plywood center using a screw or nail.

Measure 21 inches from the center, make a hole for the pencil, and draw a big 42-in. circle with the compass. Choose between a jigsaw and router to skillfully cut both plywood pieces into perfect 42-in. circles. Adjust the compass to draw a 39-in.

circle on one piece and a 39-in. and 36-in. circle on the other. Going forward, carefully cut out the 36-in. circle, leaving a 3-in. wooden ring, which you can set aside for use as the base.

If you’re interested in more DIY projects, you might also want to check out our guide on how to keep a cat out of a room.

Cutting the Plywood

Step 2: Cutting Dowels and 2x4s

Now, let’s tackle the dowels and 2x4s. Bundle together three to five dowels using tape for easier handling. With the precision of a miter saw, cut the bundled dowels into neat 1-ft. sections.

Transitioning to the 2x4s, cut one into four equal pieces, and take the other, slicing it into a single 34-in. piece while saving the remaining end for later use.

Cutting Dowels

Step 3: Drilling Holes

Now, focus on drilling holes. Mark the 39-inch. lines on both plywood pieces at 2-1/2-inch. intervals, especially crucial when using 1-inch dowels. Use a 1-inch Forstner bit to skillfully drill holes halfway through both plywood pieces at marked intervals.

To make the gluing process smoother in the next step, think about cutting the 3-in. ring piece into four sections. While this step is optional, it can help attach the top ring piece onto the dowels, especially if you run into difficulties and have a limited number of clamps.

Drilling Holes

Step 4: Securing Dowels

Now, let’s get hands-on with securing those dowels—precision and care are crucial: Lay the 42-inch. circle flat on your workbench with the center mark facing upward.

Before using glue, do a dry run with the dowels to ensure a perfect fit into the holes, making sure they stand evenly for your furry friend’s comfort.

After a successful dry run, apply wood glue to the holes in one-quarter section. Gently insert the dowels, turning and pushing them until fully seated into the holes.

Once the dowels are snug, spread wood glue on top and carefully position one top ring section. Use at least two clamps to hold the section in place. Double-check that the dowels maintain a 90-degree angle to the base for stability.

Repeat this process with the other sections. After clamping the ring sections together, secure them with staples for added stability while the glue sets.

Step 5: Building the Base

Creating a sturdy base is essential for stability and support: Stand four equal-sized 2x4s on end to form a square. Apply glue to the ends and secure them together with screws. Place the base on top of the saved 36-in.

Plywood circle and outline the perimeter with a pencil. Use a circular saw to cut the plywood along the outline. Attach the square plywood piece to the base using a mix of glue and screws, ensuring the base is flipped over for added stability.

Enhance the base’s structural integrity by attaching a 34-inch 2×4 vertically at the back, ensuring it’s centered with the short side against the back.

Building the Base of cat wheel

Step 6: Making and Attaching Cross Braces

Introducing the superheroes of stability—cross braces: Measure the distance from the side of the upright 2×4 to the side wall of the base with precision.

Divide this distance by 0.707, the cosine of a 45-degree angle, for a perfect fit. With the measurements in hand, cut the cross braces precisely, beveling both ends at a 45-degree angle using a miter saw.

Fit the cross braces between the upright 2×4 and the base, applying glue and securing them in place with screws. This careful craftsmanship ensures your cat wheel stands sturdy and stable for endless feline adventures.

Step 7: Creating Plywood Support

So, grab a piece of plywood, around 6 inches by 6 inches, or even bigger if you’re feeling adventurous. This bad boy is gonna be the backbone of your cat wheel, giving it the stability it deserves.

Whip out your Speed square – yeah, that right-angled hero – and draw some lines right through the center of that plywood. Make sure those lines reach to the edges. We’re talking precision here!

Now, let loose with a jigsaw and cut that plywood into a shape fit for a cat kingdom. A cat shape, or maybe just leave it square for simplicity – your call.

Place the caster backing right on those drawn lines and mark where the four bolt holes should go on the plywood. Get your 3/8-inch drill bit and drill those holes with surgeon-like precision.

Align the wheel backing cutout with the support, mark the bolt holes on the plywood, and drill them out. We want this thing solid, you know?

Step 8: Preparing the Upright

Time to disassemble the caster – save that bolt and nut, though, they’re gonna be our heroes later. Stick the caster snugly on the vertical 2×4, about two inches from the top. Mark those bolt-hole spots and remove the caster like a pro.

Now, drill straight through those marks on the 2×4 with a 1/2-inch drill bit. This hole is where the magic happens. Reattach the caster with that reserved bolt and nut.

Hang on, we’re not done. About 18 to 20 inches below the caster, slap on a 5/8-inch roller ball bearing. This baby is essential for smooth cat wheel sailing.

Step 9: Attaching Wheel to Base

Drop the wheel upright on the ground. If you’ve got a buddy around, grab them for the next moves. Lift that wheel and slide a bolt with a washer through the plywood into the caster’s bolt hole. Add another washer and secure it with a nut.

Now, get your buddy to lend a hand while you add the rest of the hardware. Tighten those bolts and nuts with a nut driver and some pliers. We want this thing to be rock solid.

Give the wheel a spin to make sure it’s gliding smoothly. If there are any rogue bolt ends sticking out, whip out a hacksaw and chop ’em off.

Step 10: Painting

Now, it’s decision time – to paint or not to paint? Fancy it up with some spray paint if you’re feeling artsy. Just make sure you’re not turning your garage into a foggy art studio. Protect the plants and structures from overspray, you know the drill.

Spray on cat wheel

Step 11: Adding Carpet Runner

We’re in the homestretch now. Grab a carpet runner, cut it 1 inch wider than the running platform, and throw it onto the wheel. Use carpet tape or glue to keep it in place. Fold the front edge inside for that extra neat finish.

Adding Carpet Runner

Step 12: Turf and Finishes

If your base isn’t painted, throw on some turf or carpet for that polished look. Glue or staple it on, covering the wheel’s outer edge. Get creative – add scratchers, maybe a touch of glam. Now, coax your cat onto the wheel and let the feline adventures begin!

Benefits of a cat wheel for my cats

Absolutely! Let’s dive into how I, as a cat owner, see the benefits of a cat wheel:

Physical Exercise:

You know, when my furry friend jumps on that cat wheel, it’s like they’ve transported themselves back to their wild roots. The way they run and sprint provides a solid aerobic workout.

I can’t help but feel good knowing it’s doing wonders for their cardiovascular system, improving blood circulation, and giving their little hearts a boost.

And speaking of boosts, let’s talk weight management. Indoor cats often struggle with those extra pounds. But with the cat wheel, it’s like they’ve got a personal gym.

It’s a controlled and consistent way for them to burn off calories, helping with weight management and steering clear of issues like diabetes. It’s my secret weapon against kitty obesity!

Physical Exercise of cat on cat wheel

Mental Stimulation:

Now, my cat’s no couch potato, and I owe that to the cat wheel. It’s their boredom buster. The unpredictable motions and that whole “chase” vibe tap into their inner predator, preventing any hint of boredom or monotony.

It’s like a mental workout that keeps them sharp, curious, and on their toes. And stress? Well, let’s just say the cat wheel is my cat’s therapist.

Regular exercise it helps them shake off excess energy, leaving them in a more zen-like state. It’s like their daily stress-relief routine, making for one content and relaxed feline companion.

Joint and Muscle Health:

As my cat ages, joint health becomes a concern. The gentle, repetitive motion of the cat wheel is like therapy for their joints. It’s especially great for senior cats or those with arthritis, keeping their joints flexible and preventing any stiffness.

And muscles? Oh, they’re getting a full workout every time they run and climb on that wheel. It’s like having a personal trainer for my cat’s agility and overall well-being.


Interactive play is a must for my cat, and the cat wheel delivers. The bond we share gets stronger as they engage in this interactive activity.

Some wheels even come with cool features like LED lights or toys, adding an extra layer of entertainment. It’s not just exercise; it’s a fun playtime session that brings us closer together.

And let’s talk about their environment. The cat wheel introduces novelty into their lives, stimulating their curiosity and sense of exploration. It’s like giving them their very own amusement park right in our living room.

Indoor Solution:

For my indoor explorer, the cat wheel is a blessing. It offers an outlet for physical activity and exploration, letting them engage in natural behaviors without the risks of the great outdoors.

It’s their little slice of the wild within the safety of our home. And don’t get me started on weather-independent exercise. Rain, snow, extreme temperatures—none of that stops my cat from getting their daily dose of exercise.

The cat wheel is a reliable solution, ensuring they stay active no matter what Mother Nature throws our way.

Social Interaction:

In my multi-cat household, the cat wheel becomes a hub of activity. Designed for simultaneous use by multiple cats, it encourages shared exercise sessions.

It’s like a family workout routine, fostering positive social interaction and strengthening the bonds between my furry companions. It’s a win-win for both physical and social well-being.

Health Monitoring:

Now, I’m no vet, but regular use of the cat wheel gives me a chance to be a vigilant cat parent. I can observe my cats up close—watching their gait, posture, and energy levels during exercise.

It’s like having a health check-in every time they hop on the wheel. If anything seems off, it’s a cue for me to schedule a vet visit, ensuring their well-being is always a top priority.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is making a cat wheel a difficult DIY project?

Not at all! Crafting a cat wheel can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. With the right tools, materials, and a bit of patience, you can create a customized cat wheel tailored to your feline friend’s needs.

What materials are commonly used for building a cat wheel?

Plywood, 2×4 lumber, a caster wheel, bolts, nuts, a roller ball bearing, and a carpet runner are commonly used materials. You can also add your creative touch by including paint and additional embellishments.

Do I need advanced carpentry skills to make a cat wheel?

Basic carpentry skills are beneficial, but many cat wheel designs are beginner-friendly. Detailed step-by-step instructions and online tutorials can guide you through the process, making it accessible to cat owners with varying skill levels.

Can I customize the size of the cat wheel to suit my cat’s preferences?

Absolutely! Tailoring the dimensions of the cat wheel to match your cat’s size and activity level is a great idea. A larger wheel may be suitable for more active cats, while a smaller one might be perfect for smaller breeds.

How long does it take to build a cat wheel?

The time required depends on your familiarity with woodworking and the complexity of your chosen design. Generally, you can expect to complete the project in a day or two with dedicated effort.

Can I involve my cat in the process of building the cat wheel?

While it’s essential to ensure your cat’s safety during construction, some cats enjoy observing DIY activities. Supervise their involvement to prevent accidents, and make sure the environment is safe for them.


In conclusion, crafting a cat wheel is a fulfilling endeavor that brings numerous benefits to both you and your feline companion.

It’s a DIY project that allows you to create a personalized and engaging exercise tool tailored to your cat’s unique needs and preferences.

Building a cat wheel isn’t just about constructing a piece of furniture; it’s about investing time and effort into enhancing your cat’s environment and providing them with a source of entertainment and exercise.

Plus, the satisfaction of seeing your cat happily running on a wheel you built is truly priceless.

So, gather your tools, unleash your creativity, and embark on the journey of creating a cat wheel that will undoubtedly contribute to your cat’s happiness and health.

For more insights into cat behavior, you might find our article on why is my cat obsessed with me interesting.

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