DIY Cat Wheel – Build A Cat Exercise Wheel from Scratch

Everyone loves a handy DIY right? Let’s be honest they can at times be a huge headache and not worth the trouble. That’s where this guide to building your very own DIY cat wheel comes in handy.

Cat exercise wheels can be a fantastic edition to your cats life. Yes even your old cat who has seen it all could benefit from having one. They can however run at a high cost and is why many turn to a DIY cat exercise wheel.

What Is A Cat Wheel?

A cat wheel, or cat exercise wheel, works in the same way a hamster wheel does. It’s either fixed to a wall or has its own roller system allowing your cat to stretch their legs and go for a walk or run inside the wheel.

Cats will use the wheel in the same way we use a treadmill, to go for walks, exercise or to reduce stress. If you have a mostly indoor cat, they make a great use of space allowing your cat to get the exercise they need.

If you’ve been thinking about setting up an exercise cat wheel in your home but don’t want to splash the cash, this guide video by Toomany Hobbies is for you.

What You Will Need

You will need a basic list of materials to put together your very own wheel. The materials you will need to build your cat exercise wheel are as follows.

Firstly, I want you to know that you have options on the type of movement for the wheel. There are simple wheel spinners or in this DIY case a pole and bearing set up was used.

2 Pillow block bearings front and back. I recommend doing your research on which specific movement will be suitable for your home.

A 1″ black pipe fitting as seen in this DIY guide.

Plywood. Be sure to pick up slightly more than required as a rule of thumb. I recommend some strong plywood for the backboard of the wheel and then thinner more flexible ply wood for the interior of the wheel.

Some wood screws and bolts. Also a handy toolkit like the CARTMAN Orange 39-Piece Tool Set for assembly.

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A strong Wood Glue for joining the required pieces.

Wood Stain if you plan on staining afterwards, or think of some coverings. ( Some people use yoga matts )

A good quality JigSaw will be needed for the majority of the work. I recommend using the TACKLIFE Advanced 6.7 Amp 3000 SPM Jigsaw with Laser & LED

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Use good quality wood clamps for holding the glued sections over night.

Step 1: Making The Backboard

diy cat exercise wheel

Measure out the backboard, I recommend 4 foot in diameter. I found this to be an ideal diameter, of course it depends on the size of the wheel you want, and the room you are putting it in.

Mark a center point in the backboard and use a pin and marker with a ruler to draw the perfect circle. This will be your guide when making the cut.

Once you have your perfect circle marked out go ahead and begin to cut using a good quality jigsaw.

Step 2: Building The Cat Wheel

Next up you will want to make support strips for the wheel. I would recommend about 13 inches in length to create a wide enough platform for your cat to walk or run on. Dimensions used in the video. 1 1/2 x 3/4 x 13″ ribs.

Secure the strips to the board as seen in the video. A good, strong wood glue and wood clamps are required. Clamp everything together and allow to set and dry for 24 to 48 hours.

Go ahead and place the second circle base on top and measure up the internals needed to be cut out.

Use the same technique as before to get an accurate measure. Next, glue and clamp that piece on and allow to dry again for 24 to 48 hours.

Step 3: Making The Running Surface

You will begin to fill the centre with flexible plywood as seen in the video. A combination of wood glue or nails can be used to fix the ply to the support sticks. Just be sure to get the nails flush.

Take your time here as this will determine how smooth your running surface will be.

Step 4: Mounting The Exercise Wheel

There are many mounting options or ways to get your wheel to spin. In the video above, the wheel is wall mounted. It makes for a very sturdy wheel.

I’d recommend wall mounting over freestanding for the most sturdy cat wheel. Of course, that means it no longer is able to be moved as easy.

Step 5: Decorating

Go ahead and decorate the wheel how you feel comfortable. Some people use a wood stain finish while others will use a yoga mat. I loved the finished result of the cat exercise wheel below.


While I hope this guide was useful in some way, I understand that not everyone is handy with tools. If this was all a bit too much and you’re still wanting an exercise wheel for your cat, then here are some recommendations.

Looking for other DIY projects? If you want to learn how to make your own cat window perch, I recommend the cat perch article.

One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel


Cat Owners report their cat loves this wheel. It’s easy to put together and relatively affordable. A smooth running system using high quality parts should see this Cat Exercise Wheel lasting a long time.

Some users home reported their large cat ( 16 pounds and over ) has managed to knock the wheel off the rollers. This is not only annoying, but can be unsafe for your cat. I wouldn’t recommend this wheel if you have a large cat.


  • Build Quality
  • Smooth Running system
  • Easy To Put Together


  • Not Budget Friendly
  • Bigger Cats Cause The Wheel To Fall Off The Rollers
  • Not suitable for large cats

Last update on 2020-01-21 at 10:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API