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 addition to your cat’s life. Yes, even your old cat who has seen it all could benefit from having one. They can 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 that is perhaps bored of their Cat Tree, Exercise wheels make for an excellent alternative.

What You Will Need

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

Wall Mount

  • 2 x Pillow block bearings
  • 1″ Black pipe fitting suitable for block bearing attachment
  • Plywood or Aluminum sheets
  • Wood or Metal Screws and blots
  • Clamps
  • Specialized glue

Free Standing

  • Roller wheels of your choice
  • Plywood or Aluminum sheets
  • Wood or Metal Screws and blots
  • Clamps
  • Specialized wood glue

Firstly, I want you to know that you have options for the type of movement the wheel will have. There are simple wheel spinners such as roller blade wheels or, you can mount a pole on the wall and use a fixed bearing set up.

The wall mount is the more difficult choice, but really it’s up to you. Below is a guide on what’s needed.

Whether using Plywood or Alimunium, 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 plywood for the interior of the wheel.

If building a free-standing cat wheel, you won’t need plywood for the backboard. See the video at the end of this article if you are more of a visual person.

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

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A strong suitable Glue for joining the required pieces will be needed.

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

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 overnight.

Step 1: Making The Backboard

diy cat exercise wheel

First, measure out the backboard using cardboard as a guide. I recommend 4 foot in diameter or 48 inch 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 an exact 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.

Secure the strips to the board, 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 center with flexible plywood. 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. You can build a base with wheel runners that will allow the wheel to spin or you can go for the wall-mounted option.

If you have the know-how, 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.

Don’t expect your wheel to be perfectly balanced on the first go. It may take some adjusting or thinking outside the box to get your wheel steady.

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.

Here is an awesome fun video of Evan and Katelyn attempting to make their own cat 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.

If you don’t fancy a DIY job you can always look into purchasing a cat tree with a cat wheel included. Here’s one I’d recommend below.

Penn-Plax Wheeled 35-in Sisal Cat Tree

Last update on 2021-07-27 at 07:05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API