How To Build a Cat Wheel

Exercise wheels for cats are great pieces of equipment which could potentially give your cat a new lease of life. They can however be quite a large expense. So if you have a penchant for DIY then you may like the idea of building a cat exercise wheel yourself.

There are hundreds of different ways you can build a cat exercise wheel, we have put together a basic guide below which you are welcome to adapt or completely change as you see fit.

Materials Needed To Build a Cat Wheel

Before you start this project gather the following supplies together:

  • A heavy duty caster wheel
  • Plywood (plenty of it), including some strong thick plywood for the backboard and thinner plywood for the running area.
  • Screws and bolts
  • Wood glue
  • Wood stain

Building the Wheel’s Backboard

Measure out your wheel’s backboard, this should ideally have a diameter somewhere between 110cm – 140cm. An easy way to mark out your backboard circle is to get a piece of string half the length of your intended diameter and attach a pen to one end and a pin to the other and then draw a circle all the way around.

Having done this you can then cut out the backboard for your exercise wheel using a jigsaw (or a hand saw…or indeed any type of saw).

Building the Cat Run Way

Next you will need to cut strips of plywood to size to create the running area for your cat wheel. We recommend aiming to cut these strips to a size of roughly 35cm or so in width. You will need to cut enough strips to be able to cover the circumference of the backboard twice over for extra strength.

Securing Your Cat Wheel Together

Liberally cover the touching surfaces of your wheel with plenty of wood glue and then tightly clamp all of the surfaces together and leave for at least 24 hours. You should also nail the parts together too for extra strength.

Once your wheel is firmly secured together you should then sand it down as finely as you can to help give it a great looking finish. When you have done this feel free to finish off with some nice wood stain.

Now it is time to make your base stand for the wheel to go on.

Making the Base

First cut an area out of the thick plywood which has a similar width to the diameter of your wheel to prevent it falling over. Take a thick strong piece of wood which is long enough to keep the wheel off the floor and strong enough to support it’s weight with a cat running on it.

Drill a hole through the top of that piece of wood to thread the caster wheel mechanism through. Bolt this piece of wood securely to the base plywood and an additional 45 degree support on either side of the wood as shown in the video above. Don’t forget to stain the base too!

Making Your Cat Exercise Wheel Spin

The caster wheel is now required. First remove the actual wheel, you wont need this. Where the wheel was thread a bolt through this part and into your wooden support beam (as shown in the video above at 1:23). Attach the other part of the caster to your cat exercise wheel.

Hopefully you should now have a more or less fully functional cat exercise wheel!


If you have done all this and your attempt at building a cat wheel resembles little more than a misshapen wooden circle or you’ve read through this guide and decided that you don’t fancy this much DIY then you can always have a look at some of our cat wheel reviews here instead.

For more detailed instructions and a slightly different design have a look at this design over at Instructables.