I know it is common for hamsters to run on a wheel, do cats also interested in such running wheels?
Cat wheels are fairly well known among Bengal cat enthusiasts, as the outcross with the Asian Leopard Cat has given them much more energy than a typical house cat.
The owners of the Maclaw Wheel (a wheel manufacturer in UK) state:
Unfortunately we are unable to tell you 100% if your cat will use our wheel, but with that said, ANY cat has the potential, it really just depends on the cat and how much effort you are willing to put in.
Some breeds of cat no matter what the age will just use the cat wheel with very little training...
The breeds we have much success with are.
- Bengal (inc early gen F1-F4)
- Egyptian Mau
- Russian Blue
- Maine Coon
You should still keep in mind, there are no guarantees that your cat will use the wheel, each and every cat is different and you need to consider the personality of your cat when purchasing a wheel.
Another cat wheel manufacturer, One Fast Cat, suggests that the following qualities are important to determine before purchasing a cat wheel.
There are two ways to determine if the wheel will work for your cat.:
The first one is to determine the energy level of your cat. If they have a moderate to high energy level, then the wheel will be good for them to be able to expend some of that energy. An example of moderate to high energy is if your cat is inclined to race through the house in short spurts.
The second thing to consider if the wheel will be a good fit is if your cat is trainable. A good way to test this is to see if you can get your cat to jump up and down from a chair with the use of a toy or treat as incentive. Or, if your cat is capable of anticipating needing to do specific things in order to receive a reward they want. For example, if you require them to go to a specific spot to eat at a certain time of day, or act a specific way before they get to receive a treat or new toy. These are indicators of a cat who is capable of learning how to be trained.
So, to summarize, cats that are high energy and trainable (easier if they're motivated by food or other rewards) may be interested in a cat wheel.
I personally suspect they aren't common because they are more expensive than many other cat toys (wand toys can vary between $5-20, while the wheels are several hundred dollars). In addition, they can require a large amount of space, and create some noise.
We just purchased a wheel for our bengal kittens, age 6 months and 7 months. They both have lots of energy and are highly trainable, one of them is extremely treats motivated and the other is toy/attention motivated. We got the wheel two days ago and have been working with them a bit each day and they both will run on the wheel when we are there training them. They haven't gone to the wheel on their own yet, but I suspect after more training sessions, they will start to use it. They both still have LOTS of energy!
No, not usually. Although , there are a few videos on YouTube showing cats on treadmills...but this is the exception. You do need to be sure your inside kitty has plenty to do... Lots of toys, scratchers, tall cat trees, and high places to jump and watch the "goings on" of the home. This is sufficient. No wheel needed.
I've never seen any cat-sized wheels, so I don't know. I'd be a bit surprised, but cats are often surprising. I suspect treadmills work better for critters with either smaller brains, or larger ones.
A better alternative may be small lightweight balls that they can chase around the house. Or manipulate a strung, wand, or laser dot for them to pounce upon. Or give them things to climb. (My two will occasionally chase each other, or chase something entirely imaginary.)
(A cat might be fascinated by a gerbil ball, but I don't think that would be good for the gerbil. There are some mechanical equivalents that might be good cat toys, though.)