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Regular exercise is essential for a cat’s physical and mental health, especially indoor kitties. While interactive play activates your cat’s natural instincts and helps them burn off excess energy, daily sessions with a laser pointer or wand toy might not be enough for highly active cats.
That’s where a cat exercise wheel can help, providing self-appointed entertainment and exercise for bored and hyperactive kitties. But not all cat wheels are created equal, and not all cats will use them. So are they even worth trying?
To find out, we test the One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel, a popular pick in the cat wheel world. Decently sized and moderately priced, it’s been a fan favorite for many cats and their humans. But is it really worth the investment? We investigate!
How the One Fast Cat Compares to Other Wheels
Having been around for over two decades, cat exercise wheels are nothing new, though they’ve lately seen a resurgence on social media. Early models hail from the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe, many of which originated as DIY projects in people’s garages and workshops.
One of the first companies to bring the cat wheel to market was Catswall Design—a UK-based company currently developing its third iteration of the Catwheel. Clocking in at nearly $1,000, the models ship fully assembled and feature a sturdy base made of MDF board and a wide running track.
Also based in the UK, the Maclaw Wheel offers custom-made cat wheels with a similar price point but with a waiting list for orders of at least four weeks.
Shipping around the world, Ferris Cat Wheel International features the G5 Ferris Cat Wheel, a large wheel that can accommodate pets up to 25 pounds and costs roughly $450.
In the U.S., cat wheels tend to come and go on the market, but the One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel has proven to have staying power. Though it has a few limitations (see below), it’s significantly larger than the cat wheels on Amazon and much less expensive than models that ship from overseas. Currently priced at $249, it’s roughly half the cost of the Ferris Cat Wheel and nearly double the size of other options available in the U.S. marketplace, like the Penn-Plax Spin Kitty.
One Fast Cat Product Details
Measuring 48 inches in diameter, the One Fast Cat exercise wheel is made of snap-together plastic sections and lined with durable EVA foam traction pads. The wheel is set in a base with four spinning rollerblade wheels powered by your cat’s movement.
Shipped in pieces in a 34 x 12 x 12-inch box, the One Fast Cat wheel requires a good hour or two of assembly. It’s available in four colors: black, white, cheetah, and snow-leopard print.
|48 x 47 inches
|Run Surface Width
One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel—Testing Experience
My partner and I tested the 5th Generation One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel with five cats in our Seattle home.
When the surprisingly modest-sized (but heavy) box containing the cat wheel hit our doorstep, we momentarily panicked because one side of our box had a tear in it. But it turned out all the components, carefully packed in cardboard and wrapped in plastic, were intact.
We arranged the pieces on the dining room table and set about putting them together, following the large instruction sheet.
The process went just about the way it does in the official instructional video for the Generation 5 wheel (see below). The company has continued to upgrade the product, however, so make sure the instructional videos and reviews you check out are current.
Assembling the One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel is a bit of an adventure. The wheel itself went together smoothly, but we ran into a snag—specifically with inserting two metal rods into the plastic housings at either end of the base. Registering our account and contacting One Fast Cat customer support through the website got us through the difficulty, though I was not impressed with the design of the plastic housings.
While our struggle was limited to the base, some One Fast Cat customers report issues with the clips that hold the wheel sections together.
The company suggests the clips can be inserted in either of two ways, but some One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel reviews point out that it works best to insert the open side of the clip into the wheel section first. Attempting to remove the clips after inserting them can be difficult and may result in breaking them. Unfortunately, One Fast Cat doesn’t send spare parts like its competitor Ferris Cat Wheel International.
Using the Wheel
Some pet parents of ultra-curious kitties report their cats teaching themselves to use the One Fast Cat wheel, while others require step-by-step training. Our friends and fellow reviewers Becky and Tony were able to get their two-year-old Bombay cat (Austin) to use the wheel with just one training session.
The trick is to lure your cat onto the wheel with treats then use a teaser toy or cat wand to get your cat moving. Tony started by playing with Austin next to the One Fast Cat using his favorite wand toy. Gradually, Tony led him from beside the One Fast Cat onto the wheel. Soon Austin was leaping over the wheel, then climbing the wheel. Less than five minutes into the training, he was running on the wheel itself.
Not all cats take to the One Fast Cat so quickly, however. “We hoped all three of our cats would use the wheel as healthy exercise,” Becky says. “So far, only Austin has shown any interest.”
At our house, we were able to get our tabby Zoe on the One Fast Cat with her favorite treats (blueberries). But she simply meowed until we put the blueberries down on the wheel. She then knocked them onto the floor and ran after them.
While cats often lose interest in toys, once a cat has become attached to the One Fast Cat, pet parents like Becky report that the interest seems to continue.
“There is serious mileage on that wheel,” Becky says. “Austin uses it several times a day, generally for at least two or three minutes at a time. He doesn’t need an audience or anyone to motivate him. He doesn’t even need the lights on. Quite often, I will awaken to hear the wheel whirring at all hours of the night.”
One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel—Final Review
Despite some concerns about noisy operation and cheap materials, pet parents with cats that actually use the One Fast Cat exercise wheel seem quite pleased with its relative affordability and well-sized design. In particular, we think this exercise wheel might be a good fit for:
- Curious and adventurous cats who like to try new things
- Kitties with lots of energy that need more than daily play sessions
- Cats on a weight loss plan that need to burn extra calories
- Pet parents with limited space who want to give their cats more room to run
- High-drive cats that need additional mental stimulation
Some cats, however, will not take to this wheel, including:
- Young kittens and senior cats
- Brachycephalic breeds like Persian, Himalayan, and Burmese cats
- More sedentary cats who rarely show interest in physical activity
- Multiple cats who need a bigger wheel (like the Ferris Cat Wheel)
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for certain whether your cat will take to an exercise wheel. If this One Fast Cat exercise wheel review doesn’t have you convinced to make the investment, a good old-fashioned walk with a leash and a well-fitted cat harness could be an economical alternative.Find on One Fast Cat