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My cats and their exercise wheel

A work in progress

By Conny ManeroPublished about a year ago 4 min read

I think cat lovers will agree that adult cats are lazy. Their lives seem to consist of three things, eating, grooming themselves, and napping.

While cats who live in a house get some exercise chasing rodents, birds or squirrels in the garden, apartment and condo cats don’t have that luxury. On average, they have between 600 to 1,200 square footage of space and that is not enough for a proper chase.

My lot is not an exception. While Nic (1,5 years old) will chase four month old kitten Sonsie, and Sonsie will chase Nic, Holly’s, Halley’s, and Greyson’s days of chasing anything are long gone. They prefer to sleep in a chair, on a bed, on the floor, or anywhere else that’s convenient.

Now I don’t know if they’re just big cats, or if they’re getting fat, but I was of the opinion that something had to be done. They needed exercise.

Nic likes to accompany us when we take out the trash to the rubbish shoot, thus walking up and down the corridor of our condo building, but Holly, Halley and Greyson are too scared to set foot outside.

They have toys of course, and we try to engage the in play as much as possible, but my fur kids are rather lazy than tired. So like I said, I needed to find a way to get them to exercise and an exercise wheel for cats seemed like the perfect solution.

Decision made, I ordered a wheel from Amazon and two days later it was delivered. All we had to do was put it together, but that was Dieter’s job.

Fearing the worst, I had suggested a visit to the LCBO to pick up a couple of bottles of JB, but he didn’t think this necessary. After a fortifying cup of coffee and glancing at the manual, Dieter set to work. It actually went better than expected. I didn’t hear moans, I didn’t hear groans, and I didn’t hear any swearing.

It didn't take long before inspector Halley, assistant inspector Nic, and chief of operations Holly came to take a look.

Just half an hour later the job was done and the wheel was ready for use. The cats took one look at it and their opinion of it was unanimous … what is it?

Getting them to use the wheel turned out tricker than I thought. In the numerous videos I’ve watched, the cats leisurely walked or enthusiastically ran in the wheel, but mine were afraid to set foot on it. Okay, so they would need some encouragement.

With the help of a feather we tried to entice Holly, Halley, Greyson, and Nic to try out the wheel but the message was no, no, a thousand times no!

Then my dear son got it into his head that maybe a demonstration was in order. He would show them what to do. A six feet four inches guy was going to fold himself into a three feet two inches circle … oh yeah, that was going to go well. In case you’re wondering, take a look …

Fortunately, other people use YouTube for more informative videos that are of help to others. When I went looking for ‘How to teach your cat to use the exercise wheel’ one of them was this one:

Not all cats take to the wheel like ducks to water. This person admitted that it took his cat three weeks to start using the wheel.

I like stories like this one. Stories that don’t sing their cats’ praises, but dare to admit that things don’t always go smoothly.

To encourage our cats to use the wheel, we bought the required feather and a laser light, but none of them trusted this new contraption. I didn’t worry, they would get used to it. Not to long ago I got them a water fountain and it took them two weeks to trust that thing.

One by one, the cats were introduced to the wheel. Holly positively frowned and made a quick exit. Halley sat for a few seconds but when the wheel moved got the fright of her life and took off like a rocket. Greyson wanted nothing to do with it and seemingly ran for his life. Nic, always the most intrepid one, took a few hesitant steps, felt the wheel moving under his feet and swiftly jumped off. Then he sat there with a look on his face that seem to say … what the hell was that? Sonsie, as a little kitten, was unafraid of the wheel, but her tiny paws weren’t strong enough to move the wheel.

Today, three days later, all of them are still shy and distrusting. Which is a shame, because Holly, Halley and Greyson who could do with some exercise to shed a few pounds.

We’ll see how it goes. My guess is, once they see how much fun Nic is having, the others will get curious and give the wheel a try. To help things along we’ll be there with encouragement and treats.

(To be continued)


About the Creator

Conny Manero

Conny is the author of Waiting for Silverbird, Voice of an Angel, Lily, Kitten Diaries and Debbie. Contributor to various hard copy and online publications.

She lives in Toronto with her son and cats.

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