I recently read an article about exercise wheels for cats in an online veterinary journal, dvm360. I had seen these wheels on Amazon and thought they were a great idea. If you haven’t seen them, here’s a video for your viewing pleasure.
The article in the vet journal was questioning the safety of the wheels and so had three veterinarians weigh in. One was a behavioral expert, and two were pain experts. All three were in favor of the wheels and said they looked great as a tool for fighting obesity and providing enrichment. One of the vets said, “They seem safe enough, and not as bad as some of the knuckle-headed stuff cats will just do on their own.” Isn’t that the truth?!
Outdoor cats spend a great deal of their time hunting. Indoor cats don’t get the exercise that outdoor cats get and therefore obesity can be a BIG problem in indoor cats. Obesity in cats is never good and often leads to diabetes. Boredom can be a big problem with indoor cats too and so enrichment is especially important for them.
I used to work for a vet who I heard over and over tell clients that when you have a household with two cats, one will tend to be “a pig” and overweight and the other will tend to be a normal weight or even a little on the thin side. So I started paying attention and sure enough, I found his statement to be usually true. Not all the time, but the majority of the time. I have two cats and my cats fit this pattern. Nugget, my blonde tabby, is the more laid-back of the two and not near as active as his brother, Dakota, the gray tabby. Dakota plays a lot. He will entertain himself for hours chasing his mice and balls around the house. When he’s awake, he’s just about always playing. Nugget, on the other hand (bless his heart), is a slug. Nugget is overweight. Dakota bounces back and forth from being a normal weight to just a tad bit underweight.
I’ve contemplated getting one of these feline exercise wheels but my fear is that Dakota will run himself silly on it and lose even more weight, while Nugget lounges lazily nearby getting entertained by his brother.
I’ll have to give this some more thought…. and save my money. These exercise wheels aren’t cheap and run about $199.