First introduction to the Kitten Wheel

by Suw on November 10, 2009

My Dad made us a cat wheel so that Mewton and Grabbity can burn off a little energy – energy that they would otherwise burn off at 2am by jumping up and down on our heads. This is a prototype, made of steel, hardened woven kevlar and, yes, duct tape. The wheel is whisper quiet and spins incredibly smoothly (possibly a bit too smoothly!).

I picked the wheel up from Dorset yesterday and we unpacked it and pretty much left the kittens to just get used to it being around. They don’t seem overly bothered by its presence, so we tried to introduce them to the idea of running on it today, using the age old tactic of bribery and corruption. Our attempts met with a modicum of success, but I think it might take a while for them to build up the confidence that they can just jump on, run for a bit, and then jump off again, but I’m pretty sure they’ll get there!

The next prototype will be prettier and if anyone wants one, we’ll sell it at cost plus a wee bit for labour. (This one cost udner £150.) Just get in touch if you’re interested.

Puddytat purr November 10, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Excellent idea, patent it immediately!

You either need a bigger wheel, or cats that don’t stretch out quite so much ;)

Suw November 10, 2009 at 11:08 pm

I think that, once they get going, the stretching out won’t be a problem. They just need to learn that they can run, and that it’s fun. :D

Emily November 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm

What a good idea! However, I think that mine would just curl up and snooze at the bottom!!! :) I do look forward to further instalments… I’m intrigued to see if they start using it regularly!

Stephanie Booth November 12, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Great idea! I do think I’d have it a tad bigger, specially if you want an adult cat running around in it (and maybe a little wider?)

I really had a laugh watching them rock back and forth in the wheel :-)

Suw November 12, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Steph, yes, it was rather hard to estimate how big it needed to be, but now we have the wheel and have them running on it, it’s clear that it is too small and too narrow. There are other problems with this version too – it’s far too wobbly, side to side so it knocks on the frame when they run. It’s also a bit too smooth, in that it’s too easy for them to end up rocking back and forth instead of walking or running and that unnerves them a bit. The base needs to be heavier too so that it is more stable.

I will likely take this one back at Christmas so that we can rework it. It’s a prototype though, so there’s a learning curve to be negotiated!

Suw November 12, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Emily, they aren’t volunteering to use it yet, but I have suffered a sudden loss of my main inducement: Grabbity climbed up the bookshelf in the middle of the night, got the box of treats and ate them all!! Need more treats so I can continue with my bribery and corruption. ;)

Emily November 12, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Clever Grabbity! :) It makes one wonder whether there is truly a place where one can hide treats from cats… They always seem to outsmart us after some time! :)

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