workshop

Build a Cat Exercise Wheel

If you live in an apartment where your cat is unable to run around too much and has limited excess to its outside environment, this can make your cat feel board and even stuffy resulting in a decline in its psychological wellbeing, this article is here to it’s rescue. Cat exercise wheels are amazing to prevent your cat from feeling bored while also improving your felines' mental and physical health without having them go outside. Buying a cat wheel can be tough as they can be too huge and costly, though this article you make your own cat wheel and customize the size to fit your living area.

Material

Wood

Aluminium flashing

THIXO

Casters

Understanding the design

For the design you will need two circles of plywood, this will then be on either side of a sheet of aluminium flashing, which will then be covered by carpet, the base for the wheel will be made of wood.

Step 1

To begin with this structure, we need to first start making the wheel. For this you will need a large plank of wood and with the help of a circle jig and a plunge router, cut the wood into a circle, this can be done manually too, however, the circle jig will give you a more precise and consistence circle as you will have to cut out a new circle on a different plank of wood with the same measurements. Make sure to use safety glasses and gloves while cutting as there will be a lot of dust created from cutting the wood.  

After your circles are prepared, you will need to cut a groove along the circle, this is where the aluminium flashing will sit into. Once you are satisfied with the groove that has been carved, you can move on to cutting the inner circle. Separate the cut out with the groove from the rest of your circle.

Step 2

While you separate the wheel from the rest of the circle you will notice that the wheel in itself is a bit flimsy, so if you apply a single sheet of aluminium flashing that will make the whole structure very unreliable, to tackle this problem you can add in two layers of aluminium flashing to make the structure more rigid.

Unwrap the aluminium flashing and coil it into groove of the circle, coil the other layer of aluminium flashing into the circle too. You will need some tape to keep the aluminium flashing in place. This is done so that you are able to measure the area needed for the aluminium flashing to fit into the groove. Once you are done with that, you can apply some THIXO into to the groove of the circle and then press it on the aluminium flashing, this part can be a bit challenging as you not only have to fit it in before the glue dries up but you also have to apply enough pressure to fit the aluminium flashing into the groove of the wheel. Let it cure on one side before you move on to the other groove. Once you are done with both the sides you can apply some more THICXO around the edges of the aluminium flashing to secure it better.   

Step 3

Leaving the wheel with just aluminium flashing wont work, you will need something your cat can grip into, for this we need to cover the aluminium flashing with carpet. Instead of measuring and cutting and attaching a carpet to the wheel, you can use some carpet tiles along the wheel, this is not only less complex and time efficient but it is also really easy to stick them onto the wheel. Remove the sticker at the back of the carpet tiles and place them on the aluminium flashing, do this until you finish covering the entire wheel. While you are attaching the carpet to the wheel make sure that the carpet tiles can sturdily stick to the wheel and won’t fall off after some time or after your cat start clawing onto them.

Step 4

Now we can move on to make the base on which the wheel will be placed on. For the base you will need some planks of wood. You will but to cut 2 boards of wood of equal length which will act as the legs for the base, you will then need to attach another board of wood between them, this board will act as bridge connecting both the legs, will need to repeat this process again as we need a set of legs of the base. you can use the picture provided as reference. Once you are done with you can add tapers. The tapers will be placed between the legs and with the help of some THIXO you can attach everything together. Lastly you can use some wood oil to make the wood look richer. Do the same for the wood on the wheel.

Step 5

Add casters to the leg. You can screw a caster at the top of each led of the base, this is done do that the wheel can rotate as the cat walk on it. If the wheel is a bit shaky when rotated, you can add smaller casters at the centre of the bridge of the base, this smaller caster will provide extra support by helping rotate the wood on the wheel, resulting in a smoother spin.

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