If you are thinking about buying a cat wheel, but you are concerned whether your pet will use it? We will try to present how to encourage the cat to use this form of activity on its own.
First and foremost, you do NOT put the cat in the treadmill to spin the wheel as fast as possible. This method can scare the cat to such an extent that it will steer clear of the treadmill. We use only positive stimuli, you will also need a lot of patience.
- Display treadmills in a positive way. Place a treat or favorite toy on the treadmill. The cat should eat the treat/take the toy.
- Make your cat feel at ease on the treadmill. Slowly place the treat/toy higher. It is important that the cat feels safe standing on the treadmill so that it becomes natural for the cat to walk on the treadmill.
- Make the cat walk. Hold the treat or toy higher up along the curve of the circle, but try not to place it too far away from the nose (so they feel the urge to get to what you’re holding). You have to make sure that they don’t get their reward too quickly, just before reaching it, move it away from the cat. This activity usually needs to be repeated several times to make the cat feel comfortable walking on the treadmill. Usually cats take a few steps and come down, they need to get used to the movement of the treadmill.
- Help cats build the confidence to walk longer. Hold the treat/toy a little further away from the cat so that it wants to get to the prize but has to walk some distance on the treadmill.
- Repeat the last point until the cat starts using the treadmill on its own. This is the most difficult part of the training, because you don’t know how long it will last and here you need a lot of patience, which we mentioned. If the cat has a lot of energy, it is likely that it will start using the treadmill on its own sooner. Even three-legged can use the treadmill, although it’s harder for them 😉