I rarely (maybe never) publish negative product reviews because I recognize that even if my cats ignore something I’ve lovingly purchased for them, that doesn’t mean another cat won’t go crazy over it.
Resist the Temptation
But if the siren call of a cat exercise wheel beckons, stick in some earplugs and walk away. Seriously. Put down that credit card and step away from the computer. Now.
This has absolutely nothing to do with whether your cat will actually venture onto the wheel and run like the wind, and everything to do with the danger of your cat getting crushed by the wheel when it jumps off the tracks after one rotation.
Which it absolutely will do.
This wheel is manufactured by OneFastCat.com, and it was the first opportunity I found to buy a somewhat reasonably priced exercise wheel for the cats. As much as I’d like Tripper to work off a little of his prodigious girth, I knew that wasn’t gonna happen. But with three rambunctious youngsters in the house, I harbored dreams of them running themselves ragged on the wheel, needing to towel off like prizefighters as they tumbled off, panting and exhausted.
They never got that far.
Let me back up. The wheel is shipped free, which, given its size, it’s a big plus. It’s an assemble-yourself proposition. That doesn’t scare me. I’ve assembled everything from barbeques to IKEA furniture, and though annoying to have to get out the hex wrench and postpone gratification, I’m used to the process.
The box arrives in a smaller form factor than I’d anticipated. The wheel comes in (roughly) one-foot sections that you piece together into a big ring. One look at the pieces you think “piece of cake!” They have notches that you just slide together.
Get Out the Bad Words List
But looks are deceiving. The plastic resists sliding and you have to use a mallet to get them to fit together. And inevitably, a couple of the pieces just don’t want to slip into grooves. This is contrary to the assembly video, which suggests that you just snap the pieces together like Legos. According to the video, assembly takes about 15-20 minutes. My experience: nearly two hours. Part of that time was spent saying a lot of words from The Bad Words List.
The base also resists assembly. And once assembled, it doesn’t sit quite plumb on the floor.
Once assembly is complete, you pop the wheel onto the base and WOO HOO! Cat fun and frolicking supposedly follows.
First, the wheel doesn’t spin freely as shown in the video. You have to put some muscle into it. And then, after a spin or two or three, it jumps off the tracks. Which it did for us with a cat on it.
It Will Kill Your Cat
The wheel is a heavy mutha, and its crashing onto the hardwood floor rattled the dining room slider window nearby. Fortunately, Banzai was able to jump free of it, but if the ring were to fall atop a cat, it could kill the poor critter.
We worked for several weeks trying to get the ring to sit atop the wheels without popping off, to no avail. Customer service was willing to give us a $20 credit for the inconvenience. Big whoop. We’re in the hole $180. If we were to return it, we’d have to pay for shipping ($35-$50) AND a $49 restocking fee.
But that’s not the worst part.
You Can’t Get Rid of It
Unless you have a ginormous truck, you cannot transport it to landfill. Once assembled, you can’t pull it apart, so you can’t get it into a box to ship it back. It’s too big to sit out indefinitely near our trash bins. In the house, one of the cats decided that the foam liner on the inside of the track was the perfect surface for peeing. It is saturated. I can’t give it away…aside from it now reeking of urine, it could kill a cat.
If anyone has a suggestion for how to upcycle this pee-soaked monstrosity, please leave a comment below.
Don’t forget to check out Mousebreath’s Holiday Gift Guide
where you’ll find a bazillion more gift selections, many for $10 and less!