Typically entertaining and harmless, the occasional case of cat zoomies is nothing to worry about. But when your usually laid-back cat goes from zero to 100 every day, you may start asking some questions.
Why do cats get the zoomies? Do you need to take your cat to the vet for it? How can you make it stop? — we’re answering all these and more as we discuss these unexpected bursts of feline energy.
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What Are The Zoomies In Cats?
Also known as midnight crazies or scrambling, the zoomies in cats are when the felines start to move rapidly after getting sort of a glint in the eyes.
When we say“move rapidly”, it includes several possible motions such as running laps around the room, getting on and off your lap while loudly meowing, running up and down the stairs, or dashing out from under furniture.
Then, your feline pet will calm down and go back to chilling just as quickly as the zoomies had hit.
So are cat zoomies normal? Well, despite how weird they seem, the zoomies are a normal occurrence in cats. These sudden, random bursts of energy are a common demonstration of cat behavior.
In fact, the zoomies are scientifically referred to as Frenetic Random Activity Periods, shortened to FRAPs. They effectively aid in burning excess energy, which is why zoomies are more likely to happen in younger cats.
What Causes Cats To Get the Zoomies?
The signs that your cat is going through a case of the zoomies can be very obvious, but it’s not nearly as easy to pinpoint the reason behind such a behavior. If you’re wondering what’s causing the zoomies in your feline pet, the following are a few of the most common causes of FRAPs:
It’s quite often that cats experience the zoomies after having a long nap. It’s no secret that cats love to snooze most of the day to save their energy for doing activities when they’re awake.
However, this usually results in having too much pent-up energy, so following a long slumber, cats will use the zoomies to release some energy. As such, when your cat wakes up and starts running laps around the house, it may be trying to use some of the energy it has stored to revitalize its body and mind.
Anxiety can be another likely reason for a cat to demonstrate the zoomies, especially if your furball has started to act wildly out of nowhere when it didn’t happen before.
Such sudden behavior could be a sign that your cat is suffering from anxiety. What you need to do here is figure out what triggered this anxiety.
Possible reasons for anxiety in cats include moving to a new house, getting a new pet or family member, changing their diet, or changing the schedule of your one-on-one time.
There are various ways you can relieve anxiety in cats. We’ll talk about some of them later on, but note that additional playtime sessions can be very effective.
The predatory instinct in cats is always going to be there even though owners provide enough food for their feline pets. Hunting is simply part of cats’ nature, and so, they need to show that side of their characters from time to time.
The display of hunting instinct could happen in the form of running around chasing thin air, or that’s what it’ll look like to you when, in reality, your cat is after imaginary prey.
If you want to test your pet’s hunting skills, try placing a couple of kibble pieces along the hallway and observe the speed of your cat when it comes to collecting food.
Unfortunately, the unexplained energy bursts of cats may be the result of health issues. Medical conditions are more likely to be the cause of cat zoomies when your pet doesn’t normally show that kind of behavior but it began to suddenly act “crazy” without clear triggers.
The following are a few health problems that can lead to a case of cat zoomies:
Hyperthyroidism — This is a common issue in older cats as hyperthyroidism usually results in elevated energy levels, which could trigger episodes of the zoomies.
Flea infestation, allergies, and other itchy skin conditions — If a cat is suffering from flea bites, it may move rapidly to try to relieve the annoying feeling. Similarly, when cats are suffering from allergies and other itchy skin conditions, they could turn to the zoomies to try to get away from the irritating sensation.
Loss of hearing or compromised eyesight — This is also more common in older cats. The decline of hearing or eyesight can cause your cat to get anxious or spooked by unfamiliar sounds or sights, to which they respond by zooming.
You may have not seen this coming, but if your cat is having trouble in the bathroom department, it may manifest in the form of zoomies.
It’s not uncommon for a cat to run away from its litter box after using it, especially after pooping. There are several reasons for zooming in this case such as the litter box not being clean enough so it makes your pet uncomfortable.
That being said, zooming away from the litter box may be a sign of something more serious like a medical issue that’s causing discomfort for the cat upon defecating or urinating. For example, constipation, diarrhea, or an infection of the anal gland, colon, urinary tract, or rectum.
As such, if your cat starts to zoom away from the litter box without previous warnings, you should check the contents of the box for anything unusual (for example, hard or bloody stool or urine). If you do find anything abnormal, be sure to contact your and try to keep the litter box as clean as you can.
Another reason why your cat may zoom away from the litter box is an innate urge leading them to think that predators are after them due to the scent of their discharge, so they need to bolt out of there.
Finally, a lot of cats like to celebrate after getting their business done by taking a quick victory lap. So demonstrating the zoomies after using the litter box could be just that.
How To Stop Your Cat From Getting The Zoomies
Even if you find out that the zoomies in your cat aren’t because of an illness, that doesn’t mean they’re amusing for you to witness every time. Sometimes, such behavior can make you stressed out, and it certainly doesn’t help when the zoomies cause your cat to ruin your home, destroy your furniture, and disrupt your peace.
If your vet has ruled out medical issues and you’d like to tune down the feline frenzy, here are some tips you can try with your cat:
1. Make more room in your schedule for playtime
One of the easiest and most effective ways to help reduce cat zoomies is to schedule more playtime throughout the day. These play sessions provide an outlet for your pet to release excess energy healthily.
So, instead of just one play session in the evening, add another one in the morning. Another solution you can try is to divide longer sessions into shorter, more spread ones.
For example, one 20-minute play session before bedtime will become four 5-minute play sessions distributed during the whole day. To keep your cat further entertained, mix up the games you play and try using different toys.
2. Nourish their hunting instinct
Playtime with your cat can effectively prevent energy build-up, but did you know that some toys can cause cats to become more frustrated?
The main purpose of cat toys and games is to satisfy the animal’s hunting instinct. As such, the type of playing that cats enjoy the most usually involves chasing and catching the toy, which triggers their brain to release “feel good” hormones.
So while you may successfully capture the attention of your cat with a laser pointer or a video showing mice or fish, the fact that the cat can’t catch the prey can leave them frustrated with a lot of energy to spare.
3. Adjust their feeding schedule
Similar to playtime, feeding times should be more frequent but with little portions. So instead of giving your cat two big meals, divide them into smaller portions so it eats 3 or 4 times throughout the day. This will help stabilize your pet’s energy levels.
4. Implement some training
Another effective way to support healthy mental stimulation in your cat is to teach it how to do a few tricks. If you didn’t know that cats can be trained just like dogs, then you’re welcome.
Make sure, however, to always implement positive reinforcement in training instead of punishment for wrong actions or behavior.
5. Hide other animals
If your cat is an indoor-only pet, then seeing other cats or animals through the window can make them frustrated because you won’t allow them to get out and do some chasing.
To prevent such irritation, block the view from the lower part of windows around the house using paper or stickers. That way, your cat will stay oblivious to neighboring pets.
6. Provide a calming atmosphere
Creating a stress-free environment at home will help your cat feel more relaxed. Here are some suggestions for making that happen:
Offer cat-friendly grass and plants to encourage exploration.
For the same reason, provide hiding spots such as cardboard boxes. These can also help them feel safe and less anxious.
Provide them with window sills or empty shelves where they can survey the place while relaxing at a safe distance.
Consider using cat diffusers such as Feliway to help keep your cat relaxed. Such diffusers spread an odorless mimic of calming pheromones which felines produce, reducing stress and anxiety in cats.
So why do cats get the zoomies? Well, this behavior could be triggered by anxiety, sleeping habits, health issues, bathroom problems, or hunting instincts.
Cat zoomies help them burn off extra energy, so for the most part, you shouldn’t be worried when they happen. If you suspect a medical problem, be sure to get in contact with your vet and explain the symptoms of the case.