It’s not just the alliteration that makes the term “crazy cat” ring true. Cats are, or at least have the daily potential to be, in a word, crazy. That’s why we love them! Whether they’re climbing the curtains or waiting to ambush you when you least expect it, cats can be unpredictable and a tad zany. Of their incredible physical skills, the zoomies, or sudden bursts of energetic, wild-eyed zipping about, are either misunderstood or marginally tolerated. Because the zoomies come with territory, we’d like to explain this crazy cat behavior in order to help you better appreciate it.
The phenomenon known as the “zoomies” has an important scientific name. Frenetic Random Activity Periods, or FRAPs, occur when an animal has to express excess energy. Since cats sleep for most of the day, when they wake up they may experience a sudden and intense need to quickly move around. The zoomies may also be seen after a cat’s satisfying trip to the litter box.
Whether you appreciate the zoomies or not, these episodes are typically short-lived. Once a cat uses up their stored energy, they go back to their usual routines (and you can, too!).
A Look at Timing
Cats are crepuscular, so they are most active around dawn and dusk. If they do not have adequate opportunities to physically express themselves during their active hours, you may have more episodes of the zoomies. Help your cat out and play with them during this time. Simulated prey exercises can boost their hunting skills and tap into their stores of energy.
If your cat is notorious for inconveniently getting the zoomies in the middle of the night, it’s because they are hardwired to seek prey when the ambient temperature is at its coolest. You can help reduce FRAPs at undesirable hours by rearranging their meal times. Instead of feeding them in the morning and at night, opt for mid-morning and mid-afternoon meals. This can help offset when their zoomies occur.
Sometimes, unexplained cat behavior can be connected to an underlying medical condition. If your cat gets the zoomies more than ever before, or you think this cat behavior is associated with other worrisome signs, such as stress or anxiety, we recommend a wellness exam.
Too Old for That?
Zoomies are normal in cats of all ages. There could be long periods without FRAPs. Senior cats that suddenly zip around could be experiencing cognitive decline or dysfunction. If you notice your senior cat showing signs of hearing or vision loss, or other behavioral changes, please let us know.
To keep your cat safe when they get the zoomies, try to remove hazardous obstacles from their “track.” It’s also not a good idea to chase them during their FRAP. Scolding or punishing them for this perfectly normal cat behavior is not advisable.
If you have questions about cat behavior, or how to support your cat’s needs, please call us at (732) 387-7977. Mobile Vet M.D. is always here for your cat!