Does your cat ever get a case of the crazies after a long day of doing nothing? Check out our advice below, which will explain what’s at the root of these wild antics and what you can do to help calm your cat when they’re feeling hyper
Does your cat ever get a case of the crazies after a long day of doing nothing? Check out our advice below, which will explain what’s at the root of these wild antics and what you can do to help calm your cat when they’re feeling hyper.
What’s a cat’s crazy time?
As a cat owner, you’re probably already familiar with your cat’s calm and crazy moods. One behaviour you’ll likely know well can have many names, including the zoomies, hyperactivity, crazy time or the mad half-hour. But its official name is frenetic random activity period or FRAP.
FRAP is when your cat has a sudden burst of intense energy, which manifests as running around, playing, jumping, yowling, pouncing on things or attacking toys. But, due to its intensity, this behaviour usually only lasts for up to 30 minutes.
Why do cats get the zoomies?
In the wild, cats need plenty of energy to hunt their prey and keep vigilant to stay safe. As predators, cats need that quick boost of energy to catch their prey, kill it and digest it.
But, of course, your domesticated cat doesn’t need to do any of that. They’re safe and warm in your home, and their food is given to them regularly. Our cats sleep a lot – up to 16 hours per day – and many cats are ‘house cats’, who never go outside. So, they don’t always have many opportunities to use up the excess energy.
That said, when you see your cat sprinting around the house and climbing the curtains, it’s usually because they’ve got extra energy to use up.
How to calm a cat down
Keeping your cat mentally and physically stimulated can help to satisfy their instinctive need to be zoomie.
One way to help calm a cat down is to actively play with them. Use a fishing rod or something for them to catch and ensure they always have access to toys and a scratching post. Your aim is to help them burn off their excess energy, so ideally you want to play with them until you notice them getting tired. Do make sure to let them catch their ‘prey’ regularly during play sessions to release endorphins – those feel-good hormones.
After a good playtime hunt, your cat’s endorphin levels will increase, leaving your cat calm, happy and content. They’re far more likely to curl up for a nap and dream of bigger things.
When cat zoomies get too crazy
Most of the time, the zoomies are funny and endearing. However, if your cat’s crazy time happens in the middle of the night or if they bite or scratch when they’re wired, it can feel disruptive.
If your cat usually likes to zoom around while you’re asleep – or while you’re trying to take part in an online work meeting – you may need to be proactive about playing with and calming your cat earlier in the day. This will allow them to burn off some energy before they exhibit loud behaviour.
Likewise, if your cat’s behaviour is consistently aggressive or destructive, it might be a sign of a problem. This is especially true if your cat is a few years old and if they don’t calm down after playtime. It might be time to change their food or environment (for example, letting your indoor cat outside), but start by speaking to your vet to rule out possible medical causes.
As cats age, they experience the zoomies much less frequently, as they slow down and their general energy levels decrease.