Imagine this – you are sitting around and having a quiet evening where your cat suddenly runs out of nowhere and runs around the house like a madwoman. This behavior is known as cat zoom and is likely perfectly normal. However, in some cases a visit to the veterinarian may be required. Let’s learn more.
What are cat zoomies?
Cats with the zoomies often get a slight twinkle in their eyes and then start moving quickly. These quick movements can take the form of laps around the house, jumping out from under tables, walking up and down stairs, or walking on your lap while meowing loudly. And then – as soon as the cat’s zoomies started – your cat can just relax again.
I call Cat Zoomies the Kitty Olympics in our house because of the sprints my three cats will be doing from floor to floor. Cat zoomies have a scientific name: Frenetic Random Activity Periods, or FRAPs. FRAPs are surprising and sometimes alarming (especially in the middle of the night), but completely normal cat behavior.
What causes the cat zoomies?
Kittens and kittens are naturally energetic and generally more likely to experience zoomies than older cats, although inspiration can strike cats of all ages. Even my 17 year old cats are inspired to walk around like kittens when they experience the zoomies.
Many different things cause FRAPs. Cats can start zooming when another cat in the house has the zooms, cats can zoom when chasing a bug, and cats can zoom in in the middle of the night when their human gets up to go to the bathroom. Sometimes it feels like cats are bringing the zoomies out of nowhere, or it seems like they saw a ghost.
When should you be concerned?
Zoomies are normal behavior for cats and are a great way to burn off excess energy. However, if you find that your cat is frequently frantically zooming around the house, it may indicate that he needs more exercise. Increase the amount of time you spend with your cat. Enrichment toys in particular can help.
If your cat suddenly has regular zoomies, becomes unusually active, or seems bothered by their cat’s zoomies, take your kitten for an exam with your veterinarian. Increased and unexpected bursts of energy, especially in older cats, could be a sign of an underlying health condition such as hyperthyroidism.
In some cats, zoomies tend to hit in the middle of the night when the rest of the family is sleeping. If your kitten only gets the zoomies while sleeping, and your household is regularly losing sleep due to your kitten’s antics, it may be time to adjust your morning feeding schedule or increase the game your cat gets during the day. If the behavior persists, contact your veterinarian to make sure there is nothing medically wrong with your cat that is causing her to have trouble settling down at night.
Tell us: Is your cat getting the zoomies? How does your cat normally zoom around?
Selected photo Photo: Nils Jacobi / Getty Images
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