Why your cat gets the ‘cat zoomies’ and what you can do about it.
Cat zoomies, mad-half hour, climbing up the walls – there are a number of phrases for that time of day, usually early in the morning or evening, when your cat runs frantically around the house for no apparent reason.
Another name for this behaviour is a ‘frenetic random activity period’ or FRAP. It’s actually a natural behaviour that a lot of cats display, but it’s more common in younger cats or indoor-only cats.
While an occasional burst of ‘frapping’ is quite normal, if your cat is getting the zoomies on a daily basis then this could be a sign that they are under-stimulated and frustrated.
Not only is this stressful for your cat, but it’s also likely to cause you a bit of stress too, as they tear around your home destroying curtains and disrupting your lie-in.
If you think your cat is frustrated, then there are a few simple things you can do to help…
1. Play throughout the day
A great way to encourage your cat to burn off all that excess energy is to have regular play sessions with them. Instead of having one long 15-minute play session in the evening, spread a few short five-minute play sessions throughout the day to keep them entertained. Try mixing up the types of play they do too, with different toys such as fishing rods, ping pong balls and kickeroos.
For more tips on how to play with your cat, watch our video.
2. Let them catch
While playing with your cat is a great way to prevent frustration, there are some toys that can actually have the opposite effect. Most of the enjoyment cats get from playing comes from being able to catch and ‘kill’ the toy, as this releases happy hormones in their brain. Laser pointers and videos of mice and fish on a laptop screen may grab your cat’s attention but because your cat can’t physically catch what they’re chasing, they’ll just be left frustrated.
3. Feed little and often
Instead of having a couple of big meals like we do, cats prefer to eat three or four smaller meals throughout the day to keep their energy levels more stable. You could also try giving them their food using puzzle feeders that will provide some physical and mental stimulation while they eat. There are lots of great puzzle feeders you can buy, or you can have a go at making your own at home.
For more tips on how to make your cat’s feeding time more exciting, watch our video.
4. Try some training
A great way to keep your cat mentally stimulated is to train them to perform some tricks. That’s right, it’s not just dogs that can be trained! Just make sure you always use positive reinforcement, such as providing treats or a fuss when they get it right, rather than punishing them for doing anything wrong. For guides on how to train your cat to roll over, sit or lie down on command, take a look at our blog series.
5. Block out neighbouring cats
If you have an indoor-only cat, they may get frustrated if they can see other cats out of the window but can’t go out and chase them away from their territory. Try blocking off the lower part of your windows with some paper to keep your cat oblivious to these fellow felines, and make sure they have no way of getting into the house.
6. Create a calming environment
To keep your cat relaxed and happy at home try providing them with cat grass and other cat-friendly plants they can explore, as well as lots of places they can hide. Cardboard boxes are always a hit with cats, as being able to hide inside helps them feel safe and reduces their stress. Having a few empty shelves or windowsills to sit on will also keep them calm as they can survey their surroundings from a safe vantage point.
If you would like to learn more about cat behaviour, then why not sign up for Cats Protection’s Feline Behaviour Conference. The online event will feature informative sessions and engaging Q&As with cat experts, covering topics such as how cats learn, how cats communicate and the future of cats!
Find out more and book your place here: Feline Behaviour Conference.