Have you ever seen your cat get a sudden burst of playful energy and wonder what causes it? We call them the zoomies, and I’m sure if you’ve owned cats you’ve seen them. Some have called them midnight crazies or fur and blur as well but what really causes them to go nuts at the weirdest times?
Do not be distressed when your cat starts knocking over your CD collection or brushing things off of counters. These things are to be expected. Your cat might even decide to trip you as you’re going to the fridge for a little midnight snack. Always expect the worst! It’s the cat crazies! If the crazies bother you because you’ve fallen flat on your face, don’t worry, in a very short while your cat will be sleeping for the next 22 hours.
Those energy bursts can be somewhat annoying, especially when they happen late at night. The best way to manage them is to prevent them from making sure that your cat gets to spend a lot of energy in the evening playing hunting games with you. You could also reward those crazy periods at most appropriate times by responding to your cat zooming around with his favorite toy to chase. He will most probably welcome the opportunity to chase a “real prey” instead of an imaginary one.
Crazy episodes also frequently happen just after cats “have done their business”. Two theories explain this behavior. First one is simple: Cats simply feel better after they relieve themselves, and they “celebrate” by running around and enjoying this “lighter” feeling. The second one is linked to a strong survival instinct: Cats want to run away from their feces as quickly as possible so that predators cannot link the smell to them. Either way, there is not much you can do against those crazy FRAPs episodes! They only last a couple of minutes, so your best guess is to just enjoy the entertaining show!
There can be several medical or physiological origins of the midnight crazies. The first, and perhaps most serious, the medical cause is feline hyperthyroidism. If you have a middle-aged to an older cat who suddenly begins staying up late, losing weight, acting jittery or behaving oddly, have her checked by your vet.
Dogs can get a condition known as Cushing’s disease, or hyperadrenocorticism, which can lead to sleep alterations and unusual behaviors. Arthritic pain, flea and tick bites, kidney and liver disease, toxins and brain tumors can also cause strange behaviors. Finally, age-related dementia and cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) should be considered whenever a senior pet begins bolting or acting abnormally.
Changes in sight, hearing and smell may also contribute to bizarre behavior. I’ve seen dogs with failing eyesight or hearing snap at imaginary flies, bark at invisible enemies and flee fantasy foes. The bottom line is if your dog or cat suddenly starts darting about, springing awake when they usually rest or acting abnormally, seek veterinary advice.
As for me, I love watching our cats go crazy and chase invisible beings around the house. People that come over and do not own cats are usually pretty shocked to see cars racing around at 2 or 3 in the morning, but most cat owners find this hilarious and a good sign their cat is getting extra energy out.
By: Andy Harms
Owner of Bow Chicka Meow Meow