I’ll never forget the day my house-call veterinarian, Dr. Fox, came by to see my kitties for a checkup. Pinky and BooBoo were about 12 weeks old at the time. I saw the two of them running through the hallway toward the bedroom, passing something back and forth between them with precision and skill reminiscent of hockey players. Dr. Fox yelled, “Stop them! They stole some gauze out of my bag that I used at my last house call!” Ewww. I took the ill-gotten booty away, and Dr. Fox and I couldn’t stop laughing. We admired their thievery skills and wonderful liveliness. As adults, Pinky and BooBoo have not slowed down, and people who don’t know them well would call them two “crazy cats.” But just what is it that makes a cat crazy, while other cats are content to nap the day away?
All cats are smart but some more than others, and they need mental as well as physical stimulation to be fully content. If your cat constantly gets into things, always wants to know what’s going on and must be the center of all that happens, then he might be a kitty Einstein who needs to be challenged to be happy.
Breed can also affect a cat’s natural tendency to be “crazy.” Certain breeds are well-known for being high energy, naturally inquisitive and intelligent. These are cats who need to live in a very active environment.
Bengals, for example, are always into something. They’re extremely athletic and need to be mentally stimulated by their environment. They’re fun to live with, but their people need to be prepared to be at their beck and call.
Maine Coons are also highly intelligent and sensitive creatures. My late Maine Coon, Abby, was always eager to learn tricks and play with me and with the other cats. She also kept the other cats in line with her well-timed “mommy nips” to let them know they were misbehaving.
There are many intelligent breeds out there and, when adopting these cats, you need to offer them a vibrant and busy household. Having lots of people to play with and activities to do will keep them engaged and out of trouble.
Even if your cat isn’t a “high-intellect” type, he still may act like a crazy cat if there isn’t a lot for him to do. Boredom can lead a cat into situations that may endanger his life while he’s looking around for something to keep him occupied. This is especially true in a multi-cat household and/or homes with kittens.
I recall going to one of my appointments in the early days of my catsitting company. It was a household with two adult cats plus three kittens under the age of 6 months. Upon arrival, I found that plants had been smashed to the floor, a glass shelf above the bathroom sink had been cleared of all its contents (some breakable!), and the water bowls had all been tipped over. I believe there was a bit of boredom going on since their person had left for her trip. One or more of them could have easily gotten hurt.
If you have a high-energy cat who acts “crazy” all the time, offer him plenty of interactive toys like puzzle boxes, food balls, scratching posts and, of course, cat trees to climb. If you have a window where you can attach a bird feeder outside, your kitty will love watching the birds from atop his cat tree. It’ll give him plenty of mental stimulation and something to do while you’re at work. Birdwatching will also help keep him from getting into your things and creating his own solution to his boredom.
As well as self-play activities, cats also crave interaction and playtime from their humans. Just five to 10 minutes of interactive playtime with you before their meals will mimic their natural cat rhythm of hunt (play in this case), eat, preen, sleep.
If your cat keeps you up at night with his crazy antics, move his mealtime to just before bedtime, with play/hunt preceding his dinner. He’ll be ready to settle down to sleep right afterward, so you both can get some rest and be ready for the challenges of tomorrow.
Tell us: Do you have a crazy cat? How do you deal?
Thumbnail: Photography ©cynoclub | Thinkstock.
Rita Reimers’ Cat Behavior Coaching has helped many cat owners better understand their feline friends. Visit RitaReimers.com to read her cat behavior blog or to book a cat behavior coaching session. Rita is also the CEO/owner of JustForCatsPetsitting.com. Connect with her on Facebook and
on Twitter at @theCatAnalyst.
Editor’s note: This article appeared in Catster’s print magazine. Have you seen Catster Magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home!
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