It’s a quiet night, and you’re watching TV or reading at the end of a stressful workday. All of the sudden, your cat bolts across the room as if she’s chasing some imaginary prey, running back and forth, and sometimes even running over you! Your usually quiet kitty then spends the next several minutes racing around with her tail hair standing on end (bottle-brush tail, I call it), something often referred to as “zoomies,” until she suddenly stops as if she’s run out of gas.
This type of overactivity in cats can be hilarious — unless it happens constantly. Then it can quickly become frustrating and even lead to accidental destruction around the house, if your cat starts knocking things over as she races around. So, exactly what just happened to cause all that feline drama?
Under Stimulated = Hyperactive
Some cat breeds are naturally very active, requiring both physical and mental stimulation all throughout the day. Bengals, Sphynx and Siamese are just a few of the breeds considered innately high-energy and hyperactive. These cats require plenty of playtime with their human, as well as engaging self-play toys to use when they are home alone. Truly any breed of cat, left alone without toys or stimulating things to do while their humans are at work, can quickly become hyperactive once their humans come home.
Our indoor cats need, and often demand, active attention from their caretakers. Once you come home at the end of your work day, your bored cat may decide that’s the perfect time to zoom around and use his pent-up energy by running a mock hunt. Cats need that playtime activity, just as much as they need cuddle time, with you.
How to calm a hyperactive cat
Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to calm the overactive kitty that are fun for you, too! Here are three ideas you can try with your cats:
1) Playtime: Use a toy your cat can chase and/or fetch to mimic his natural hunting prowess. This works best when playtime occurs just before feeding time, giving your cat the illusion of catching his meal.
2) Puzzle toys: Putting some hard food or treats inside a puzzle toy that he has to maneuver to get food will keep his brain and body active.
3) Window perch: Cats love window perches so they can watch the world outside. Add a birdhouse, and your cat will sit at the window for hours dreaming about catching a bird.