If you have owned one, two, or several cats long enough, you will notice that there are times when they can become a little crazy. They suddenly start running through the house frantically at high speeds or playing with a toy in a very hyper way. Almost like a kid who has had too many sweets or when you have just a bit too much coffee, they can’t seem to be still! This is what the internet has coined as “zoomies” and we will explain why this happens.
WHAT ARE “ZOOMIES”?
Dubbed by the animal lovers of the internet, zoomies are moments when animals (typically pets) get extremely hyper for no apparent reason and start running around or playing very fast and careless. As mentioned above, this is similar to a child having too many sweets and not being able to calm down. Zoomies typically only last a minute or two but depending on your cat’s age, can last up to 5 or 10 minutes at a time.
WHAT CAUSES A CAT TO BECOME SUDDENLY HYPER?
There are a few different reasons behind a cat suddenly becoming hyper out of nowhere. Very rarely is it something to worry about and it is considered completely normal. Cats of all ages can experience this, including senior cats. The main three causes are a relaxed environment, nutrition spikes, and boredom.
Cats are known for sleeping many hours and on average sleep around 16 hours a day. This does not include the time they spend laying around just relaxing. Because they spend so much time in a passive mode and do not have to worry about hunting food, this often leads to outbursts of hyperactive play. This is believed to be because they were brought out of a wild environment where they would normally be expelling energy while hunting into a domesticated one where they need to rely on play to expel the energy. It is worth noting that cats are not domesticated creatures and only semi-domesticated at best. This kind of reaction to built-up energy is perfectly natural for an animal with instilled wild instincts.
Almost all food options for cats on the market are enriched with nutrition to ensure they are getting all the right amounts of vitamins and minerals needed for a balanced healthy diet. Some foods have higher levels of vitamins and minerals added to them than others and this can result in your cat having a lot of energy after their meal. Sometimes this will happen immediately after they are done eating, other times it will happen after their after-meal nap session. This is more common in kittens and young adults than seniors. Some cats are even known to simply react in an overly joyful way to their favorite food or meal which can be viewed as hyper-active play.
A cat who is seldom played with or who has limited ways of entertaining themselves will often find itself with a lot of pent up energy. This kind of energy can become destructive. While the other two causes often express utter silliness and running around, this form of energy release is usually an angry one. Cats who are bored and have outbursts of energy will often attack furniture, other pets, and even people. This kind of behavior is easily remedied by simply spending more time playing with your cat. A feather wand is a great toy to have on hand and most cats love them. You want to make sure your cat is never this bored as it can lead to great amounts of stress and even feline depression.
“MY CAT IS TOO HYPER!”
If you have a kitten or young adult cat, you can expect them to have some moments where they expel their energy. Some cats are more prone to being hyper than others and this can cause a cat owner a bit of distress if it is happening too often. If your cat is hyper often, this is likely because they are bored and need some form of entertainment in your home. Having a playmate is ideal for cats like this but is not always an option. To ensure your cat is happy and not being a cute little fluff ball of destruction, you will want to make sure you have plenty of toys for them to play with, things for them to climb, access to a window or two, and play with them daily using a cat wand or other toy they enjoy.
HEALTH RISKS OF HYPER-ACTIVE PLAY
While in most cases, your cat having the zoomies now and then is nothing to worry about, for cats with underlying heart conditions, it is something worth monitoring. Some breeds of cats are more prone to heart defects and a sudden rise in the heart rate can lead to a stroke or heart attack that can be fatal. Breeds that are more prone to heart problems include the Sphynx, Bengal, Persian, Abyssinian, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Norwegian Forest Cat, and the Ragamuffin. It is a good idea if you have one of the purebreds mentioned to do regular check-ups from the age of 8 onward to ensure their hearts are healthy.