What Are The Zoomies

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?

One of the causes I’ve read is called Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs). I really love when our two calico cats get these and they make for hilarious videos and photos. These huge bursts of energy are different for every cat but none the less very entertaining to watch especially if you have two or more cats like in the video above. I know our cats will chase each other all over the house or climb the cat tower and scratch at invisible aliens.

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.

The most likely cause of FRAPs is your cat probably just needs to spend some energy, and quick and crazy is the way to do it in the cat world! This is why kitten or young cats are more prone to “frapping”.  It is actually quite normal for cats to go from a calm and disinterested state to an intense and very active state. This is, in fact, one of their favorite hunting techniques! The surprise effect works, doesn’t’ it?

Those energy bursts can be somewhat annoying, especially when they happen late atcat-having-crazy-zoomies-e1464933833650 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,001 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

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