Have you ever witnessed your cat exhibiting brief moments of hyperactivity, racing to and fro and meowing wildly? This is a phenomenon referred to as many as “the zoomies,” but it has a scientific name too: Frenetic Random Activity Periods or FRAP for short. Continue reading to learn more about this behavior and understand what your cat is going through when they are acting so frantic!
What causes the zoomies?
Cats of all ages naturally have lots of energy, especially kittens and younger cats. It is simply an effective way to burn off excess energy for these creatures who sleep much of the day (anywhere between 12 to 16 hours a day). After a long snooze, mad dashes around the house are the ideal way for cats to awaken their mind and body. Furthermore, cats are natural predators and are wont to pursue imaginary prey, even when provided with adequate amounts of food from their owners. You may even catch your kitten taking a lap after a trip to the litterbox, which is simply their celebration of a job well done.
How can I treat the zoomies?
Since FRAP is your cat’s way of releasing pent-up energy, one way to curb this behavior is by dedicating time out of each day to playing with them. These frantic episodes can be prevented by making sure your cat gets to expend a lot of its energy when it is awake. Furthermore, when your cat is experiencing the zoomies, take that opportunity to let your cat chase around its favorite toy. Rather than chasing the imaginary prey in their heads, they will love the chance to pursue a real target.
When do zoomies normally happen?
Contrary to popular belief, cats are not nocturnal but are crepuscular instead! If you are unfamiliar with the term, this means that they are naturally most active at dawn and dusk due to their biological need to take advantage of cooler times of day in order to more effectively hunt. This is why cats so often exhibit FRAP late at night, even if their owners are tucked away in bed. However, domestic cats do not rely on their hunting skills to survive and owners can discourage regular fits of hyperactivity at certain times of day by simply feeding their cats at different hours than dawn and dusk.
When should I worry?
The good news is that the zoomies are completely normal behavior for cats of all ages! However, if your cat starts to exhibit above average levels of activity, it may indicate an underlying health condition such as hyperthyroidism, which increases energy levels in older cats. If your cat is suffering from some type of irritation stemming from allergies or fleas, then they may race around to escape the unpleasant feeling. Keep in mind that the zoomies are normal for all cats but can be cause for concern if their activity is not consistent with their normal behavior.
If you have any questions about your cat’s behavior, contact us at Bayshore Animal Hospital! We have served Volusia County residents since 1982 and we are driven by our passion for pets. Our team is here to help your furry friend achieve long-term health and well-being. With every service we offer, we also take the time to talk you through the care process and address any additional questions you may have.