Do you ever watch as your cat scurries around the house at top speed, leaping over and around furniture, seemingly hunting an invisible prey? While it might seem odd, the behavior known as "the zoomies," or frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs) is perfectly normal for cats. In this post, we'll take a closer look at why cats get the zoomies and share tips on how to minimize disruption from them.
Zoomies: an innate cat instinct
Zoomie behavior is an essential aspect of a cat’s natural playfulness and agility, and it’s actually rooted in a cat’s natural instinct to hunt, which remains deeply ingrained despite hundreds of years of domestication. To satiate this need, house cats will suddenly spring into action, stalking and chasing imaginary prey, performing acrobatic leaps, and changing directions with extreme precision.
Besides instincts, another factor in the zoomies is excess energy–cats are avid nappers, and extended periods of rest can lead to an accumulation of pent-up energy that needs to be released. Additionally, some cats may experience zoomies as a response to the environment or stimuli, hyperactively running from room to room as a coping mechanism.
How to work with your cat’s zoomies
While there’s nothing wrong with the zoomies, they can be sometimes annoying or even startling for cat owners, especially when they happen late at night. One way to minimize calamity from night zoomies is to ensure your cat gets lots of exercise to help regulate their energy levels. You can engage in play sessions with toys designed for cat workouts, and you can incorporate cat agility training at home.
Another option is to provide scratching posts throughout your home, as scratching allows cats to release energy while also acting as a coping mechanism when they're feeling anxious or bored. Additionally, investing in interactive toys can keep your cat engaged and fulfilled.
Even a cat that gets in tons of playing and scratching will probably still get the zoomies sometimes. If you’re worried about damage to your space, you can keep your cat contained in certain rooms when you are sleeping or aren’t home. You can block off specific rooms or areas where potential hazards exist, such as staircases, delicate furniture, or breakable items. This can be done using baby gates, doors, or even strategically placed furniture.
Another strategy is to provide your cat with ample hiding places throughout your home. This not only satisfies their instinctual need for refuge but also helps channel their playful, sneaky energy more safely. Consider integrating cat tunnels, boxes, or even strategically placed blankets in various corners to create makeshift hideouts.
For the most part, zoomies are harmless. As long as your favorite glass vase isn’t going to get knocked over and smashed when your cat starts zooming, you can sit back and marvel at your cat’s athleticism and grace, knowing it is displaying some of its most innate feline instincts.