Updated July 2019
Is your cat doing the cat crazies at night, charging around the house in a maniacal fashion? Now that our cat is elderly, the crazies have all but disappeared, he is nearly 17 after all.
He did surprise us a few weeks ago with a modified mad dash, so the instinct is still there even though the body is slowing down.
Believe it or not, this is normal cat behaviour and most cat owners will have tales of their cats doing the crazy, crazy dash.
In the case of our cat, harking back to youthful times, one minute all would be normal and then... it was as though he has some internal message saying there was the sale of the century at IKEA and he would take off like a rocket.
He would gallop along on the wooden boards, skid out the door, sprint around the yard, perhaps up the tree only to return inside gallop around a bit more and then lie down as though nothing has happened and with no sign of moving anywhere.
He never appeared stressed or fearful, he was just on a mission. It was actually quite amusing to watch.
These antics could happen at any time of the day or night and in fact were often at night.
It is just part of kitties pent up energy. It is just catches us off guard.
They do it because instinctively they are hunters and their inbuilt radar tells them to go and catch their prey. This may involve sudden short bursts of energy much like watching a big cat on TV stalk his prey and then go in for the kill.
It’s all in the surprise. Sorry to sound gruesome but it is part of kitty’s natural behavior.
The night part is because cats are crepuscular which means that they are most active at dawn and dusk.
First of all, it is not a behavior you are going to stop and there is no need to worry about it. We all know kitties work in mysterious ways.
Keeping the cat active and stimulated can replicate hunting behavior. Provide toys that he can chase and provide interaction.
If your cat is only an indoors kitty, you will need to be the provider of stimulation.
I found myself laughing while watching this video.
Simon Tofield's animation absolutely nails the cat crazies and there is some excellent advice from a cat behavior expert.
Toys such as fishing rod toys are great for playing with the cat.
Remember to let the cat catch the toy (prey to your kitty) so that he has some satisfaction of catching what he was chasing.
There is more detail about this in the video.
If the behavior described above doesn’t sound like your kitty and you are concerned that your kitty's behavior is more extreme, it may be a more of a serious behavioral problem. Sometimes and the most obvious thing to check for is fleas.
However there are also more threatening conditions such as Hyperesthesia Syndrome.
There is more information about FHS here.
Common symptoms include:
If you have any concerns it is always best practice to go to the vet.
For most of us, the cat night crazies are just part and parcel of owning a cat and we wouldn't change anything for the world.