Feline behaviour consultant Kim Houston offers some tips on how to enrich your kitten's environment to reduce pent-up energy...
Q) My two kittens get the ‘zoomies’ every night at 6pm without fail and they cause absolute havoc! They run round and jump on the shelves and bookcases, knocking things off and generally make a huge mess. How can I get them to calm down?
A) KIM SAYS: I am sure that many people reading this will be living with a feline friend that performs similar behaviours and will be familiar with the moments of madness that you’re describing.
One minute everything may be peaceful and tranquil in your house and then all of a sudden, your cat comes racing into the room with big wide eyes, darting around and wreaking havoc in the process! Young cats are particularly prone to this behaviour but it can also be seen in older cats. However, there are rational explanations for your kitties seemingly crazy moments.
Chances are, your kittens have a build-up of energy and need to release it. Some cats spend a lot of time indoors and therefore have a restricted ability to express their natural feline behaviours. They might not be getting enough opportunity to run and chase prey, something cats are hardwired to do. These rather amusing demonstrations are often a very clever strategy that cats employ to release pent-up energy and to help keep them in shape.
Due to the fact that your kittens are regularly having these crazy moments, it might well be that they are not getting enough environmental enrichment and stimulation in their day.
Enrichment protocols will help them to dispel this pent-up energy, thus leading to a more peaceful evening for you! I would suggest that you try introducing several interactive play sessions with fishing rod toys that resemble prey that will encourage them to chase and jump, which should utilise this excess energy. Also, provide puzzle feeders containing their favourite treats to help them to expend some of their mental energy. The addition of some extra three-dimensional height would also prove most useful and will provide them with an acceptable platform to launch themselves on to!