Why does my cat suddenly run around and get the ‘crazies’?

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Does your cat often have mad moments and run around the house crazily? Find out more about why your cat gets the zoomies...

There’s a good chance that you’ve seen your cat engage in what seems like ‘crazy’ or ‘mad’ moments. You could be sitting on the sofa in peace and tranquility, and then, suddenly, your cat comes racing into the room with wide eyes, miaowing like crazy, frantically darting around, and then, suddenly, stops dead in their tracks, as if to say ‘What’s all the fuss about?’

Young cats are particularly prone to this behaviour, but it can also be seen in older cats, no matter the breed. However, there are rational explanations for your kitty’s seemingly ‘crazy’ moments.

Do only indoor cats get the 'crazies'?

Some cats spend a lot of time indoors and, therefore, have a restricted ability to express their natural feline behaviours. While they are no doubt well cared for, they might not be getting enough opportunity to run and chase prey — something cats are hardwired to do. When considering that a cat can reach speeds of 30mph, given enough space, in many cases the instinct to hunt could be thwarted. This can simply lead to the cat having to release their frustrations — displayed in that ‘crazy’ moment! These rather amusing demonstrations are often a very clever strategy that your cat employs to release pent-up energy and to help keep them in shape.

If your cat regularly has these crazy moments, they might not be getting enough environmental stimulation and, in cases like this, try introducing several interactive play sessions with fishing rod-style toys that resemble prey, such as feathers, fur, and so on, that will encourage them to chase and jump, which should utilise her instincts. Also, provide puzzle feeders (containing her favourite treats) to help her expend some of her mental energy.

Why is my older cat getting the 'crazies'?

While many of the ‘crazy’ moments can be attributed to the inability to display natural feline behaviours, there are several other reasons worth mentioning. If you have an older cat, it is possible that they are acting a little crazy due to senility or cognitive dysfunction. As our feline friends get older, their brains often start functioning differently, which can cause them to exhibit strange behaviours.

Sometimes, cats will have mad moments and act crazy because they have fleas, particularly when miaowing is involved; a cat could simply have an itch in a place they can’t reach or be hypersensitive to flea bites.

If none of the above seem to apply to your cat and you are sincerely concerned, it’s never a bad idea to talk to your vet. There is a disorder known as hyperesthesia syndrome — a mysterious condition that can make a cat react as though she has the kitty crazies. Your vet can help you determine if this is something your cat is manifesting.