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What causes cat Zoomies?

My Cat Is Running Around Like a Maniac

While recording it can make good social media fodder, having your cat round around the house like crazy is often disruptive. They can knock over items, disturb our sleep or generally cause a stressful atmosphere. More importantly, it can make us worry about the wellbeing of our cat. These sudden attacks of mania happen to most cats when they are young, but they usually lessen as they get older. Whatever age of the cat, they are an example of FRAP (frenetic random activity period), although they are commonly known as ‘zoomies’.

If your cat is running around like a maniac, it is important to understand why. In many cases, they will be aberrant and will not cause the cat any harm. AnimalWised explains more about zoomies in cats and highlights when they might be a problem.

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  1. Why is my cat running around like crazy?
  2. My cat runs around like crazy at night
  3. What to do if my cat runs like crazy all over the house

Why is my cat running around like crazy?

We have already explained that these frenetic bursts of energy are a form of FRAP, known as zoomies in cats. While this explains what they are, it doesn’t explain why they happen. Here are the most common reasons why your cat is running around the house like maniac:

Energy release

Frenetic random activity periods have been widely documented and studied in dogs. Although there is much anecdotal evidence of zoomies in cats, they are not as well documented in scientific research.

This behavior is often considered totally normal in cats. You should not worry if your cat starts running like crazy from time to time. They are likely releasing excess energy which often happens especially in cats which do not have outdoor access. They often involve actions which are expressions of cat hunting behaviors such as grabbing your ankles or jumping up onto shafts of light.

In these non-pathological causes of FRAP in cats, they usually only last for a very short period of time. They are common in kittens which generally have more energy to spend and they will calm down soon enough. Once they stop, they often retire for a rest as the energy is not depleted.

Survival instinct

It is also possible that you have observed your cat run away after using their litter box. This curious behavior does not occur in all cats, but it is common among certain felines. It is considered a response to the instinct to move away as quickly as possible from the place where they urinate or defecate so that the smell does not attract predators.

Stress and anxiety

When your cat’s zoomies occur often, last a long time or are accompanied by other behavioral or physical symptoms, it is likely they have a health problem. This is especially the case when the cat runs like crazy multiple times a day.

It is possible your cat is naturally hyperactive, but often this restlessness is due to stress and anxiety. When the cat receives trauma, neglect, poor socialization, lives in a stressful environment or experiences any of the causes of stress in cats, it can result in stereotypies. These are behaviors which don’t have any obvious purpose, but which the cat enacts repetitively. Running around like crazy is a common one.


While the vast majority of cases will not be due to a physical ailment, it is a possible reason for a cat running around like a maniac. Zoomies can be a symptom of diseases such a hyperthyroidism. This is a common reason why your old cat is running around like crazy, since it is more common in older cats. Its causes are not well known, it is believed to be influenced by factors such as genetics and diet.

Disease which affect hormone production can be the cause for the hyperactivity. For example, a tumor on the adrenal gland can cause overproduction of adrenaline and lead to more cases of FRAP. Some of these diseases are curable, some require symptom management and others may threaten the life of your cat. For this reason, the first thing you need to do if you suspect a pathological cause of zoomies is to go to a veterinarian.

My cat runs around like crazy at night

Cats are naturally crepuscular animals which means their peaks of activity generally occur in the early morning and late evening. However, domestic felines have adapted to the routines and lifestyle of their guardians. The conditions of the environment in which they live such as temperature, daylight hours and outdoor access are also important. For this reason, it is not uncommon for cats to be particularly active at night.

This is especially prevalent in summer. When temperatures get too hot during the day, cats often rest in cool places and wait until nightfall to carry out activities. This includes playing, hunting, interacting with their guardians or simply going out for a walk around the neighborhood. If your cat is an indoor cat, they don’t have many toys to play with, they live alone, they are young and they only get to see you at night, it makes sense they may be more active at this time.

If your cat suddenly goes crazy at night and even starts nibbling at you while you sleep, it likely means they need more stimulation at other times of the day. Of course, we first need to rule out a physical health problem, but we explain what you can do if your cat is acting like a maniac too often.

Cat hyperactivity is not the same as aggression, although there is some overlap. Learn more with our article on why a cat attacks you.

My Cat Is Running Around Like a Maniac - My cat runs around like crazy at night

What to do if my cat runs like crazy all over the house

As we have explained, FRAPs are usually completely normal behaviors and not pathological. If they don’t cause you harm or upset the equilibrium of the home, then you may not need to do anything other than see if they want to play. However, if the reasons for zoomies may be related to stress or boredom, then there are some things we can do when a cat is acting like a maniac:

    Move away dangerous objects: although the appearance of a FRAP is usually completely unexpected, cats usually follow the same path when they are carrying out zoomies. Observe their path and make sure to remove any object that could damage the animal. The feline is running at high speed, so they can can misjudge distances and hit something.

If you want to read similar articles to My Cat Is Running Around Like a Maniac, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

Why Do Cats Get the Zoomies?

Learn why cats suddenly zoom around like crazy.

Why Do Cats Get the Zoomies?

Does your cat sometimes suddenly act super crazy, racing around the house, jumping on furniture, and pouncing on everything in sight? Some people call this the zoomies, cat crazy time, or the cat crazies. Here are a couple of things to know about why cats get the zoomies.

Cat Crazy Time Is the Release of Pent-Up Energy

The zoomies in cats is more frequently seen in kittens and cats that live in small spaces or that are alone a lot. It’s the release of pent-up energy that hasn’t been spent on hunting or playing throughout the day. Remember, cats are predators, so when they live indoors and don’t have to hunt, that energy can build up and needs to be released.

Simply Purrfect

If your adult cat frequently gets the zoomies, it could mean that she needs more interactive playtime with you. Set aside two 10-minute play sessions per day, and engage your cat with an interactive wand toy. Be sure to put the toy away between sessions, so your cat doesn’t try to play with it alone and become dangerously entangled.

Kittens probably need significantly more interactive playtime than older cats, and some very active cats might need more too. Increase your cat’s playtime as needed.

If you are gone and your cat is home alone a lot, you can provide puzzle toys and automatic cat toys to help release her mental and physical energy during that time.

Add scratching posts and trees to your home to help your cat get out extra energy throughout the day. Scratching is very good for cats’ mental health, and it can also decrease the chances that your cat will scratch inappropriate items in your home because she is not getting her energy out elsewhere.

Zoomies Can Indicate Anxiety in Cats

If your cat has suddenly begun to engage in cat crazy time when she never did so before, it could indicate that she is suffering anxiety for some reason. This is sometimes the case when you moved to a new home, get a new pet, or have a new schedule that impacts the time you spend with your cat.

Many times, anxiety and cats can be relieved by employing some of the methods above, including extra interactive playtime. You may also wish to use a Feliway diffuser to help calm your cat. Feliway is a substance that mimics a calming pheromone produced by felines, and it can help decrease anxiety and stress in cats.

Cats May Run Around Like Crazy from a Medical Problem

Medical problems can cause this crazy running around behavior that some cats engage in. You should be especially suspicious of a medical problem. If the behavior begins suddenly, with no obvious triggers. Here are some of the medical conditions that can cause this feline behavior:

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  • Hyperthyroidism. In older cats, hyperthyroidism can cause increased energy levels and that might result in the zoomies.
  • Flea infestation. Cats receiving flea bites might zoom around like crazy, trying to get away from the sensation.
  • Allergies or other itchy skin problems. As is the case with flea bites, cats with other uncomfortable skin conditions might race around like crazy in an attempt to escape from the irritating feeling.
  • Changes in hearing or eyesight. This is especially the case in older cats. Changes in hearing or eyesight might cause them to be spooked by sounds or sights they can’t identify easily.

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Zoomies after Visiting the Litter Box

Some cats zoom away from their litter box after using it, and that’s especially common after defecation. This might be because the litter box isn’t clean enough and is unpleasant to the cat. It could also indicate a medical problem resulting in discomfort for the kitty when she goes, like constipation or an anal gland infection. Cats might also zoom away from the litter box due to innate urges telling them predators might find them through the smell so they should get out of there.

If your cat suddenly begins zooming away from the litter box, check the contents and see if there is diarrhea, abnormally hard stool, or blood in the stool or urine. Call your veterinarian if you find anything unusual, and be sure to keep the box as clean as possible.

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