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Do you have a crazy kitty that won’t stop running, licking, and jumping? Hyperactivity happens to cats from time to time. It can be due to pent-up energy or a case of anxiety. Whatever the cause is, it’s best to know how to calm a hyper cat to prevent injuries and damages to your home.
What is feline hyperactivity, and what causes it?
The truth is that cats are naturally hyperactive. It’s in their genes. And if you don’t provide proper stimulation, feline hyperactivity will occur.
The most common reason behind hyperactivity is pent-up energy. You fail to stimulate your cat mentally and physically, so it finds ways to drain the fuel.
This condition is also called the ‘mad half hour’ when cats experience a burst of energy that will usually last for 30 minutes. It’s common for indoor kitties.
A cat inflicted with mad half hour will have zoomies for no apparent reason. Your feline will also pounce, chase, and climb like mad. This may happen once a day if the kitty is left to its own devices.
But aside from excess energy, another possible reason behind hyperactivity is hyperthyroidism.
The thyroid gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormone. This hormone regulates the body’s metabolic rate, as well as brain, muscle, and heart functions, among others.
Cats with hyperthyroidism will experience increased production of this hormone. This will lead to unexplained hyperactivity, unusual weight loss despite increased appetite, and excessive urination and thirst. A cat with hyperthyroidism will also appear unkempt.
How to calm a hyperactive cat
A hyperactive cat may not seem like a problem until the kitty topples expensive vases or sustains injuries. You have to do something about the unending zoomies before anything untoward occurs. For my kitten Watson, here’s what I do:
1. Rule out health problems
First things first: you should get any health problems ruled out. You should bring your cat to the vet for hyperthyroidism tests. The vet can also perform general checkups to identify other possible health problems that might be causing hyperactive behavior.
If your cat indeed has hyperthyroidism, the vet will formulate a treatment plan. It can be simple medications, radioactive iodine therapy, or surgery. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Most cats that received proper treatment will live normal lives.
2. Don’t repress the behavior
You should never stop a cat from burning its excess energy! Trying to stop the cat physically may end in painful scratches and bites. Let the cat do its thing until it calms down.
The key here is providing a safe space where your kitty can play and expel the energy. By creating safe outdoor spaces, your cat can roam, zoom, and pounce to its heart’s content. This will also prevent damages inside your home.
Some cat owners report ‘cabin fever’ on their cats after the kitties are kept indoors for quite long. Like humans, you should let the feline have a breath of fresh air in the yard. Still, you should secure it and ensure that the kitty can’t jump off the fence.
You can create a dog run into a cat run using a long leash. However, you should be there to supervise the kitty as the leash may get tangled.
3. More exercise!
If you can’t bring your cat outdoors, indoor playtime is very important. You should drain your cat’s energy even before it drives the kitty mad.
You should get the cat a scratching post, cat trees, and interactive toys. This will keep the cat busy instead of just running around the house. If you want something simple, you can tie a string toy to a ceiling fan and let your cat go mad following it.
I once did it to Watson, and he had a blast. After 20 minutes, he’s already tired and napping.
4. Keep the household calm
Cats are very sensitive when it comes to various stimuli. They can get overstimulated when exposed to loud sounds, excessive petting, and rough play. It’s important to limit these stressors to prevent a surge in your cat’s activity.
Sometimes, adding a new cat to the family will help tame the resident kitty’s hyperactivity. Also, the latter will have someone to play with even if you’re not at home.
5. Consider using calming solutions
If your kitty doesn’t seem to calm down despite your efforts, it’s probably time to explore calming aids. You can try any of the following with proper consultation with the vet:
- Calming spray. A calming spray mimics the natural pheromone of cats. It helps reduce stress to calm a neurotic kitty. It’s almost odorless for humans, but your cat can easily pick up the scent.
- Calming collar. A calming collar is infused with pheromones and essential oils that are safe and relaxing for cats. It helps reduce stress so your kitty will not get nervous.
- Calming chews. If any of the two aids don’t work, you can try calming cat chews instead. This looks like a typical cat treat, but it contains calming ingredients to biologically lower your kitty’s hyperactivity. You should still consult the vet before giving it to your cat, especially if it has a sensitive stomach.
- Calming supplements. For cats with excessive hyperactivity, the vet may recommend a calming supplement. This helps a lot when a cat is exposed to stressful stimuli. It’s also an excellent option for kitties that get overstimulated easily.
Do cats ever calm down?
The answer to this question pretty much depends on the breed of your cat. In general, cats don’t really calm down since they are born predators. They will brush up their hunting skills now and then.
Still, cats will mature, and their kitten hyperactivity will subside by three to four years. As the cat enters seniorhood, it will become less and less active. Despite that, you should still engage your cat physically to prevent obesity.
If you want a calm cat, you should avoid breeds like Abyssinian, Bengal, Bombay, American Bobtail, Burmese, and Egyptian Mau. Also, Cornish and Devon Rex are dubbed ‘small but terrible’ due to their smaller size yet hyperactive personality.
Why do kittens go crazy at night?
Cats are nocturnal beings, so don’t be surprised if your kitten seems to go crazy at night. Aside from that, kittens that don’t get enough exercise during the day will wreak havoc in the night to drain the energy.
Still, you can realign your kitty’s circadian rhythm. A hearty playtime an hour before bedtime will surely drain your cat’s energy. By the time you go to bed, your furry baby is already sound asleep.
Experts also suggest that cats tend to be attuned to the schedule of their owners. Some of these kitties will sleep at night and remain active in the morning to be with their owners.
If your kitten’s hyperactivity at night is bothering, it’s best to keep the kitty out of the room. Just make sure that it has a safe play and pounce in your house.
Knowing how to calm a hyper cat will save you from broken vases, falling decorations, and emergency vet visits due to injury. This will also help your cat curb stress and negative behavior.
Do you have a hyper cat, too? How do you deal with the zoomies? Share it with us!