Many cat owners can relate to what can only be described as an over active, or hyperactive cat behavior, and it can be quite difficult to know for sure if this is just normal behavior, or something more. More often than not hyperactivity in cats is quite normal, even if it does seem a little over the top. However, there could be a behavioral issue at play here, or even an underlying medical condition. Therefore, let us take a closer look at hyperactive behavior in general, and what we can try to slow it down in a natural way, but also look at possible medical conditions that may be causing this hyperactivity issue too, so read on to learn more.
Important considerations determining hyperactive cat behavior
1. Cat bored during your absence
One of the first things you need to discover is whether your cat is hyperactive all the time, or just when you are at home, because many owners have realized that the hyperactivity in their cat only occurs when they come home from work. This type of hyperactivity is usually the result of him being bored all day when you are away, and now you have returned it is play time, at least for your cat. Having said that, this generally happens when there is a single cat in the house, and not much for him to do during the day time while you are away.
2. Amount of playtime with your cat
- If, your cat is more hyper just when you are at home, try to allocate some time each evening for just playing with him ,and giving him attention. You can use some great toys for cats, especially ones that involve him chasing something, like a toy mouse, a ball, or feathers on a fishing type pole, and this also helps him burn energy. Moreover, getting some new toys for him to play with while your away may help keep him active when he’s alone. Now, even though he may have plenty of toys, getting some new ones may help him get into that hunting, playing mode while alone, making him less hyper when you walk through the door. Here is a short video of our son’s cat Lily playing with her favorite ball.
- When playing with your cat, be sure to start off with something active where he has to jump and run, then move on to something a little less active like playing with a ball, and eventually finishing off with some petting on your lap, like a winding down segment. Starting very active, and winding down will let him know that playtime is coming to an end, and you may find the hyperactivity may not be so bad. Of course, not all cats are the same, and there are many that just want to continue to play, and it can seem like they have a never ending supply of energy.
3. Is your cat spayed or neutered?
Some cat owners say that by getting a hyperactive cat spayed, or neutered that this can sometimes ease the hyperactivity issue, and although this does lead to less unwanted kittens, it doesn’t always stop hyperactivity. Each cat is different, and some have more energy than others, while some want to stay up all night, and yet others will sleep all night instead. Sometimes introducing another cat into the home can help, because even when you’re not at home they can play and use up some of that excess energy.
4. Cats in heat
Cats also become extremely active when in heat, a female in heat can become hyperactive, and a male cat can also become hyperactive if he senses females in heat. If, your cat is hyperactive during these times only then spaying, or neutering may be effective, and this may be a good time to discuss the situation with your vet. Visiting your vet regularly is recommended even with cats, although many owners do not think about regular visits with cats, because they generally don’t have many problems, but he can rule out any medical conditions.
5. Is your cat stressed?
Sometimes hyperactivity in cats can be stress related, meaning there could be something in his surroundings that makes him anxious or stressful. Having said that, this is harder to work out, because you need to find what is causing him the stress or anxiety, and probably the only way to do that is to place a camera in the home while you are at work or out shopping. Of course, it may be just because he has separation issues, because some cats get extremely attached to their owners that when you are gone he gets stressed, or anxious and when you come home he cannot contain himself.
6. Does your cat have a medical condition?
There are some medical conditions that can cause hyperactivity in your cat, but there are usually other signs that go with hyperactivity, which can point to a medical condition. Hyperthyroidism is a fairly common condition that appears in older cats, and one of the side effects of this condition can by hyperactivity, but this is usually accompanied by other signs too. Along with hyperactivity you would normally see weight loss, increased appetite, irritability, or restlessness, of course not all at once, but with two, or more of these signs you may want to consult your vet.
7. Allergies and infections
Other causes of hyperactive behavior could be allergies, and we know this may sound strange, but if a cat is allergic to something that makes them itch, either from allergies or infection, it can also make them run around abnormally. Feline AIDS, or feline infectious peritonitis can also cause temporary manic behavior as can brain disorders. It can be difficult to narrow down the reason behind hyperactivity in a cat, so much of it is trial and error. However, don’t neglect taking him to the vet for a thorough examination, and explain the situation with your vet, so you can both discuss what may be causing the hyperactivity.
8. Introducing new things to the cat’s surroundings
Finally, if you have a cat that is prone to hyper behavior, try introducing new things to his surroundings for him to explore, they say a change is as good as a rest and this can be true with cats too. A new scratching post that goes from floor to ceiling, and some new perching spots can help, as can some new toys to play with.
Many owners that have had overactive cats have been surprised how much their pet calmed down once they found the underlying cause. With that said, we hope our article here will help you identify some useful tips that you may not have thought of, and hopefully one of them will work out for you and your cat.
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18 thoughts on “Hyperactive Cat Behavior. How To Distinguish Between Normal And Abnormal Cat Habits.”
My cat is not hyperactive – she is pretty quiet and relaxed. I have noticed that with some smells (usually household cleaning products) and when I have to use her spot on flea treatment she goes mad. At this point she definitely is hyperactive – and for quite some time, it can last a day.
Do you think the smells over stimulate a certain part of her neurological system so sending her into this frenzy of activity or is she just trying to escape what is disturbing her?
I try not to use cleaning products when she is inside but I have to use the flea medication and sometimes it is quite worrying,
Thanks for your comments Elizabeth. Cats have a far more acute sense of smell than humans so it is quite possible that certain household chemicals can trigger such a reaction. As for flea treatments Oscar, our cat, hates his monthly treatment and always bolts away after receiving his dose! I don’t consider this to be abnormal though as he does this every time and after all this treatment is tfor his benefit
Great advice James! And I really like the vid. I thought it was funny lol
Hi James, great post! I’m a house/pet sitter for all sorts of animals, including cats. It’s true, they are all different. I like to have a consultation with the owners before they leave for their travels and find out what is normal behaviour for their animal. If a cats always excited, its generally fine. It’s more worrying if their behaviour changes from their own unique normal.
Thank you Kate. I enjoyed reading those comments. Well I am shortly to be tested on cat behavior habits as my son and his fiancee are leaving their 2 cats ( 1 male and 1 female ) with my wife and I for a few weeks over Christmas while they are on holiday. It will be an interesting time to see how Oscar, our cat, copes with the intrusion!
Hi James, what an awesome post you have shared with us! 😀
I love cats and I have a beautiful cat from Norway called Garfield! 🙂
Thank god I have never noticed abnormal habits in him, I think that’s good
Thank you so much for the heads up and have a wonderful day ahead! 😀
Thank you Anis. So pleased that you enjoyed reading my article and I hope that Garfield is leading a healthy cat life!.
Hi thanks for this post. Our 6 months old kitten is certainly very very active. Its normally just in the evening when we get home and also in the morning (No Lie-Ins for us) . But even at weekend she has the same habits. Sleeping most of the day and coming alive in the evening. We just assumed this was Kitten Behaviour and she grow out of it. Really she isn’t two bad, its just the Curtain climbing we would like to curtail.
James, I really enjoyed this article. I hate to know that the little darlings are bored when left alone and so they are hyperactive when we get home. Yes, leaving a toy or two for them to play with sounds good and healthy as well. I would hate to neuter my cat though just to make him less active. Not sure I like the idea. Good job James!
Thank you Josephine for those comments. Neutering a cat is always a controversial subject. My thoughts on the matter is that it is probably unimportant to do so if you have an indoor cat but highly desirable if the majority of its time is spent outdoors to limit unwanted offspring.
Yes, I agree with you about the unwanted offsprings.
Great post mate. The instant I saw that photo at the top I cracked up laughing. My cat is pretty psycho. He loves to stir up the dogs, even more so at night when we are going to bed.
We rescued him from an animal shelter when he was about 6 months old, and he is now nearly 7. He has calmed down a lot as he has gotten older, but I do remember hearing somewhere that cats can have behavioural issues if they’re separated from their mother very early in life. What are your thoughts?
My cat is young was spent part of his life as a stray, but he is now a happy house cat. He gets playful and races around the house at times (I have a large house so he has the room to run around) but is not hyperactive. I have two large fish tanks, so you can say that keeps the cat entertained! Sometimes he paws at the glass trying to catch a fish. It gets fun to watch 🙂
Hello James, I think our cat is hyperactive and we are struggling a bit. Jack is 2 (part tabby, part bengal) he has been loopy since we got him at 9 weeks. He catnaps in 15 minute intervals. He is constantly climbing, investigating, digging, playing outside. My husband and I both work from home and spend 24/7 with our cats. Jack is very vocal and talks constantly. Sometimes he sings, sometimes he screeches. We play with our cats throughout the day, although our ginger sleeps from 8:30am to 6:30pm. Jack wakes us @ 3:30am and howls if nobody gets up to play with him. He is spayed / neutered. He has a harness, so we take him for walks. My husband and I are both 40 so we love running with him and playing with him. But I’ve never come across a cat quite so daffy. He’ll even try to get into hot pots while I’m cooking. SOS please Thank you
Many thanks Gina for sharing your moggy experiences. Trying to get into hot pots WOW!! That certainly beats the antics of Tiger, our first cat, Who liked to snooze on top of our outdoors hot water unit on cold days it was like he was in a sauna with clouds of steam rising from the unit around him!!
We adopted Woz at 6 weeks and he is now about 12 weeks old. He was a wild little thing from the get go and has not slowed down since. We have two other cats 1 and 5, he plays hard with the 1 year old. Recently we fostered, and will adopted, two abandoned kittens who are now 8 weeks – he is still crazy. He doesn’t stop playing – for hours on end. He climbs the curtains and screens, the insides of lamps ( we have shades off now) jumps in the bathtub with or without water etc. but he will come to us when he wants love. He is not yet neutered, but will be. the other two kittens are typical busy kittens, but nothing like Woz………..
Thank you Lorie for that information about your cats. Woz sounds as though he is a real handful! Just as Lily my son’s tortoise shell cat was. As a kitten she also used to climb our lounge room curtains ( definitely not good for the curtains!! ) and on top of doors and into the washing machine! She survived into adulthood and is much quieter these days!