All cats can be excitable occasionally, but they are generally quiet animals. They love curling up and sleeping for most of the day, and most of their remaining hours awake are spent self-grooming. However, some cats can become extremely hyperactive, even if they’ve been chilled-out kitties in the past. So, why is my cat so hyper all of a sudden?
Well, I have some good news. If your cat is suddenly hyperactive, this is usually a classic case of the cat zoomies caused by pent-up energy or predatory instincts. However, it could also indicate some illnesses or medical conditions, including fleas, hyperthyroidism, or even urinary infections.
I run through all these reasons for hyperactivity in this article. I then go on and teach you how to calm down a hyper cat. My cat is so energetic, so I am well-versed at this! Use the same tips and advice on this page and you can have your peaceful, sleepy kitty back once more.
Why Is My Cat So Energetic All of a Sudden?
If you’re asking yourself, “Why is my cat so hyper all of a sudden?”, know that you’re not alone. Cats are – or at least, were – wild animals. They still have the wild instincts to run and hunt in their DNA, and periods of hyperactivity are completely natural. Most owners will experience periods of their cat going a little crazy, and that’s okay!
However, sometimes this behavior can be pretty dangerous or destructive. It can also be caused by some medical conditions, which might need treatment. Therefore, it is important to discover the cause of this behavior, and you’ll find some of the most common causes listed below.
1. Pent-Up Energy
The most common cause of sudden hyperactive outbursts is that your cat has a load of pent-up energy. Now, all cats have different energy levels and different needs. For example, younger cats are much more energetic than older cats. Similarly, healthy cats tend to have more hyperactive periods than cats that are injured or sick.
Yet regardless of how much energy your cat has, this energy needs to be expelled in some way. For elderly or injured cats, day-to-day activities and a little playtime might suffice. But younger and more energetic cats might need much more of an outlet.
If your cat’s energy is not channeled and expelled, it builds and builds until it reaches boiling point. This will then result in a dramatic outburst of hyper behavior. Your cat might run around like mad, scale the furniture, or partake in any other kind of crazy activity to expel their pent-up energy.
2. Boredom & Lack of Stimulation
Similarly, boredom can cause a cat to suddenly become hyper. Have you left your cat at home all day while at work? Have you not got your cat any toys to play with? Perhaps your home is missing a cat tree for your cat to jump, climb, and explore? Or maybe you have an indoor-only cat that has no access to the outside world?
In all of these scenarios, boredom is highly likely. Cats need to be kept entertained! You must provide your cat with toys, cat trees, and plenty of playtime. Failure to do so can make your cat so affectionate all of a sudden and it’ll do anything to get your attention – including running around like mad!
When cats get bored and these outlets for their energy are not available, cats can suddenly get a case of the zoomies. They will be hyper and energetic and channel their energy through other means. This might be scaling the furniture, running up and down the stairs, and acting all other kinds of crazy behaviors!
3. Medical Conditions
Unfortunately, some medical conditions can also cause cats to act hyper all of a sudden. One of the most common examples is hyperthyroidism. This disease is caused by the overproduction of the thyroid hormone, which plays an important role in metabolism regulation. When there are excess levels of this hormone in the body, metabolism increases and cats have more energy than usual.
Another example of a medical issue that can cause hyperactivity is fleas. This is the most common type of parasitic infection in cats, and nearly every feline will deal with a flea infection at least once. Every time a flea bites your cat, it can send them into an aggravated and hyperactive state!
Urinary issues are another reason for your cat running around like a maniac. These conditions can make peeing extremely painful for your cat and can cause your cat to act crazy right after using the litter tray. Look at the timing of their hyperactivity – if they always have excess energy after using the litter box, you’ve likely found your cause!
4. Cognitive Disorders
Cognitive disorders are common in older felines, with 55% of cats aged 11 to 15 showing some level of cognitive decline. For cats over the age of 16, the incidence rate rises to 80%. This is due to the natural aging of the brain and a slow decline in the functioning of normal neural pathways.
There are several signs of feline cognitive dysfunction. You might hear your cat cry like a baby at night, see them urinate outside the litter tray, and watch them wander aimlessly around your home. They’re very disorientated and confused, struggling to remember where they are, how they got there, and even who you are!
Restless behavior and sudden hyper outbursts are also common symptoms of cats with cognitive dysfunction. These outbursts tend to happen at night, but can also occur in the daytime. Your cat is so confused they just run around in a mad frenzy!
5. Predatory Instincts
Finally, it could be your cat’s predatory instincts that are causing it to be so energetic. All cats have predatory instincts hardwired into their DNA. These have been passed on through years of evolution, as cats with the best hunting skills and strongest predatory instincts were more likely to survive in the wild. Although our cats don’t need to hunt to eat, these natural impulses still exist.
If your cat is suddenly hyper, they may have found a mouse lurking in your home. Without notice, their hunting instincts will kick in and cause them to become aroused and energetic. They will start chasing the mouse and can get pretty frustrated if they fail. They might then run around like mad and seem extremely energetic.
Prey outside your home can also turn these predatory impulses on. Perhaps your cat saw a bird or mouse outside the window, but cannot get to it. Be careful though – alongside hyperactivity, this situation can also trigger redirected aggression. I don’t want my cat attacking me all of a sudden! So learn to spot the signs of aggression and steer clear of your cat until its instincts have died down.
How to Calm Down a Hyper Cat
Although hyperactivity is usually nothing serious to worry about, it can be pretty disruptive. This is especially true if your cat gets more hyperactive at night, as their energetic behavior can keep you up. Their high energy levels can also be destructive, damaging furniture and other objects!
Therefore, you might want to learn how to calm down a hyper cat. Below are four methods you can try to help calm your kitty. Try one or all of them and see if you notice an improvement.
1. Schedule Playtime
All cats have a certain amount of energy that they have to expel each day. If they don’t have a chance to do this, it will build up into one big hyperactive outburst. Therefore, a great way to keep your cat calm is to schedule playtime each day.
How much playtime your cat needs depends on its health and age. As a general rule of thumb, aim for at least 15 minutes every day. This provides cats with an outlet and keeps them mentally stimulated. Besides, playtime is a bonding activity that helps you get closer to your cat.
How you choose to schedule play into your routine is up to you. I personally engage in play shortly before going to bed. Why? Well, I used to hear my cat meow at the door every night begging for my attention. And my cat’s hyper outbursts always seemed to be at night. Tiring my cat out before bed prevents these high-energy moments and helps my cat sleep through the night.
2. Address Any Medical Issues
Although most hyper episodes are nothing to worry about, hyperactivity is a symptom of some medical conditions. Therefore, another top tip is to take your cat to the vet and have any medical issues treated. Once the conditions are resolved, your cat’s energy levels will return to normal.
The treatment your vet will prescribe does depend on the underlying condition. Hyperthyroidism is most commonly associated with restlessness and hyperactivity, and this can be treated with iodine therapy, medication, or surgical removal of the thyroid. On the other hand, fleas are treated with standard flea treatments, while urinary tract infections might require antibiotics and pain medication.
3. Provide Outdoor Stimulation
Indoor cats can be happy cats that live fulfilling lives. Yet without stimulation from the outside world, you need to put a lot more effort into ensuring their home environment is enriching and entertaining. You must provide plenty of toys, cat trees for climbing, and spend a lot of time with your cat.
Even with these things, cats can still suddenly be hyper. If you don’t want to let your cat outdoors to roam freely, that’s completely fine. However, I recommend trying to create safe outdoor experiences. This can give your kitty the mental stimulation and excitement it needs, without taking on the risk and dangers of the outside world.
One example is to use a leash and a harness to take your cat on walks. Your cat might need a little time to get used to this, but most adjust quickly. Another option is to create a safe outdoor enclosure known as a “catio”. This is a better option if you’re a busy owner as your cat can spend time outside alone without being subject to predators, catfights, or traffic accidents.
4. Allow Periods of Hyperactivity
Finally, you must allow some periods of hyperactivity. Your cat clearly has some energy it needs to expel, and stopping it from doing so isn’t helpful. In fact, it can cause your cat to become frustrated and unhappy and might make your cat aggressive all of a sudden.
With that said, consider the exact behavior you’re talking about. If your cat is just having a crazy five minutes, leave them to it. Most cats will only have a mad few minutes before their energy levels crash. However, if your cat is climbing to the top of shelves and putting themselves in potentially dangerous positions, it is time to intervene.
Instead of trying to calm your cat down though, redirect their energy towards a safe activity. Get the toys out and start distracting your cat with these. Alternatively, something as simple as adding a few cardboard boxes to your home can keep your cat stimulated and entertained.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
So, why is my cat so hyper all of a sudden? Usually, it is a case of having excess energy they haven’t had a chance to expel. Predatory instincts and boredom can also lead to energetic periods. In these situations, you can help to calm your cat by scheduling playtime and helping them release any pent-up energy they have.
However, hyperactivity is also a symptom of medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, urinary issues, or flea infections. For these cats, you need to treat the condition for their energy levels to return to normal. Speak to your vet about the available options and get an official diagnosis.
Remember though, cats are animals! They have an innate need to run, climb, hunt, and jump that is wired into their genes. And even domestic cats shouldn’t have this need suppressed. Allow for your cat to have playful periods, just make sure these don’t get out of control, disrupt your sleep, or cause damage to your home.