Why Do Cats Go Crazy At Night?

Why Do Cats Go Crazy At Night?

Ever wonder why your cat suddenly runs around like crazy at night when you are just about to sleep? Have you been awakened for the nth time by your cat when she starts pushing or knocking things and making loud noises at midnight? Here is why cats tend to get the zoomies and crazies at night. 

Why do cats go crazy at night?

These are the reasons why cats go crazy at night:

1. They may be releasing pent-up energy. 

Cats may be going crazy at night as they want to release all the pent-up energy that has not been spent on playing or hunting. As predators, they mostly rely on hunting to stimulate mental instincts. However, as domestic or indoor cats, it is usually more like play hunting. Perhaps your cat needs to have more interactive playtime with you. 

What you can do is to schedule at least 15 minutes of playtime with your cat at least a few hours before bedtime.  Some of the great choices when it comes to interactive toys include teaser toys and laser pointers. There are also interactive toys that you can control from your phone that are mentally stimulating for your cat. 

2. They may be in hunting mode. 

As mentioned earlier, hunting is rooted in a cat’s system because of its predatory instincts. Their ancestors are wild desert cats that hunt at night but mostly asleep during the day. Also, since they are crepuscular by nature, they are most active during dusk and dawn which are ideal times to stalk and hunt prey. Needless to say, domestic cats still possess the powerful hunting instincts of their ancestors. 

3. There may be pests in your home 

Cats have very keen senses of smell and hearing and the most minute movement and odor between walls and crevices won’t be able to escape that. Pests like roaches and rats can lead cats to hyperdrive and they will relentlessly pursue and capture them.  Again, a cat’s hunting instincts will kick in and the next thing you know, your cat may be scurrying through the floor and from room to room in pursuit of those pests.

4. They may be suffering from fleas or feline hyperesthesia.

If your cat has crazies or zoomies not only during the night but also during the daytime, it may be she is suffering from flea infestation or feline hyperesthesia. Cats that suffer from fleas feel uncomfortable because of the itchiness and they tend to run around like crazy while some tend to chase and bite their tails

Similarly, feline hyperesthesia is physically discomforting for cats. This condition indicates a skin, neurologic or behavioral problem and cats may appear to have much sensation. Its common symptoms include skin twitching or rolling and may lead cats to excessively groom or chew themselves. Your cat may run around your home like a maniac, yowl loudly and knock things over.

Other symptoms of feline hyperesthesia 

  • aggression towards people and animals
  • self aggression
  • dilated pupils 
  • salivation
  • vocalization 
  • uncontrolled urination
  • tail chasing and mutilation

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from this condition, bring her to the vet for assessment and treatment. 

5. They may be suffering from senility or dementia. 

If your senior cat tends to go crazy during the night time she may be suffering from dementia or cognitive dysfunction. It is a gradual decline in cognitive abilities and this may be due to aging-related changes in the brain. Since the brain is not functioning properly anymore, your cat may exhibit weird behavior like going crazy and running around the house at night. 

Common signs of dementia among cats:

  • altered sleep patterns 
  • disorientation 
  • change in appetite 
  • toilet training problems 
  • unusual vocalizations like loud meowing and yowling at night 

Ways to correct your cat’s disruptive behavior at night 

Here are some ways to curb your cat’s disruptive behavior at night:

  • Consider delaying your cat’s dinner until after her play sessions and zoomies at night.
  • Keep your cat busy and active during the day through interactive playtime so she won’t resort to oversleeping and she will be able to sleep soundly during the night.
  • Try to swap your cat’s toys at least once a week so she won’t get bored playing with them.
  • Discourage your cat from going inside your bedroom at night so you won’t be disturbed from your sleep. 
  • Help your cat to relax through gentle petting and creating a calm and relaxing environment at nighttime.
  • Put away things that your cat may take an interest in during nighttime like lamp cords, kitchenware, garbage pails and other objects that are easily knocked over.
  • You may have to confine your cat to a separate room during the night. 
  • Consider having another cat so she may have someone to play with instead of resorting to disruptive activities. 

Final thoughts 

Cats are naturally playful and energetic but it could lead to overdrive if she becomes hyperactive during the night.  Felines tend to go crazy at night as they may be releasing pent-up energy, due to their hunting instincts or because they have fleas. However, they may also have the zoomies because of an underlying health issue like feline hyperesthesia or dementia. 

Image: istockphoto.com / Svyatoslav Balan