If you have already been a cat owner for some time, you probably know how unpredictable cats can be. One minute they are purring and sleeping calmly on your lap, and then suddenly you see them jumping up and running around your house as if possessed!
These sudden bursts of energy can be amusing, but at the same time alarming or frustrating for cat parents. And, while this crazy behavior tends to be hardwired in most cats, it might sometimes also be an indication of behavioral or medical problems.
There are several reasons your cat might suddenly act like a crackhead, and these are discussed in detail below.
Why your cat acts like a crackhead
Our feline friends are known to get the “cat crazies” at times, and the reasons for this can vary. They might engage in an animated play-fighting with other pets, or suddenly run wildly around the house for no apparent reason.
If your cat suddenly becomes hyperactive, it could be caused by any of the following:
1. Predatory instinct
Cats are prolific hunters. As natural predators in the wild, they might hunt instinctively from time to time, whether they are hungry or not. So, even though our domesticated cats no longer need to hunt for food, they might still exhibit certain predatory behaviors. There remains in them the urge to chase, jump, pounce, sneak up behind their humans, or display their escape techniques, all of which we might see as crazy behaviors.
If yours is an indoor cat, you might want to consider toys, food puzzles, scratchers, or feather wands to give Fluffy an outlet for her energy. Having environmental enrichment will also prevent a bored cat from doing damage around your home.
2. Nocturnal instinct
Boredom and a lack of activity during the day often causes cats to become busy in the evening – they will hunt, play, or stay active throughout the night until the early morning.
Household cats who spend most of their time alone during the day while their owners are away are likely to become more active at night when their human caretakers are at home.
Another fact to remember is that your cat does not have the same sleep cycle as you do. Our whiskered friends are crepuscular, so they are most alert and in hunting mode at dawn and dusk. Unfortunately, as long as you have an active cat, her night crazies might cause you some lost sleep.
3. You have an active kitty
Your four-legged friend might sometimes act like a crackhead because she is a hyperactive cat. Do you often leave her alone at home? Have you invested in some cat toys and puzzles to keep her entertained? Do you spend enough time bonding and playing with her?
Keep in mind that hyperactive cats need to engage in exercise regularly to drain their pent-up energy. You can start scheduling a regular play session in the evening after your work, or try walking your cat outdoors. It is not only great exercise, but also a relaxing activity to calm your pet as she enjoys exploring the outside world.
Routine meal times, grooming, and calming sprays are also helpful to keep your cat relaxed and less crazy. Invest in scratching posts, interactive toys, and fun puzzles so she can get rid of her pent-up energy, even while you are away from home.
4. Flea infestation
Cats that are hypersensitive to flea bites can sometimes act weird when they are trying to scratch the itches they cannot reach. Fleas and other parasites, such as mites and ticks, can prompt sporadic biting, licking and chewing as your cat’s response to the unpleasant sensations.
If you think your furry friend is suffering from an infestation, you can request a prescription product from your veterinarian to combat the parasites effectively. Advantage II is one of the most recommended products to kill and prevent flea infestations. You should also make sure to have your pet checked by the veterinarian to rule out any secondary skin infections or allergies that may need immediate treatment.
Keep in mind that to manage flea infestation you will also need to treat your other household pets, as well as your home. Clean every nook and cranny of the house using a vacuum cleaner to remove flea eggs and larvae. Launder the bedding, towels, and curtains to ensure that all the pests are eradicated. You can also use flea bombs and sprays to kill the fleas at every stage of their life cycle.
Once your pets and home are clear of these parasites, your feline buddy should revert to her normal, calmer behavior.
5. Presence of household pests
Perhaps the reason your cat is acting strange all of a sudden is because she is seeing or hearing pests lurking in your home. These could be mice, centipedes, cockroaches, spiders, or other bugs – and she is itching to catch these uninvited visitors.
You might also notice her staring at a wall as if waiting for something to come out of it. Cats are excellent hunters and they will likely get a bit crazy and excited if they spot any small, moving creature. Their keen sense of smell and sight can alert them to any pests inside the home, and you will know about this through their obvious pawing and focus.
So, if your feline friend is acting weird in a particular area in your home, she might be trying to tell you about an invader. Pay attention to her language, as you might be facing an infestation you do not know about.
Once you have found the invaders, make sure to get rid of them as soon as possible. Pest control is extremely important since rodents, cockroaches, and other bugs can carry and spread diseases. And, thanks to our furry in-home sentinels, we can keep everyone safe and healthy from such pestilence.
6. Digestive issues
If your kitty has an upset tummy, it may be apparent in her behavior. Just like humans, our feline friends can also act differently when they feel discomfort or pain. If you think your cat has digestive issues, it is best to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
You can also consider switching her diet to help with her digestive problems. Once you have confirmed that her diet is the culprit and you have made the necessary changes, your cat will likely become calmer to be around.
A word of caution, though – cats do not do well with change, and that includes a switch in their meals. Hence, any dietary change must be done gradually. You can also ask for advice from your veterinarian to know which diet is appropriate for your cat.
However, if your cat is showing other symptoms that seem serious, then something is obviously wrong. Take your cat to the veterinary clinic if she shows any of the following signs:
- Licking lips or nausea
- Respiratory problems
- Bloody stool
- Loss of appetite
If your feline friend is in her senior years, it is possible that she is acting crazy due to a decline in cognitive function. Contrary to what some cat owners might think, not all senior cats become sleepy in their old age.
As cats age, they might become aggressive or react to certain things in a weird way because they are gradually losing their sight or hearing. Aging cats can also become anxious as they can no longer find their food bowls or if they forget where the litter box is. If you notice your elderly cat acting strangely, it might be a sign of feline cognitive decline, or FCD, which is quite common when cats reach their advanced years.
Other behavioral changes you might notice in senior cats are:
- Getting lost easily in familiar areas
- Becoming less interested in bonding with their humans
- No longer able to groom themselves
- Becoming restless or agitated
- Staring frequently at random objects
- Eliminating outside the litter box
- Declining appetite
8. Feline hyperesthesia syndrome
Feline hyperesthesia syndrome, or “twitch-skin” syndrome, is a feline disorder that causes intense licking or biting of the base of the tail, pelvic limbs, or back. The condition affects the cat’s neuromuscular systems and skin, leading to extreme sensitivity in certain body parts like the back and tail.
Cats suffering from FHS might display self-injurious behavior, especially when petted on their sensitive areas. The cat might scratch or bite her tail or back and then run wildly around the house.
Other common signs of FHS in cats are:
- Twitching or rippling of the skin on the back, whether after being petted or for no reason
- Dilated pupils
- Discomfort or pain in areas that are touched
- Excessing meowing
- Biting and licking of the back, rear, hind paws, or tail, even after being treated for fleas
If you think your furry companion is suffering from FHS, it is best to talk to your veterinarian to know the options for her recovery and management of symptoms. Your veterinarian might prescribe a special diet, anti-inflammatory enzyme supplements, and stress reducers to help your cat become playful and happy again.
9. Other health issues
While most cats are adept at concealing their pain, you might start to notice behavioral changes when they can no longer tolerate the suffering.
Illnesses can make a cat emotionally overwrought, withdrawn, or aggressive. Even the most affectionate cats can suddenly behave strangely towards their companion pets or owners at random times.
If you notice your furry friend deviating from her normal behavior, this is obviously a red flag and you need to take her to the veterinary clinic. Some diseases that can cause a cat to act like a crackhead include:
- Parasitic infections
What you can do
Cats can sometimes be difficult to predict and they might go a little crazy at random times. And, unlike their canine counterparts, cats are less expressive, so they can easily be misunderstood. The trick is to learn to understand your feline’s body language so you can figure out what she is trying to say to you. It can also help you strengthen your bond, and you can become more effective at responding to her needs.
Carefully observe what triggers your cat’s crazy behavior – the environment, conditions, vocalizations, time of day, activities, etc. From here, you will know whether your furry friend is just being playful or energetic, and you can pinpoint any unusual behavior that might point to potential medical issues.
There are also techniques available to calm your cat during those sudden bursts of energy. If your kitty is acting like a crackhead, here are some things you can do:
- If your cat suddenly runs and jumps around the house for a couple of minutes, let her be. Remember that some cats are naturally playful and hyperactive, so when they act crazy it might just be part of who they are. However, if the behavior becomes dangerous, it is important to redirect it through toys to keep your cat busy.
- Provide a safe outdoor activity for your pet so she can drain that extra energy. You can take her for a walk outside using a cat harness, or invest in an outdoor enclosure like a catio so she can safely enjoy the outdoors.
- If you have multiple pets at home, ensure that they can live in harmony under the same roof. Cats are known to be solitary hunters, and having other pets at home can stress them out. You can consult your veterinarian or animal behaviorist to help you understand what triggers the problems and how to solve them.
- Create an outlet for your cat’s energy. This could be through interactive toys or play sessions. Scheduled play times are important to keep your pet active, while at the same time reducing over-the-top behavior.
Wrapping it up
Cats can sometimes display wild behavior for several reasons. It is important to determine which behaviour is normal for your cat, so that any unusual behavior can be investigated right away.
If your furry companion is acting like a crackhead while also being playful, it could simply be part of her personality. However, if you suspect that your cat is sick, have her examined by your veterinarian to manage any health-related issues immediately.
Image: istockphoto.com / SunRay BRI Cattery RU