The house is quiet. You are probably in bed, or watching a movie in the living room. All of a sudden, your cat comes zooming past you, jumping on all furniture, and meowing like crazy. A couple of minutes later, it calms down and sleeps on your lap.
Why do cats have these random crazy episodes?
These are frequent, and even have a name: Frenetic Random Activity Periods, or FRAP. Cats are known to “frapping”. Some dogs, especially puppies, also tend to get “zoomies”.
First, if you are not familiar with the concept, here is a great example of a nocturnal craziness attack:
Some hypotheses explain crazy zoomies. One of them is funny: your cat is secretly training to become a ninja!
More seriously, your cat probably just needs to spend some energy, and quick and crazy is the way to do it in the cat world! This is why kittens or young cats are more prone to “frapping”. It is actually quite normal for cats to go from a calm and disinterested state to an intense and very active state. This is in fact one of their favorite hunting techniques! The surprise effect works, doesn’t’ it?
Those energy bursts can be somewhat annoying, especially when they happen late at night. The best way to manage them is to prevent them by making sure that your cat gets to spend a lot of energy in the evening playing hunting games with you. You could also reward those crazy periods at most appropriate times by responding to your cat zooming around with its favourite toy to chase. It will most probably welcome the opportunity to chase a “real prey” instead of an imaginary one.
Crazy episodes also frequently happen just after cats “have done their business”. Two theories explain this behaviour. The first one is simple: cats simply feel better after they relieve themselves, and they “celebrate” by running around and enjoying this “lighter” feeling. The second one is linked to a strong survival instinct: cats want to run away from their feces as quickly as possible so that predators cannot link the smell to them.
Either way, there is not much you can do against those crazy FRAG episodes! They only last a couple of minutes, so your best guess is to just enjoy the entertaining show!
If your cat however has more frequent craziness episodes and nothing has changed in its activity level, you should probably investigate further. First, check its fur: your cat might have fleeces or insect bites that itch so much it literally drives it crazy. There is unfortunately another more serious cause: Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS). The symptoms look like epileptic attacks that are more intense than simple hunting games craziness. The cat may look distressed, and its behaviour can be so intense that it injures or mutilates itself. It may also act aggressively and be very sensitive when touched. You should consult a veterinarian if you are worried about your cat’s crazy behaviour.