Living with an incredibly active cat – how to care for frisky felines?

Cats are truly volcanoes of energy who, in between their naps, can get quite crazy. The biggest offenders here are, of course, kittens – their batteries seem to never get empty, but even among adult cats there are some who, if we let them, would literally walk on walls. If you also share one roof with actual cat tornadoes, we have something for you – today on the blog we’ll get a closer look at the topic of frisky cats and look for ways to expel their energy through constructive play. 

Where do feline bursts of energy come from? 

The perfect picture of a cat spending their day on the couch or sweetly purring on your lap is an idea that couldn’t be further from the truth, and a stereotype that’s being fought in the cat community more and more. On one hand, sure – cats are quite lazy, they can spend up to ⅔ of their day napping and they love lounging in the sunshine, regardless of the circumstances. On the other hand, cats have quite a lot of energy stored within them and in nature, that energy would be consumed while hunting and playing. When cats are at home, they have a smaller territory to watch, they don’t have to hunt to survive, and can get away with lounging around the entire day, but their internal energy levels stay the same, and sometimes cats simply need an outlet for it. 

Are your cats at risk for sudden bursts of zoomies? Let’s see: 

  • If your cat has a variety of places to watch the world from, spaces in the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the house; 
  • their routine always has designated time for playtime with the Carer, one that requires the engagement of all cat’s senses, resembling a real hunting cycle and happening before mealtime; 
  • while you, the Carer, are out, your cat can take care of themselves in an active way, using interactive toys, sniffing mats, vantage points, scratchers … 

… their energy levels can be regularly brought down and your cat doesn’t probably have those unexpected, uncontrolled marathons where they run around the walls like a furry tornado – their needs are properly taken care of with regular activity during the day. But if you do see some small things that need fixing and feline hurricanes are not a novelty to you, no worries – you can work on it 🙂 

Taming the furry volcano of energy

Cats’ physical activity is very specific – their bodies were made for speed, not distance or endurance. In nature, a hunting cat will spend quite a lot of time observing the prey, sneaking around, thinking about the best action plan and when they are ready to jump, they hope it will be swift and successful. Watching domestic cats we can see many similarities – bursts of energy, whether it’s during playtime or out of the blue, are usually a quick sprint with a few sudden movements, followed by a period of rest. 

And, of course, there are many ways cats can play – not every single cat will chase after a wand toy or an invisible target around the entire house and we can’t be thinking that if there’s no sprint, the playtime didn’t do its job. The way your cats will play may depend on their age, breed, personality, body, health, and individual preferences. Alongside the cat volcanoes of energy who never seem to get bored of playing and always want more, there are those cats who will swat at a toy twice before they have enough, but they will gladly engage in problem-solving, trick learning, or observing the toy before they do the final punch. Make sure to watch your cats while they play, remember what they like and how they act, and adjust the playtime in a way that makes them the happiest. 

But now let’s get back to the furs who give their Carers a daily dose of energy bursts. How to deal with their hyperactivity on a day-to-day basis? 

Playing with the cat who always wants more 

To start, let’s rephrase what we’ve said on our blog many times – structure and routine are basic rules of cats’ lives and playtime should always be a part of it. Cats need an effective way of expelling their energy every day, a few times a day, just like dogs need their walks and not just getting out on the grass outside your home to do their business. At the same time, cats love regularity and predictability, and when it’s easy to make their entire plan of the day around repetitive things, instead of looking for trouble where they shouldn’t be. So, if the cat knows they can count on having fun with the Carer at a certain time of the day, they will be waiting for it and conserve their energy in anticipation. 

Playing with a cat who always wants more should be based on games that engage all of your cat’s hunting instincts and simply gets them happy. Whether it’s chasing after and fetching a ball, or observing and catching a wand toy – it doesn’t matter, as long as your cat feels satisfied with a successful hunt and can go forward with eating, grooming and sleeping afterward. It’s worth taking the time to organize a playtime like that for your cat a few times a day, in the times when their energy is peaking and – most importantly in the mornings before you live for work, and in the evenings, right before you go to bed. Working like that, you’re giving yourself a chance to come back to a home that hasn’t been destroyed by the feline tornado, and go to sleep without being woken up in the middle of the night 🙂  

Satisfying the needs of a feline volcano of energy requires being able to properly arrange their house – when a cat doesn’t feel safe at home, when some external factors bother them, or when they don’t have enough stimuli from the environment and are simply bored, the risk of unwanted behavior and uncontrolled bursts of energy is higher. The cat can expel their energy (and frustration) on their cat buddies, the Carer, your furniture, or even by running around the house maniacally. So let’s make sure we give them a peaceful space – whether you’re sharing your house with one or many cats, give them access to a safe and comfy place to rest, places to observe the world from (in the form of various platforms like shelves, window sills, tall scratching posts), as well as spaces to work out their energy and leave their scent markers around – scratchers set around by the furniture and key spaces of the house will give your cat the sense of feeling at home and will protect your furniture from getting ripped apart. 

We shouldn’t punish our cats for their bursts of energy. The fact that they’re acting unpredictably is either an effect of some imbalances (ones that are worth checking out with the vet and/or a behaviorist), of stress, or simply boredom, known to us all. And unless the eruption of the cat volcano is caused by health issues, stopping it should be fairly simple – regular playtime does wonders! 

Find out more on different techniques of playing with a cat on our blog: 

How does everyday life with cats look for you, fabCats? Do you have to face the force of feline hurricanes, or it’s a rather chill breeze of lazy furs? We’re waiting for your comments 🙂  

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