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What are Cat Zoomies & Why Does My Kitten or Cat Get Them?

What are Cat Zoomies & Why Do They Get Them? | BetterVet

If you’re a kitten or cat parent, you may wonder why they go wild during certain times of the day and at night. Kittens and cats are known for their playfulness, but sometimes they act like they are being chased by invisible enemies or have had one too many energy drinks (even though we know this isn’t the case) and run around the house like they are in a frenzy. This behavior, often accompanied by scratching, meowing, and biting, is known as Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs) or cat or kitten zoomies. There are legitimate reasons why kitties get the zoomies throughout the day and night, as well as some things you can do to help manage this crazy behavior.

Reasons Why Your Kitten or Cat Gets the Zoomies

They Have Pent-Up Energy

Kittens and cats sleep up to 16 hours per day and conserve energy for a few short bursts throughout the day and night. Cats are biologically-programmed predators and may be saving energy for outdoor hunting. For indoor cats that don’t get an energy release being outside, indoor zoomies serve this purpose. Although cats of any age experience zoomies as a way to release pent-up energy, it is more common in kittens and younger cats, who naturally have the most energy. 

They are Experiencing Physical Discomfort

While it’s less common for kittens and cats to get the zoomies due to pain, it is possible. If your cat has skin allergies, fleas, or ticks, or is otherwise physically uncomfortable, they may run around to try to escape the feeling. 

Your kittens may also be teething,  causing them discomfort and pain. This can make them hyper and irritable, more so at night when teething pain may interfere with their sleeping. 

Look for other signs of pain such as loss of appetite, excess scratching or licking, and vocalizing. If your cat is displaying new behavior that seems strange or concerning to you, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian.

They Are Hungry

If your kitten or cat is hungry, they may become restless and start zooming around the house – looking for food, trying to alert you, or feeling uncomfortable due to hunger. 

They Just Pooped 

As funny as it sounds, both cats and dogs feel a release after they potty outdoors or, in the case of a cat, indoors in their litter box, which they express with zoomies. If your cat is zooming around in circles, or seems otherwise agitated, this could mean that they are experiencing discomfort in their rear end, or having digestive issues. If this behavior is new and continues to happen, you’ll want to reach out to your vet for guidance. 

Reasons Why Cats and Kittens Go Wild at Night

Cats are Crepuscular 

If you’re wondering what cats do at night, they are doing the same thing they do during the day, but are a little more active. This is because our feline friends are crepuscular,  which means that they have the most energy between sundown and sun up. This excess energy after dark can cause your kitten or cat to become hyperactive, and they may even try to scratch or bite you or become destructive.

They’re Not Exercising Enough

Cats need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. If they are not getting enough exercise or mental engagement during the day, they may have a burst in the evening hours, which is why cats get the zoomies, otherwise known as the “night crazies.”

They Have Separation Anxiety

If you’ve left your cat or kitten at home in the evening, you may notice that they started zooming around .when you come back This is because they are excited to see you, or are releasing feelings of stress and anxiety they experienced while you were gone. Kittens can’t be left home alone as long as adult cats, so if your kitten seems stressed or is being destructive, your veterinarian can provide some suggestions to prevent separation anxiety. 

Managing Nighttime Behavior in Kittens and Cats

There are several things you can do to manage kitten and cat zoomies at night. 

  • Provide lots of opportunities for mental and physical stimulation during the day. One of the best ways to prevent your kitten or cat from becoming restless and destructive during the night is to provide them with lots of exercise and play during the day. Laser pointers, fishing pole toys, and scratching posts are all wildly entertaining for your kitty.
  • Start a nightly routine. Start winding your kitten or cat down for the night by creating a predictable and calm environment. 
  • Avoid catnip in the evening. If you give catnip to your kitten or cat, you should probably expect  3,2,1 zoomies! For this reason, you’ll want to avoid giving them catnip in the evening, however, you may find that your cat may be more relaxed as the effects of the herb start to wear off. 
  • Address anxiety. If your kitty is experiencing separation or other anxiety, speak to your veterinarian about techniques to help them feel more secure. Your veterinarian may recommend a natural calming remedy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are cat zoomies?

Cat zoomies can be described as hyperactive behaviors such as frenzied running or “zooming” around the house, pouncing, scratching, and meowing (and sometimes biting). Kittens and cats get zoomies throughout the day, but most often at night. 

Why is my cat hyper at night?

Your cat’s hyperactive behaviors are most likely what’s called the “zoomies,” which is usually a harmless way to expend energy before winding down to sleep for a long stretch again. 

Why won't my cat let me sleep?

As mentioned above, cats are crepuscular,  meaning they have the most energy after dark and before sunrise. This is most likely due to their natural instinct to hunt nocturnal animals like rodents. 


Kittens and cats have several energy bursts throughout the day, known as zoomies. Most likely, it is because they have excess energy to burn, but if you have concerns about your pet’s behavior, you should always check in with your veterinarian. Are you interested in knowing more about cats and cat behavior? Check out our post on the 10 of the Most Interesting Facts About Cats.

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