Experienced cat owners are familiar with the funny and often weird idiosyncrasies of cats. From their cute habit of head-butting you to their penchant for knocking things over, cats are rarely boring – with most of them commonly getting into amusing situations. However, cat parents are also probably aware of one quirky habit – sometimes even disruptive. That’s midnight crazies, the sudden high-energy periods where they’ll zoom around, play-bite, and just roughhouse you or their other animal siblings. If you’ve been stricken with the midnight crazies, you’re probably looking for answers to the questions, “What are midnight crazies?” and “Do all cats get midnight crazies?” In this article, we’ll answer these and many more questions to help you better understand your furry friends’ night habits.
What Are Midnight Crazies?
Midnight crazies are short energy spurts when your cat will go on hyper mode. They’ll probably go running around from room to room, meow loudly, or even jump and leap from surface to surface. If you’re unlucky, they might even pounce on you while you’re laying in bed.
While the name suggests that this phenomenon happens at strictly midnight, midnight crazies can actually range between early evening to the wee hours of the morning – depending on your cat’s schedule, of course.
Are Cat Crazies or Zoomies Good?
Midnight crazies and zoomies are merely habits for your cats to release their energy, so they’re not inherently bad or good per se. However, if you’ve observed that their zoomies or midnight crazies are happening more frequently compared to before, this might indicate that they’re not getting enough exercise in your home. If you’re not quite sure, you can try stimulating play during different schedules and see if the problem persists. If it does, consider bringing your cat to the vet or asking a professional for help in solving this possible hyperactivity problem.
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Do All Cats Get Midnight Zoomies?
While midnight zoomies are common in cats, not all cats go on hyperdrive at night. They’re actually more common in younger cats and kittens. Typically, adult cats outgrow this phase of high-energy activity and opt for quieter and more mellow activities when they are awake at night.
These midnight zoomies are also highly dependent on your cat’s sleep-wake cycle. The majority of cats are nocturnal, meaning that their waking hours occur at night. This is probably why you’ll observe that your cats are either extremely groggy during daylight hours, or they’re napping the hours away. If your cat hasn’t yet assimilated to your schedule, chances are they’re still awake mostly at night – heightening the chances for midnight zoomies or crazies to occur.
Can You Stop Midnight Crazies?
If you’re planning on cuddling your cat to stop them from zooming around, that probably won’t work. Chances are you’ll get either a few scratches or cat bites. The only effective way to stop a midnight crazies session is just to let it run its course. Let your cat play around, maybe roam around for a few minutes. You can even play with them using their favorite cat toy just to help hasten the process. Once they’ve spent all their pent-up energy, they’ll eventually settle down.
How Do You Avoid Midnight Crazies in Your Cats?
While stopping midnight crazies midway is not recommended, the good news is that there are numerous ways that you can avoid midnight crazies from occurring in the first place. To help you, here are tried and tested recommendations from long-time cat owners on how they got their cats to curb their midnight hyperactive habits:
- Change your cat’s dinner schedule.
Do you have a set schedule for your cat’s dinner? Do you like feeding your cat at the same time that your family eats dinner? If you do and your cat experiences midnight crazies, a good step you can do is to adjust their dinner time to just before your bedtime. By giving them their meal at a later time – ideally at about 10 or 11 p.m. – your cat will be satiated long enough not to go hyper as you sleep. Since they’ll still be digesting their dinner, chances are they’ll be sleepy around that time.
However, don’t switch their dinner time in one go. Gradually transition it, maybe around every 30 minutes to 1 hour each day. Shock transitioning may result in finicky behavior and may even cause problems in your cat’s digestion. Remember that ideally, cats need to be fed at least 12 hours apart, so you’d want to adjust their other meal times as well.
- Keep your cats active during the daytime.
If you’ve been working from home or you’re generally around them during daylight hours, you’ve probably noticed that cats are typically asleep or lounging around during these periods. They’re either napping, laying down, or taking part in low-energy activities. To slightly adjust their schedule, promote activity during the day time by either initiating play or making them take part in physical activities. You can even install interactive toys around your home to keep them busy while the sun’s still out.
- Try crate training.
Give your cat a personal space by getting them accustomed to crates. While crate training is not as common with cats as with dogs, it is still a valuable practice, especially if you’re looking to control your cat’s midnight crazies and nighttime escapades. Australian cat breeders suggest purchasing a crate that’s big enough for your cat to stand and lie down in, and train them by putting in a comfortable bed and a few treats. Reward them every time they enter their crate so that they’ll know that being inside the crate is a positive thing.
By crate training your pet, not only will they have a private space where they can run to when they need privacy, but they’ll also be able to get a personal area where they can rest and expect to not be disturbed.
- Block off windows and glass doors.
Do you live in an area where stray cats typically roam during the night? Your cat might be hearing them through your walls or getting a glimpse of them through your windows. If you think your cat is getting distracted by your neighborhood cats, ensure that all your windows are shut and curtains are drawn before you go to bed. This will help keep your cat from going into hyper mode or even stop them from trying to find a way out of your home.
- Keep possible distractions stowed away.
When it’s bedtime, consider cat-proofing your home for the night by stowing away their toys, materials, or anything that they can use as a target for their late-night activities. Hide toys before you go to sleep and consider confining them to a specific area in your home where they’ll have access to their food and water.
- Do not reward midnight crazies and zoomies.
Have you ever been so sleepy and tired that you just want your cat to stop? Chances are you’ve given them a treat or you’ve petted them to try to appease their midnight crazies. Unfortunately, what you’re doing is you’re reinforcing negative behavior, which is pretty counterintuitive. It’s essentially like you’re praising their midnight shenanigans.
- Consider getting another cat companion.
Do you have a single-cat household where your pet is the center of attention? This might be the reason why they’re having midnight crazies. Nighttime is typically the time when cats are the most active, and they’ll probably want you to be active as well. This is the reason why they’ll pounce, bite, and run around you while you try to sleep. If you’re financially and physically capable of getting a companion for your cat, adopting a second cat will help them stay busy without disturbing your sleep.
- Offer a calm environment.
When you want your cat to relax, you need to offer them an environment that’s conducive to sleeping. Keep away stimulating items and toys, and in turn, offer a relaxing space filled with things that will make them feel safe. Purchase cat beds, or even just put cardboard boxes inside your room where they can lie down or just sit in during the night. Avoid making loud noises during the night, and keep anything that they might push off the counter.
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If you suspect that your cat might be suffering from anxiety during the night, it’s also a good idea to invest in synthetic calming pheromones. This will help calm them down and solve anxiety symptoms in your cat. You may also use a subtle honeydew or lavender scent in your room to further promote relaxation for both you and your pet.
Midnight Crazies Are Normal, So Don’t Punish Your Cat for Them
Tired of getting woken up by your cat being hyperactive just when you just went to bed? This is actually a relatively normal behavior, and a lot of cat owners have experienced this at some point in their companionship. However, what you need to understand is that this should not warrant any type of punishment for your cat – such as hitting, shaking, or holding them down. Any physical punishment may lead to negative behavior and may even cause your cat to develop anxiety and stress disorders.