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Why Does Your Cat Seem Like It's Lost Its Mind?
CatsBehavior

Why Does Your Cat Seem Like It's Lost Its Mind?

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jun 2, 2022

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There are many reasons why your cat might seem to be going cuckoo. For one, it may simply be trying to get your attention. Cats are a lot less predictable than their canine counterparts, so you'll have to be more alert and do your research to get to the bottom of the mystery. Over time, you'll get to know your cat's vocalizations, blinks, and body language, making it a lot easier to figure out what's wrong, if anything.

1

Because your cat is a cat

young bengal cat playing with a colorful cat's toy on a beige colored scratching post Nils Jacobi / Getty Images

Some cats are more active than others. So if you've recently got a new feline friend, but you're used to another cat's behavior, the difference may just come down to individual personalities. And if you've never had a kitten before, you may not be accustomed to their high energy levels. From eight weeks onwards, kittens want to explore their new worlds, and they do so in a high-octane fashion until they're about a year old.

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2

Because of the zoomies

cream colored beige white maine coon kitten running over a gray sofa Nils Jacobi / Getty Images

Cats can go from naps to frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs) in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, they have a bit of pent-up energy they need to burn off—they're waking up refreshed after all and commit to their post-slumber reboots. Dogs get the so-called zoomies too, and you might see them chasing their tails or blitzing across your living room.

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3

Because it's a predator

Cat looking ready to pounce tristanbnz / Getty Images

If your cat seems to be pouncing on imaginary objects or fending off enemies, it's because their predatorial instincts run strong. They may have bellies full of the cans of tuna and store-bought food you provide, but the underlying readiness for the hunt never goes away. Food puzzles that defer gratification provide cats with stimulation. Still, you can expect your indoor cat to go wild randomly or bound after tossed kibble as though it's possessed.

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4

Because it's just gone to the loo

cat leaving portable litter box CasarsaGuru / Getty Images

Cats sometimes display odd behavior after using their litter boxes. There's no clear-cut reason why, but experts have some theories. Humans and cats have vagus nerves that might make bowel movements feel like a pleasant release. After vagus nerve stimulation and feeling a little lighter, cats might have a brief pep in their step. Alternatively, cleanliness-obsessed cats may want to shake off excess poop or litter that's gotten stuck on them.

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5

Because it's old

cat on a red wooden garden table with an unsettled expression cagkansayin / Getty Images

Just as human beings get a little long in the tooth, your cat might change with old age. Dementia can give rise to confusion and erratic behavior. Your cat may get lost, meow excessively, resist changes they would typically adapt to, or steer clear of interaction with others. Pain linked to chronic disease can make senior cats lash out, too.

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6

Because it's nighttime

cat looking at window at night Olga Dokalenko / EyeEm / Getty Images

Lionesses hunt at night. Some domesticated cat breeds are also more active around sunset and sunrise. And if your house cat is home alone while you're off at work, you might find it spilling over with playful enthusiasm in the evenings. Cats often get the zoomies at night and may wake you up due to their nocturnal boisterousness.

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7

Because it's not well

cat looking sleepy or unwell in the sofa liveostockimages / Getty Images

Once your cat's been with you for a while, you'll become familiar with typical behavior patterns. If your cat's physical state has deteriorated or its behavior has become particularly destructive, aggressive, or withdrawn, it's best to take them to a vet for a check-up. A consult will give you peace of mind and a clear plan for moving forward if any health conditions are at play.

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8

Because fleas are bothering it

Tricolor cat paw scratches behind the ear. sony_moon / Getty Images

Ever had a mosquito bite that felt like it might drive you insane? Well, multiply that itchy sensation, and you should get an idea of how your cat feels when overridden by fleas. To put the craziness to a stop, you'll need to thoroughly de-flea your fur baby and your space with vet-recommended products.

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9

Because of Feline hyperesthesia syndrome (FHS)

cat licking its tail JIRANAN WONSILAKIJ / Getty Images

FHS isn't common, but it does affect some older cats. Also known as twitch-skin syndrome, this disorder leads to abnormal licking and biting of the back and tail. It's startling, especially when petting your cat seems to set off symptoms. Episodes can last for up to two minutes, and medical treatment can help your cat manage this condition over the long run.

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10

Because it's anxious

Black cat hiding in paper shopping bag Nancy Rose / Getty Images

Perhaps your cat is scared of a new pet at home. When it feels threatened, it will be more likely to groom excessively, vocalize, pant, pace, drool, hide, and flit about like the hounds of Hades are at its heels. The changing routines of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, also caused separation anxiety in cat households. Cats can develop phobias, and telltale signs of severe anxiety include dilated pupils, becoming motionless, pulled-back ears, hair standing on end, and staring.

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