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 Cat Behavior Library  

Cat Hyperactivity

Dealing With The "Kitten Crazies" (Exuberant Play Sessions)

This crazy play behavior can be delightful entertainment but quite annoying if you're trying to sleep. Although domestic cats are not truly nocturnal, it is normal for kittens to have some high activity in the late evening and early morning hours. In addition to disrupting human sleep, this behavior can result in destruction of fragile household items.

The first step is to kitten-proof your house. This period will pass as the kitten grows into an adult, so temporarily remove and store valuables that might be knocked over or damaged.

Although domestic cats are not truly nocturnal, it is normal for kittens to have some high activity in the late evening and early morning hours.

Once the house is kitten-proofed, keep your bedroom door closed and the kitten out while you are trying to sleep. Don't let the kitten in if he cries since that rewards an inappropriate behavior and you will have to deal with that problem for a long time.

You may also intentionally deny sleep to the kitten during the early evening. The best time for this activity is shortly before bed; it makes him discharge his energy and encourages him to sleep throughout the night. In addition, the play sessions tend to increase your bond with the kitten. Wake him if he's napping. Move him frequently and try to play with him. To engage his interest and keep him active, use all the commercial cat toys you bought at the pet store.

Consider adopting another well-socialized, friendly kitten of approximately the same age. These two will likely play with each other, have great fun, entertain you, and be tired enough to sleep throughout the night.

Dealing With "Adult Crazies"

Adult cats who seem hyperactive have two possible explanations. One is that they are "genetically wired" with lots of energy. If these cats are kept indoors, the energy builds up and has to be released, often with bursts of speed, or sometimes with attacks on people. The key strategy is to give an energy outlet such as flutter toys, and chase-the- string games.

Another reason a cat may seem hyperactive is incompatible sleep pattern schedules. This means that the cat is sleeping all day and has too much energy at night. Remember that cats are instinctively nocturnal hunters. This is why nature gave them whiskers and such excellent night vision.

Ideally, you could stay home and wake up the cat during the day to encourage sleeping throughout the night. Another alternative is to try to modify the activity by using a shake can if the activity disturbs you, and ignoring everything else. The final alternative is to lock cats out of the bedroom at night so you can get some rest.

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