Why Is My Cat Acting Crazy?


Cats are intelligent, quirky, lovable, and mysterious. They are also wild-minded animals whose evolution into their current cuddle buddy status was marked by their choice to domesticate themselves to us. Among the most fascinating things about cats is their propensity for puzzling (for lack of a better word) behavior. While they can be mellow as cool jazz they can also act like they are completely out of their minds. What gives?

Why Cats Act “Crazy”

We’ve got “crazy” in quotes here because most bonkers cat behavior is really just normal cat behavior. There are many reasons why a cat might act out but most times, your cat is just being a cat. We’ll explore some of the specifics below but basically, your cat may be acting “crazy” because of their instincts, because they may not be feeling well, perhaps are just bored, or because it’s just plain fun.

Why Is My Cat Running Around The House Like A Maniac?

Cat hunting to mouse at home, Burmese cat face before attack close-up. Portrait of funny domestic kitten plays indoor. Look of happy Burma cat preparing to jump. Eyes of playful pet wanting to pounce.

The obvious answer here is that it depends on the cat. If you’ve got a kitten, well, there’s your answer. For older cats, it’s simply what some cats do. It’s absolutely normal for more active cats to work off energy by running around the house, perhaps play-attacking toys, cat posts, other cats–and even you–along the way.

Like dogs, cats also get the “zoomies”. While dog zoomies are explained as a combination of pent-up energy and pure, unfiltered doggy joy, cat zoomies are more mysterious (surprise). Many people note cats get the zoomies after using the litterbox but others report the zoomies as random spurts of energy with no obvious trigger. Who knows what’s going on in that fabulous feline mind?

Why Does My Cat Freak Out For No Reason?

Big-eyed naughty obese cat showing paws on wooden table

Cats tend not to do anything without a reason. If your cat suddenly freaks out about something it’s probably because they’ve been startled, are nervous, are excited or happy, or because some primal instinct has kicked in. Just because it doesn’t make sense to us, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to them!

Because you know your cat best if you think kitty freak-outs are out of character for your kitty, it’s worth checking in with your Vet. While kitty freak-outs are just one of the fun things about kitties, for some they can signify something else. In older cats, dementia can result in confusion. In cats with underlying health issues, freak-outs can be a sign that they aren’t feeling so great.

How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Acting Bananas? 6 Classic Cat Behaviors And How To Help

Cute and funny 6 months cat resting in dish drainer rack on kitchen counter. Horizontal indoors full length shot. No people.

If you have a cat you already know there’s not a lot you can do to change their behavior. Cats do what they want–and for this, we love them (and can learn a lot from them). In cases where things are a bit out of hand, there are some things you can do to redirect or calm behavior that’s a little too much:

1. Countertop Hopping

One cat behavior that can drive a person crazy is cats jumping up on countertops, tables, desks, etc. There are a variety of reasons cats do this–ranging from the fact that high vantage points are natural perches for cats to the fact that you left something tasty out–and a number of ways to redirect the behavior to more appropriate perches.

Tip: provide an alternative space for your cat to jump up on such as a cat tower. If the problem persists you can try other popular methods, including tin foil or cat scent deterrents.

2. Breaking Things/Knocking Things Over

One of the funniest, and perhaps most exasperating, crazy cat behaviors is the “I’m-going-to-stare-right-at-you-as-I-bat-this-water-glass-right-off-the-edge-of-the-table”. This behavior can be to get the attention of their favorite person–you. Other times it’s simply because it’s fun! Cats explore their world with their paws and batting objects around is as natural for a cat as their unmatchable talents at ignoring you.

Tip: make sure they have lots of toys on hand and focused playtime with you to deter this behavior.

3. Window Chirping

If your kitty sees something outside the window (like a bird or squirrel) many times they will react by chirping. Even though it can sound like something straight out of The Exorcist, this behavior is usually in response to stimuli that excite–and sometimes even frustrate a cat. While it’s absolutely normal, it can drive you a bit nuts.

Tip: try getting your kitty some interactive toys that they can chase–and catch!

4. Yowling

Portrait of a cat with an open mouth (meowing)

A long, drawn out, yowl can be pretty funny but can also be a little annoying. It’s off-putting when you’re enjoying a nice, warm bath only to be startled into reality by a sudden, and loud, yowl. Some cats just do this as part of conversation. For others, especially those who don’t normally do it, it’s a sign something is wrong. Many times, a yowl will precede a simple hairball upchuck but other times it can be a sign of pain. If you have a yowling kitty whose body language is telling you something is off, you might have an emergency on your hands. Cut that relaxing bath short and call the Vet, stat.

5. Biting/Scratching

Biting and scratching are natural ways for cats to use the formidable tools they are blessed with. In addition to being generally useful for climbing, eating, and catching prey, cats explore and experience their worlds with their paws and mouths; and sometimes claws and teeth. When this behavior is directed at a toy, a wrestling buddy, or scratching post it’s all well and good but sometimes cats get so caught up in it that they can bite too hard–not to mention shred everything from the underside of your couch to an exposed ankle.

Tip: if your kitty is getting a little too overstimulated you can keep a squirt bottle on hand as a great way to startle them out of their mood–and save anyone or anything from further damage. A loud noise such as a clap or even a short blow of breath into their face can also be extremely effective deterrents.

6. Midnight Madness

Some cats are, by nature, nocturnal so it makes sense they might be more active at night. Many cats also spend their days alone so get excited at night when their people are home and there’s more action happening. Most of the time this is just a mad case of the zoomies.

Tip: try playing with your cat before going to bed in order to work off some of that excess energy. Follow it up with some quality one-on-one time such as a brushing session or just some focused petting.

Overall, just a little bit of “crazy” is part of the charm that is The Cat. Learn to live with–and love–it.

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