Kittens are easily one of the most lovable animals on the planet. They are full of life and hilarious antics and watching them learn how to act like a cat can be a lot of fun.
But do you ever wonder if your kitten is too hyper or if their behavior is normal kitten play? It can be difficult to distinguish between normal cat behavior and abnormal cat behavior because, as we all know, cats are simply weird. This can cause a lot of anxiety, especially for first-time kitten owners.
To ease some anxiety and help identify potential problems, here are 9 reasons your kitten may be hyper.
Cats are predators by nature, but they aren’t born knowing exactly what to do. Instinct drives their behavior as they grow, but there is still a learning curve for kittens to develop hunting skills. Even indoor kittens who may never need hunting skills will instinctively develop these skills, so finding toys for your kitten that simulate prey and develop hunting skills, like tunnels and balls, can be beneficial to its development.
2. Social Development
Like most mammals, kittens need time and guidance to develop appropriate social skills. Usually, their mother and littermates help with this process, but kittens taken away from their mother too early or young kittens that have recently left their mother may require additional practice. Social development in kittens helps them learn not to bite or scratch people or other animals unless threatened as well as normal interaction with other cats that will not lead to a fight. Teaching your kitten not to bite or scratch you during play will help tremendously with these skills.
Kittens are young and full of energy! They love to run and play and sometimes, they just need to burn some of that energy off. Kittens and cats spend a lot of time sleeping, so during the hours they are awake they may act hyper to burn off the energy they just built up during their nap.
Sometimes, your kitten may just want to play for no reason other than having fun. While play is often to develop different types of skills, watching kittens do flips and wrestle can be just as fun for you as it is for them. Kittens may choose favorite toys or activities, which is a strong indicator that some of their hyper behavior can just be for fun.
If you notice your kitten seems hyper frequently, they may be bored. Evaluate how much time you are spending playing with them as well as what types of toys they have. Interactive toys can be a great option to entertain your kitten when you’re trying to work from home or focus on other tasks. Providing new and different toys regularly for your kitten will also help keep it from getting bored.
6. Fear and Anxiety
Kittens may be fearful or uncertain when introduced to new environments, animals, or people. When your kitten starts acting hyper out of the blue, did something happen just beforehand? Did your kitten see a dog for the first time or hear a new noise in the house? Usually, hyperactivity due to fear or anxiety is short-lived and the kitten will find a place to hide until they feel secure again. Help your kitten feel secure by slowly introducing new things and being patient while it adjusts.
If you’re petting your kitten and suddenly it takes off across the room or turns around and bites or scratches you without warning, your kitten may be overstimulated. Some cats develop petting-induced overstimulation problems and when triggered, they will quickly overreact to the stimulus.
If your kitten starts to show sudden play aggression or bolts out of the room while you’re petting it, watch closely next time you’re having a petting session. Is your kitten’s skin twitching? Is it flicking its tail? Are its ears pinned back or being moved backward and forward rapidly? One way to help avoid overstimulation in kittens and cats is to avoid petting or scratching the area near the base of the tail. This area has a lot of nerve endings and can be very sensitive, so many cats do not like being pet here.
8. The Zoomies
Sometimes your kitten may become hyper suddenly for no apparent reason. If your kitten suddenly takes off and starts running laps around the house, it may just be experiencing the zoomies! Many cats seem to have the zoomies after using the litter box, especially after a poo, and there doesn’t seem to be an explanation for it. Cats and kittens also may have the zoomies in the middle of the night after sleeping all day. As long as your kitten has a safe area where it can’t hurt itself during the zoomies, then there’s nothing to be concerned about!
Cats and kittens are so much fun, and there are so many reasons they could be acting hyper! Kittens need stimulation, play, toys, and a safe resting place. Watch your kitten for changes in behavior and if anything seems off to you, there’s nothing wrong with calling your vet and asking questions! Vets are happy to answer questions and they would rather help identify a problem early rather than need to treat a more complex or dangerous problem later.
Enjoy your kitten while it’s still a small playful kitten! Soon that kitten will turn into a playful cat, so bring your kitten up well and enjoy the many healthy, fun years to come.
Featured image credit: Carsten Reisinger, Shutterstock