Cat Zoomies: Why Your Cat Gets Them & When to Call the Vet

Article Featured on Hillspet.com

If you’ve ever seen your cat go from zero to 60 in just a few seconds — from catnapping to making a wild dash across the floor — they probably had a case of the cat zoomies. But what are cat zoomies and why does your usually chill cat get these sudden bursts of energy?

Why Cats Get the Zoomies

While it’s pretty easy to tell if your cat has a case of the zoomies, the reason behind them can be more mysterious. What are cat zoomies’ causes? Here are three of the most common explanations.

1. Sleep Habits

Cats often get the zoomies after a long snooze. Because cats sleep much of the day in order to conserve energy (your feline friend can sleep anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day), when they’re awake, they’re really awake. After a long catnap, running from one end of the house to another is a way for your cat to reinvigorate their mind and body.

2. Hunting Instinct

Despite getting all the food they need from their pet parents, cats are innate hunters and have a predatory instinct. Sometimes it may seem as if your cat is chasing nothing, when, more than likely, they’re pursuing imaginary prey. To get a sense of your kitty’s expert hunting skills, toss a few pieces of kibble down the hallway and see how quickly they bound after it.

3. Bathroom Issues

Many cats seem to take a victory lap after using the litter box. Some cats run like crazy after they’ve had a bowel movement, particularly if it was uncomfortable. “Such discomfort could be caused by infections or inflammatory processes involving the urinary tract, colon or rectum,” explains Dr. Mike Paul for the Pet Health Network. “It could even be caused by constipation issues.” If your veterinarian rules out medical reasons for the post-bathroom sprinting, you can conclude that it’s probably just your cat’s way of celebrating a job well done.

When to Contact the Vet

If your zooming cat is otherwise healthy, there’s no need to worry.

If you notice excessive zooming, though, keep an eye out for any other unusual behaviors that may signal something’s wrong. Accompanying weight loss, changes in litter box usage or unusual vocalization, for example, should prompt you to bring your cat to the vet. Cats are especially likely to exhibit changes in behavior as they age.

Playing Through the Zoomies

Once you’ve determined that your cat’s spontaneous bouts of wildness are nothing to worry about, you can try to plan your play sessions around their zoomies, as International Cat Care recommends: “Playtime … actually has the most beneficial effects if it is provided relatively frequently in short energetic bursts of activity.”

Being an active participant in the zoomies is a great way for you to bond with your kitty, help them release pent-up energy and tire them out for their next snooze. Plus, watching your cat bound aimlessly throughout the house might just be their way of trying to tell you that they want to play. After all, we all know that your cat is really in charge of you, and not the other way around!


Laurelwood Animal Hospital, located near Jesuit High School on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway offers a full range of companion animal services, including surgery, nutrition and behavior counseling, parasite control and preventative medicine. The hospital also offers advanced imaging through an all-digital spiral CT scanner, a comprehensive dental program and laser treatment.

If you’re looking for quality, compassionate veterinary care in Beaverton, Oregon, come visit us at Laurelwood Animal Hospital.

Laurelwood Animal Hospital

9315 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Beaverton, Oregon 97005

Phone: (971) 244-4230
Fax: (503) 292-6808

E-mail: [email protected]