How to Calm a Hyperactive Cat
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Despite the great amount of coexistence between humans and cats, we are still surprised by aspects of their behavior. Therefore, in this AnimalWised article we will pay attention to how to recognize and calm a hyperactive cat.
We will first define the behavior we are going to refer to, then explain what guidelines we can follow to help and understand our cat and, above all, we will differentiate the normal behavior of a healthy cat from that which may require a professional's work. Discover how to calm a hyperactive cat as well as other basic tips for its well-being:
In the first place, it is essential to know what is a usual cat behavior, in order to know in which cases their activity can be understood as pathological and when, on the contrary, it is the normal activity of an individual of their characteristics. To do so it is important to know that the activity of the cat will be related to its age.
Thus, as a kitten it will be easy to observe them playing with any object susceptible of being caught, bitten or beaten. It's not uncommon for to run or jump at high speeds, climb significant heights, or even climb the wall. This intense activity is completely normal in a kitten and is a sign of good health. It is at this stage that we must lay the foundations of the "safe"game, that is, diverting their attention away from playing with our fingers or catching our feet and offer them a suitable range of toys. Only by implementing this measure can you help calm a hyperactive cat, as we shall see.
There is no need to buy sophisticated mechanisms. An aluminum foil ball or flashlight to make lights against a wall can ensure hours of entertainment. It is also very important to offer them a safe environment, considering their taste for heights and your ability to hide in the most unsuspected and remote places. Therefore, we must examine our home with "cat's eyes" to eliminate or reduce any danger, such as using window and balcony mosquito nets.
Once the first years of life have passed, we will see that, in a good number of cats, the unbridled activity and hours of play decreases, although this aspect will also depend on the character of the cat, which will be more or less playful and active.
Towards the end of their life, usually around the age of ten, we will observe that the cat spends almost all their time sleeping and resting, leaving the game relegated to very specific moments. All cats, even the older ones, pass more or less frequently through what we could call the "cat insane hour", easily recognizable because the cat, suddenly and without the need for real stimulation, adopts an attack posture, with the back hair standing upright and sideways, jumping.
They usually shoot off running in a direction that only they know of. After a few minutes of crazy running they return to a calm state as if nothing had happened. This situation is completely normal and should not rise any cause for alarm due to hyperactivity, so the activity of the kittens, albeit high, should not cause any concern either.
When hyperactivity is a problem
When it affects the cat's normal life and causes anxiety or stress, it is time to seek professional help. They would be restless cats, who can't stand still and even meow excessively or cause damage to furniture because of their constant activity.
The first thing, as always, is to rule out a pathology of physical origin, that is to say, it is necessary to go to the veterinarian for a check-up, especially if the hyperactivity arises suddenly, if yours was a calm cat until now, and is accompanied by weight loss even if the intake of water and food increases.
It is known that disorders of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can cause an exaggerated activity, so the cat presents difficulties to remain still. The diagnosis is made by palpation of the gland in the neck (it will be enlarged) and/or by measuring thyroid hormones through a blood test.
Measures to help
While awaiting professional advice from an ethologist, if necessary, we can implement the following measures in order to channel energy and calm our hyperactive cat:
- Environmental enrichment: we can prepare our house so that it becomes a challenge for our cat, including toys in which they will have to hunt their food. Scratching posts of various heights, hammocks, shelves, catnip or even, if possible, access to a controlled and secure exterior, can redirect the hyperactivity of our cat.
- Knowing how to stop and say "no" when, for example, their activity is harmful to us in the form of scratches or bites. In these cases, we should not tell them off, let alone beat the cat, we just have to redirect their activity to another object. In this sense it is also important that we learn to recognize the signs that our cat is upset with our contact or wants to end the game. Insisting may cause a sudden reaction. On the other hand, relaxing petting sessions can be a good soothing for some hyperactive cats, taking care to stop if we feel they are being overstimulated.
- The dilemma of having other animals at home to keep them company. Sometimes, it is very beneficial for a cat to have the company of another specimen of its species or even a dog. And, although it is true that the game between them can help a hyperactive cat, we can actually see ourselves with two problems instead of one. Before making this important decision, it is necessary to know that not all cats tolerate the company and that it is normal for a more or less long period of adaptation between the two. It is essential that cats have the same energy to avoid aggravating the problem.
- Bach Flowers, could be tested in these cases according to the guidelines set by the specialized veterinarian or floral therapist, always after a complete check up.
- Specific feed and rewards, as there are products on the market that contain soothing substances that can help relax our hyperactive cat.
- Pheromones, which are substances that cats naturally secrete cats and soothe them. They therefore have a calming effect when prescribed. They can be sprayed or used as a difusor.
- Medication, if we are faced with a very serious case, it is possible to use drugs such as anxiolytics that always have to be prescribed by a veterinarian.
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