Friday, May 27, 2011

Do cats really get spring fever? Or is that a cat myth?

Eamon is tired and sleeping in his bed
Eamon is very tired after a long day of driving me crazy.
Normally, I enjoy having my cats in my workroom. They help me remember to take breaks. They amuse me with their strange sleeping positions. And they lavish me with attention from time to time. All of this is wonderful.

There are days, however, when they simply drive me around the bend.

Today was one of those days. Today there were several episodes of kitty racing, up the stairs and down the stairs and up the stairs and down the stairs. Then they jumped up into windows and knocked things off. They cried for one another on different floors. Maggie and Lucy fought with one another for the attentions of Eamon.

My cats only go through these crazy sessions in the springtime. And I have a few theories about that.

While cats have pretty good internal thermometers, they tend to dislike weather extremes. They don't like days that are really hot, and they don't like days that are really cold. When the weather hits extremes like that, cats tend to hunker down and hope it will pass. They can't get crazy, as they are either too hot or too cold.

The spring, especially in Oregon, comes with ideal cat temperatures. It's between 55 and 70 most days, which is really not hot or cold. My cats just love that.

And, in the spring, I tend to open up windows and let the fresh air in. For indoor cats like mine, those open windows bring in all sorts of scents they can't access in the winter. They might smell other cats, other dogs, new people or barbecue. Any of these things could entice them to either joy or rage. And that could make them both more antic and more aggressive.

So to me, spring fever in indoor cats is a very real thing. But that doesn't make it any less annoying.

And sadly, there's not a lot that can be done about it. I can't really control the weather. I can use pheromone sprays like Feliway to help keep things calm, and I can play soothing music to mellow the mood. But this does seem to be one of those cat things that just has to happen, every year. It's my job to get through it without making it worse by losing my temper or getting impatient.

If you're looking for solutions, this article may help. It's about nighttime cat crazies, but a lot of this advice would apply to day crazies, too. Good luck!