Sometimes, when the seasons change, we might not even pick up on it at first. The slight shifts in the weather and our environment can be so subtle we barely notice them at the onset of spring. However, for feisty felines, it’s a whole other story. Cats seem to know when spring is in the air, and you can often tell through how they start to behave. If your kitty is suddenly aching for the outdoors, yearning for sunshine, and getting into more mischief (more than usual anyway), it could be a case of cat spring fever.
Do Cats Really Get Spring Fever?
In a word, yes! Often, spring fever follows a case of cabin fever. It might be easier to think of cats experiencing spring fever if you consider it in more human terms. Think of how you likely felt at the onset of the COVID pandemic, when you were stuck inside for what seemed like, well, forever. Lockdown created almost a worldwide case of cabin fever. People just couldn't wait to get outdoors; they got antsy, bored, ate way too many Oreos, and yes, some got themselves into trouble.
Or, consider how you feel during the gloomy, gray days of winter, especially if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. You might want to sleep more, lose your oomph, and overall start to get a bit restless. By the time spring approaches, you can't wait to feel the sun on your face and get outside. Suddenly, you find yourself with more energy and need a place to channel it. Well, your cat feels a lot of the same things and faces some of the same dilemmas.
What Are the Signs Your Cat Has Spring Fever?
Don’t worry; your cat isn’t necessarily going to be shredding your curtains and hanging from the ceiling (although every cat is different). Keep a lookout for these common signs of spring fever to see if it might be the reason for your cat's confusing antics.
Your Cat Wants to Sunbathe
With spring comes more beautiful sunshine, and your cat wants as much of it as they can get. If your cat has access to the outdoors, then you’ll likely find them sprawled out on the porch or sidewalk, soaking up the sun. Your furry friend will also probably want to spend a lot more time outside.
If your finicky feline is strictly an indoor kitty, then don’t be surprised to find them spending more time near a window, gazing outside, trying to get as close to the sunshine as possible.
Your Cat Wakes Up Earlier
In response to the increase in the sunshine (and the desire to get more of it), you’ll likely notice your cat starts getting up a lot earlier. What does this mean for you? It means you’ll probably end up getting up a lot earlier, too, because your cat will be ready to play. Therefore, don’t be surprised when you start getting kitty kisses at sun up.
Your Cat Wants to Mate
Spring fever brings out the romance in your feline friend. If you haven’t had your cat spayed or neutered, then the desire to mate heightens in springtime. You might end up with male cats roaming about trying to court your female feline, or you might start hearing crazy yowling cat cries (a meowing mating call, if you will). Female cats in heat might roll around more, show more affection, assume a mating position, and other interesting poses.
Your Cat Has a Growth Spurt
If you have a kitten, then when spring rolls around, you may notice they undergo a growth spurt, seemingly turning into an adult cat overnight.
Your Cat Gets Manic
The sense of renewal and zest your cat experiences in the spring brings boundless energy that can have your cat climbing the walls, literally. Your cat might suddenly burst into mad laps around the house (like a feline case of the Zoomies), jump everywhere, and want to use their claws more.
Your Cat Sheds More
Although not necessarily a change in your cat’s behavior, increased shedding signals spring has come. As the temperature rises, your cat starts to shed their winter coat, which means more fur on your couch and clothing.
How Can You Help Your Cat Cope with Spring Fever?
Some of these cat spring fever signs can be pretty harmless, like your cat wanting to stare out of the window or soak up a sun puddle. However, a few can present some unique potential dangers or concerns. Here are a few things you can do to help your cat (and you) cope with spring fever:
- If your cat is not used to being outdoors, but you want to let them enjoy the sunshine, set up an enclosed cat-friendly area for them on your porch or patio.
- If you would prefer for your kitty to stay inside, create a comfortable place near a sunny window. Ensure all windows latch safely so your cat can’t slip outside.
- Likewise, install window screens as an extra layer of security to protect your cat from falls (and keep them from jumping out of the window). Ensure the screens are secure, and be mindful of cats that might scratch their way through to get outside.
- With more energy often comes a bigger appetite. Your cat’s metabolism likely revs up a bit with their increased activity level (unless you have an older cat), and you may notice they want to scarf down their food. Therefore, ensure you feed your feline friend enough; if you’re not sure of the right amount, talk to your vet. You don’t want to end up overfeeding your pet. You can also use a special dish, like the Neater Slow Feeder, to help your pet eat at a healthier pace.
- If you don’t want your home to suffer damage from cat claws and manic dashes through the house, make time for some extra play and exercise sessions with your cat. If you’re motivated to do so, you could train your cat to use a leash. This could also be an excellent way for them to get outdoors safely.
- To combat extra shedding, brush your kitty regularly with a de-shedding tool like the FURminator and use products specifically designed to tackle pesky pet hair, like the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser or the ChomChom Roller.
- Consider having your cat spayed or neutered if they aren’t already. If you have an intact female and hope for her to have kittens one day (just not yet), it’s best to keep her inside while she’s in heat and ensure there’s no way she can slip out of the house.
Overall, spring fever is a normal part of being a cat, and with a few simple changes and some mindfulness, you can help your cat enjoy the springtime safely. For more tips on how to best care for your purr-fect pal, check out the rest of our blog. You’ll find all sorts of resources, information, and fun ideas on how to be the best pet parent on the block.