Last night while I was lying in bed and the cat was going absolutely crazy all over the damn house with what I have come to call The Cat 11 PM Flimflams (as in, “Goddammit, Cat has the Flimflams again . . . oh right, look what time it is.”), I started googling things like So Are Cats Nocturnal Or Like What’s Going On Here, and How Can I Encourage My Cat to Calm the Fuck Down At Night Before I Kill Her By Driving a Pencil Into Her Tiny Helpless Brain-Meat.

It turns out there is lots of advice on this topic, the main point being that you should try and swap your cat’s natural schedule by keeping her active during the day. I was sort of eye-rolling over the idea of adding “Entertain Cat” to my daily list of to-dos, but then I got to this one simple phrase on a web page titled “How to Stop the Night Time Crazies”:

Discourage catnapping.

Okay, I can’t really explain it, but I started laughing at that and could not stop. Discourage catnapping. Oh my god.

So I was already in a semi-hysterical state when I came across this advice under the paragraph heading “Sneak Attacks”:

If he is meowing outside the bedroom door, first reach for the water sprayer

Heh. Ha. First reach for the water sprayer.

… quietly get out of bed and creep towards the door …

Haaaaaa. CREEP TOWARDS THE DOOR.

then suddenly fling the door open, squirt the cat and then immediately shut the door

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH SUDDENLY SQUIRT THE CAT. IMMEDIATELY SHUT THE DOOR.

At this point I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, and I had tears running down both sides of my face. I was trying to read this out loud to JB, who kept looking at me with great annoyance and saying, “I don’t get it. This isn’t even remotely funny.”

Try to stay alert for five minutes …

HAAAA TRY TO STAY ALERT. HAAA. FIVE MINUTES. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA!

By the time I got to the final sentence I could barely choke it out (JB: *giant impatient sigh*) and then I had to rush to the bathroom because I was thisclose to peeing my pants.

waiting by the door with the water sprayer ready in case of a second attack.

I don’t even know, you guys. As I type this, I’m laughing all over again. IN CASE OF A SECOND ATTACK. Oh god why is that so funny WHYYYY.

Anyway, I have no real point in sharing this, except 1) I love the Internet, and 2) holy crap I hate the Cat Flimflams.


Screen shot 2011-10-07 at 1.38.45 PM

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Samantha jo campen
Samantha jo campen
10 years ago

Ha! We call them The Zoomies and OMG she runs like a crazy person and has this gutteral yowl unlike anything natural. She’s a freak and it’s hilarious.

Trip her as she goes by. That could be funny. Not that I’d know.

Jules
10 years ago

Those cans of compressed air are even better than the squirt guns, as they don’t leave a sopping mess on the floor, to find as you suddenly discover yourself turtled on your back at oh-dark-hundred when you were just stumbling for the coffee.

Stephanie M
Stephanie M
10 years ago

We call that “Crazy Cat Time” at my house. Do you have stairs? Stairs get a particularly strong use during Crazy Cat Time, with the cat racing up and down the stairs, claws extended into the carpet, basically pulling herself along instead of running or jumping.

You didn’t ask for any, but two easy cheap toys that you probably already have around the house, that my cat LOVES… elastic hair bands, and bouncy balls.

Pete
Pete
10 years ago

We don’t have a cat. My wife would like a cat, I would like a 1966 Mustang GT 350 Convertible (California Edition), guess we have to live with disappointment.
Anyway, you might try hanging a laser pointer from a ceiling fan or old crib mobile and let the cat chase it. Might not cure the Flimflams but it sure would be funny. YMMV

Maureen
Maureen
10 years ago

I second the compressed air idea, worked well with our cats.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

What worked for us was to get two more cats. now they don’t bother us so much…but now they all stampeed though the house at the same time. More noise, less human involvment.

I second the compressed air cans. Cats hate the noise and the weird feeling of something touching them but nothing there!

Victoria
Victoria
10 years ago

Diet cat food would make any girl crazy!

Lanie
10 years ago

This IS FUNNY. I am sitting here at work laughing and my sides hurt trying to keep it all in. I have had cats my whole life and the stuff you do…is just hilarous. They are always smarter than you, and always have me catering to them, sleeping around them as not to disturbe them on the bed, etc.

Discourage catnapping! lol!

Pete
Pete
10 years ago

Unless a can of compressed air is one of those air horns, which would be funny as hell, (is your cat declawed?) most of those can are full of a Freon compound which doesn’t provide much power and can be quite cold. If you want compressed air you can use one of your husband’s dive tanks with a converter. That would make an impression. ;-)

Mary Stewart
Mary Stewart
10 years ago

I lived in an apartment on the second floor with nothing but wood floors, my damn cat,may he rest in peace (not likely), would run the length of the apartment ALL night long. I felt so bad for my poor neighbor downstairs but he never complained. On truly horrible nights (aka PMS) I would put him in the bathroom in a kitty kennel and surprisingly he would sleep without making a peep. I have no advice I just wanted to share. I also like the tripping idea because that is just damn good entertainment!

Ter
Ter
10 years ago

Our two race around here like it’s opening day at the track. I’ve been threatening to send one back to the farm (former barn kitten) but it doesn’t always work. Usually punting her works if I can catch her. Spray bottle for both works 99.999% of the time.

And as I read this, I laughed like a maniac, because omg it’s soooo true! And soooo funny!

Liz
Liz
10 years ago

LASER POINTER! Your cat will get so tired chasing the laser pointer around the house for five minutes that she will sleep for hours. And you don’t even have to get off the couch. (Also, re: elastic bands as cat toys… I work at a vet hospital and we recently removed six of those from a cat’s intestines, where they had knotted up and caused a blockage– yikes!)

Faith
Faith
10 years ago

My childhood cat got what I thought was a case of the flimflams once in the wee hours of the morning.. she upended a stack of encyclopedias I’d had out in the process. Then she stopped. Days later I was cleaning them up and found a very flat mouse.

Also, you can get cheap little foam balls that always seemed to make great entertainment for my cats.. They always preferred the yellow ones, don’t ask me why.

goingloopy
10 years ago

Ours have Teh Crazy at 6:30 am, 6:30 pm, and 11:30 pm. Mostly they try to eat each other, but sometimes they want to feed on the sweet taste of human flesh. Whatever you do, do not buy the balls with the fucking bells in them. I got used to older cats who ignored them, and then we got kittens. We had to confiscate that shit at 3 am.

I will also second the recommendation for the canned air…ours hate it.

Finally…get a container with a lid (tupperware, or a canister, or a cheap tin that christmas junk comes in, whatever). I had the cat food everywhere for a while. It’s also better to keep it somewhere in a closed cabinet and not, say, on top of the fridge.

Seriously, it’s so weird getting used to youngster pets again…before we got the most recent ones (one’s a year old, one is 6 months)…the last time I had a kitten was like 17 years ago. I forgot.

Sunshyn
10 years ago

Early morning krazy kitten time was solved by putting kitten in a dry bathtub with a marble. He had a blast chasing said marble up and down the bathtub. Otherwise, he would lurk in the hallway, ready to attack my mom’s fuzzy slippers. Or her freshly clad stocking’d legs (hello runners in the nylons). I miss pouncing kittens. A little. But o the allergies.

Beth
Beth
10 years ago

This is my favorite post ever.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

my old cat used to only do it before he had to poop. really.

josefina
10 years ago

I don’t know why it’s funny, but it IS. I am laughing and all the boys in my house are annoyed.

Suburban Snapshots
10 years ago

Okay, I’m not sure why it’s funny, but I know the kind of laughter you were caught in and it’s one of my favorite things. My husband considers it a huge achievement if he gets me there, more so than if he gets me to that other happy place.

Aunt Linda
Aunt Linda
10 years ago

I suggest you duct tape her to a table for the night.

Jen
Jen
10 years ago

I find it does help to have 2 cats: they entertain/abuse each other. However, mine have recently transitioned from outside/inside to strict inside, and now Hunter Cat kills a toy every night around 11pm. (generally the same toy). unfortuately they both strew their dry food about as in your picture. cats be crazy.

Nik-Nak
10 years ago

Night Time Crazies was something we encountered once also. I was amazed it had an actual name. And my google searches sound alot like your examples up there.
Weird, yet google always knows what I’m talking about.

Kate
10 years ago

I thought this was so hilarious that I read it to my husband, even though he kinda hates when I read the internet to him, but, like JB, he wasn’t really amused at all. Maybe you have to read it for yourself.

Kate
10 years ago

Oh my, I’m dealing with this right now. I had a bout of temporary insanity and got two kittens about 10 days ago so we’ve become reacquainted with the Nighttime Crazies. And it doesn’t help that I get home from work at midnight. By then they’ve had a nice nap and are all re-energized for a few more rounds of Wrestlemania on the bed.

Did I mention that these two little furry terrorists are in addition to two grown cats and a 60-lb dog?

I’m thinking about just throwing pet food all over the floor and letting them all buffet it. The dog wants to eat the cat food, the babies want to eat the dog food and the big boys want to eat the baby food.

I don’t what I was thinking.

Janet
Janet
10 years ago

I admit it. I didn’t laugh (much) til the end of the post. Something about that cat food spilled all under the cabinet…and the pieces floating in the water. Picturing you cleaning it up? Okay, now ~that~ was funny. Must be because I’ve cleaned up so many messes myself. Heehee. Sorry.

Judy
Judy
10 years ago

We have a lot of the spilled cat food too, but it’s because he picks up the pieces with his paws and puts them in his mouth and without opposing thumbs, his picking up is not always precise. But yes, he does the flimflam, although around here we call it “Oh shit, Simon’s doing that galloping thing again”. I had not noticed if it is on a time schedule but I’m going to look now. I have a one bedroom apartment and he races from the bedroom window to the living room window, pinging off furniture along the way. Did I mention he’s 25 pounds? And he is nearly 5 years old, so it’s not a kitten thing. I always just figured that this strictly inside cat needed some exercise and since I am unwilling to buy him an elliptical, he does his gallop.

Judy
Judy
10 years ago

Oh, I forgot!

Does anyone else always seem to have cats that keep toys in their food/water dishes? I had a cat named Barbra (slightly cross-eyed Siamese who looked just like Streisand) who was addicted to the hard plastic balls with bells inside them (NOT a good idea because they are hell on the instep on those middle of the night bathroom runs) and she kept them in her water bowl. Simon has this stupid toy like a feather boa on a stick and he keeps it in his food, which leads to the boa part getting really nasty really quick.

Kristin
Kristin
10 years ago

It makes ME laugh. It’s the image of flinging the door open, spraying the cat, and shutting the door. How is that even going to work before the cat attacks you. And who just HAS the spray-bottle ready to go?

Suze
Suze
10 years ago

We call it hot laps. Every cat we’ve ever had does it. It doesn’t bothers us, but sometimes it sounds like the current cat rolls all the way down the stairs.

H
H
10 years ago

I love this post – you made me laugh!

operation pink herring
10 years ago

I was always baffled when I’d go to friends’ houses and see their pet food just sitting out. My cats rip the bag apart with their claws and eat directly from it (ignoring the full bowl of food right next to it) if we don’t hide the bag in the closet the minute we get home from the store.

Dana
Dana
10 years ago

We tried “discouraging catnapping” with my old roomate’s cat. We’d be sitting around on the couch in the evening watching tv or whatever and the cat would be sleeping. Then when we went to bed, she’d get the crazies. So we started waking her up when she’d fall asleep. Whenever we saw her eyes close we’d whistle, or call her name, or pet her – anything to wake her up. I think it actually worked a little.

I have a 5 month old kitten now. Nothing stops her crazy.

I might try the canned air though. The spray bottle doesn’t work on her. She just closes her eyes and waits for the spray.

Kelly
Kelly
10 years ago

We’ve been working on this in our house, too. I had friends over all afternoon one day recently and the cat got no sleep because he was so interested in everything going on. So he spent that whole evening and night sleeping like a rock to catch up. Aha! So now we try to interrupt more of his evening napping and do a bit more evening playtime. It helps, though it doesn’t entirely stop all overnight crazy. We’ll often grab a dozen or so small toys and throw them for him while we’re watching TV or something so he can get some of his running in while we get to be lazy. :)

And Judy, yup, our cat likes to put his favorite toy mice in his food dish and frequently used to soak little pom pom toys in his water dish (eww).

Tess
Tess
10 years ago

I’ve tried the “keep the cat crazy all day long so he’ll sleep at night” by employing my preschoolers to play with him but it didn’t help. Zhu Zhu pets to the rescue!! My cat will furiously chase & stalk them, but you have to hide them away at night because they have NO off switch. Their maniacal laughter makes us all insane but it’s worth it to see the cat fall into his bed exhausted at 11pm. And we feed him late, like after 9pm, so he’s fat & sleepy, it seems to slow him down a little.

Mel Dennis
Mel Dennis
10 years ago

We feed our 2 cats wet food right before we go to bed (9 or 10 pm), and this usually leads to them sleeping right as we go to sleep. Of course, they may run around at 3 am, but if they’re too loud, we put them in the basement (where their litter boxes are) for the rest of the night.

Jo
Jo
10 years ago

Second time I’ve read this post; I had to come back because it is so damned funny. I still don’t know why, but seriously, tears from the laughing. Surprise attacks on flimflamming cats are apparently hilarious. Who knew?

Carrie
Carrie
10 years ago

My one cat always drops her toy mice in her water bowl, or my water glass if I dont pay attention. I assumed it was some latent hunting instinct to drown the prey?

Also, please dont leave out elastic hair bands, they will eat them and can get tangled in their insides.

JMH
JMH
10 years ago

We are new to cat ownership, and we put our kitten in the basement at night…that is where here litter box is kept. If she has the flim flams at night, we don’t hear it (and she is 3 months old so I am sure she goes crazy at night)

Dawn
10 years ago

I used to call it Kitty Wrestlemani when mine did it. It has gotten better now that they’re older. They’re 10 now, and I’m trying to remember when it got less crazy, but all I can say is that it wasn’t a recent development. It happens every now and then, but in a much more toned down way.

Aviva (omyc.wordpress.com)

So funny. We are thinking of getting a kitten. Is it a myth or is it true that the presence of a cat will keep mice out of the house? We have a mouse problem, and it’s my excuse for getting a kitten, which the child wants…. The husband needs a concrete reason. And I really do want to get rid of those freakin’ mice!

Lisa
10 years ago

Ha! Every cat I’ve had has done this- I used to call it the late night run around, but then I read something on the Internet that called it “elevensies,” which is such a perfect word for it, that it’s stuck. We have two cats & shotgun style house & they love to chase each other up & down the length of the house. Annoying sometimes, but it keeps them in shape! Sometimes I join in and chase them too. The advice about waking them up from catnaps is hilarious. I’ve tried to do that as revenge for them waking me up @night, but they just give me dirty looks & go back to sleep immediately.

Very Bloggy Beth
10 years ago

LOL the flimflams. Well, when kitty is a senior citizen, it turns into the 2am howlies. Welcome to life with a cat.

Elaine
10 years ago

Some additional helpful information about cat ownership.
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/kitty_pet

Seriously these animals are out of their goddamn minds. Mine are both older (14 and 15). The 15 year old gets the 2am howlies and they are so loud that I can hear them from upstairs and often have to combat them with ear plugs. The 14 year old apparently still thinks she’s a kitten and tears ass around our house at all hours of the night. Dear cats, you are more batshit insane than my toddler. You are also shittier sleepers. STOP THE MADNESS. Love, that lady who lives in your house.

cakeburnette
cakeburnette
10 years ago

Hahahah! We feed our cat the same food! No night-time crazies here, though.

Stephanie
Stephanie
10 years ago

Thank God my cat is a fat ass and doesn’t move much.

Rachel
Rachel
10 years ago

We call it “catching fairies” since they seem to be trying to kill invisible things.

Do you have a laser pointer toy or one of those long sticks with a string and a feathery thing on the end? When my cats are being spazzes the best way to get it over with is to play them into exhaustion. Two minutes with the laser (aka shiny red bug) or flying feather thing and they’re collaped on the floor like they’ve just run a marathon.

Sonia
Sonia
10 years ago

Aviva, our cat keeps the entire neighborhood’s rodent problem at bay. Seriously, he’s a mouse/rat/bird killing machine! We had signs of a rodent under the house once. We put the cat in the crawl space with a bowl of water and a litter box, overnight. Haven’t seen signs of one since, and he was SO PROUD of his ‘trophies’ the next morning.

Stacy
Stacy
10 years ago

So funny. I had a cat that used to FlimFlam at various times of the day and night. She did it after using the litterbox, and to me it seemed like perhaps her butt was on fire, and she was trying to run away from it. At night, I had to resort to gathering up all of her toys and putting them out of reach for the night, especially any with catnip in them, because that’s what seemed to evoke the gutteral howling the most. It was an indescribable sound, and to wake up to it from a dead sleep was like a cattle prod in the ears.

Redbecca
Redbecca
10 years ago

Our cats don’t get The Maddies at night so much any more (we also call them The Whoops) now that they are getting up there in years. However, they also have to navigate around our 4year old, who loves to chase them around the house after dinner, making this high-pitched fast whooping sound like Zoidberg on helium until they run down into the basement to hide. (He usually emphasizes the last two whoop sounds as they run down the stairs, like “and stay there!” which has me in stitches).

KKF
KKF
10 years ago

Get a darth vader laser beam thingy from think geek. Use the laser beam to exhaust the cat. problem solved?
We call it “zazzle pants” as in “uh-oh, kitty just put on her zazzle pants” and then we proceed to chase her around the house and pick her up and squoosh and noodle her around until we’re all totally spent and then we go to bed.
We also feed her at night, and so after a good imaginary hunt-a-palooza she’s down for some chow. and there’s nothing in the world better for a full kitty belly than a long night of snoozing.
Good luck!