Why Do Cats Knock Things Over? Not Just Because It’s Fun!

Why do cats insist on knocking things over? We have some good reasons for this. But we don’t do it just to annoy you! 
Why do cats knock things over?

Cats knock things over, but not just because it’s fun.

Why do cats knock things over, Thomasina? My cat is constantly swatting pictures and trinkets onto the floor.

— Annoyed

Hey, Annoyed!

I can see where constantly picking things up would get really tiresome. But your cat doesn’t mean to annoy you or be disrespectful. We just see things differently than you do, and sometimes cats knock things over because they’re in the way.

Your cat doesn’t realize your pictures and trinkets are arranged on a table because they look nice. If she wants to nap on the table, and they’re in her way, she’ll just push them aside. It doesn’t seem like a problem to her if they all land on the floor. 


Why Cats Knock Things Over

I hate to admit it, but sometimes cats knock things over because it’s sort of fun. When I’m sitting on the counter, and I’m bored, I might swat a spoon onto the floor because it makes such a cool noise when it lands.
 
Animal behaviorists say knocking things over has something to do with our hunting instinct. We touch things very gently to see if they’ll move. If they do, the chase is on!  If they don’t, sometimes just touching them with our paws makes them move. Then, if we touch something on a table or counter inside, it’s likely to land on the floor.  
 
And this brings us to another theory: Cats knock things over to get their humans’ attention. When you hear something crashing onto the floor, chances are you’ll go see what it was. To a bored cat, negative attention is better than no attention at all.
 
Making space to stretch out for a nap is also a reason why we knock your things over, accidentally, of course.
 
How To Keep Cats From Knocking Things Over
I always feel sort of guilty telling humans how to stop cats from doing things that are just natural cat behavior, but here are some ways to keep your cat from knocking over your pictures and trinkets.
      • If she’s knocking your things over to clear space for a nap, maybe you could put them someplace else. Or rearrange them on the back of the table, so there’s room for her to stretch out.
      • Playing with her with a wand or fishing pole toy will burn energy and relieve boredom so she doesn’t have to entertain herself by swatting your stuff off a table onto the floor. Electronic toys are also fun and keep cats from getting bored. And the cats at my house love this robotic mouse.



    • Put Sticky Paws or double stick tape on the tables your cat uses. She won’t like the sticky feeling on her feet and will stay off. Or even better from the cat’s point of view, put double stick tape on your pictures and trinkets so your cat can’t knock them off the table.
    • Ignore that crashing sound when she knocks something off the table. If you don’t reward her by giving her attention, she’ll find something else to do. 

Oops! If you’ll excuse me, I need to get going, Annoyed. I just heard something falling on the floor. That must be Katie stretching out for a nap on our human’s nightstand. It’s always fun to watch her picking up her alarm clock and pictures and rearranging them on the nightstand so they’re not in Katie’s way. 

Oh, I almost forgot. Here are some ways to keep cats off your furniture and counters.

How To Keep Cats Off Counters

 

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