Why do cats knock things over? Are they being ornery or do they just want attention? Why do they do it? As a cat owner, you already know how many quirks and antics your fur friend displays. Like cats sleeping in boxes that are too small or perching atop the bookcase or counter. Cats are indeed unique and mysterious in their behaviors but Union Lake Pet Services can help explain the reasons behind this curious cat behavior.

My Cat Knocks Over Everything!

Did your cat just break another drinking glass? Have you switched to non-breakable decor? Do you wonder why they like to scoot things off of the table with their paw, just as soon as you sit an item down? You are not alone. We are all in agreement that cats knock things off tables, countertops and desks with abandon, but the question is why? Here are a few explanations.

They’re Expressing Their Predatory Drive

Just because your kitty might have a few extra pounds or likes to lounge on the couch all day, doesn’t mean they don’t retain some of their wild instincts. Cats are predatory, even domestic cats, and they have the drive to stalk and hunt prey. Your small hunter probably needs more things to chase, pounce on, and bat around. Without things to stalk, they may resort to pens, knick-knacks, and other things on tables. 

Another way to help your cat express their predatory behavior is by giving them birds and other critters to look at (but not eat). Just open up curtains or shades and give them a perch or cat tree. Place feeders and bird baths in the yard, so you’ll attract watchable birds and wildlife. You will know by your cat’s tail flicks and the verbal “chirps” and tongue clicks that they’re enjoying themselves.

Give Me Attention!

Cats will often do things to get your attention. In most cases, it is because they need more to occupy them. Boredom is a problem for many indoor kitties, because they require playtime and challenging games that are sometimes overlooked. Cats, as much as dogs, need plenty to do during the day, so you can avoid the spilled water glass and broken vase.

Some ideas for mental and physical enrichment for your cat might include:

  • Cat trees
  • Scratching posts
  • Window perches
  • A catio, a screened in porch made for kitties
  • Catnip and catnip filled toys
  • Electronic or robotic toys
  • Feather wands, laser pointer, and other interactive toys

The other important thing about certain behaviors you don’t want from your cat is whether you’re encouraging them. If your cat wants cuddle time or food, or anything else, they may learn that if they knock stuff over, they get an immediate scolding or other reaction. This serves to reinforce the behavior and can lead to getting additional rewards for it.

Instead, ignore the attention-seeking behavior and redirect your cat to something else. Then reward them with what they are really after, which is your time and attention. Reward them for being a great kitty while you brush them or play a game.

It’s Just Fun

Cats will spend hours batting around a wadded up piece of paper or plastic rim from a milk jug. For them, this imaginary game of cat and mouse gives them exercise and enjoyment. Knocking things off of tables or moving items is likely fun for them. So give them an alternative like appropriate toys and activities to inspire. (And, to keep your belongings intact.) Cycle toys in and out occasionally to keep them fresh for your cat since cats can get bored quickly. 

Why Do Cats Knock Things Over?

Why do cats knock things over? You may never know exactly what is going through your cat’s brain, but we think our reasons can help. Is your cat particularly fond of knocking your things over, off or around? You probably have some funny stories to share. Tell us about it, or give us a call with any questions you have about your cat’s behavior.