It’s a cat’s world, and we’re just living in it, right? Cats like to do lots of things that makes us wonder, that’s for sure. One of the cat behaviors that is high on that list is when our cats knock things over. But have you ever wondered why it is that your cat does this? When cats knock things over, it can be extremely frustrating…or even extremely painful if you step on it without knowing it fell.
She doesn’t really need this hideous vase… Oh, that glass of water would look so much better on the ground… Grandma’s ashes? Bye-bye…
These are just some of the strange thoughts that could be coursing through your cat’s mind as they send those objects sailing. If you’ve ever wondered why cats love to knock things over, you’re certainly not alone.
Why does my cat knock things over?
Oh, we definitely know how this one goes don’t we? Your cat doesn’t care how expensive or important that thing is that they’re about to knock clean off your counter. Cats are going to be cats and they simply do as they please, right? Well, as it turns out, your cats do this for a couple of highly hypothetical reasons—aside from driving you mad.
Author and certified animal behavior consultant (CABC) Amy Shojai tells PetMD.com that cats do this because of the way their prey-driven brains are hardwired:
“Cats are hardwired to hunt for their food, so knocking things over may be a manifestation of this instinct…Cats use their paws to test and explore objects, and the movement, sound, and touch or feel of the object helps them understand what might be safe or not.”
So, essentially, when your cat is doing this, it’s as if they’re practicing hunting. Although the object in which they just sent flying wasn’t likely moving to begin with. It’s just a form of hunting that might put a slight dent in your wallet.
Remember, your cats paws are very sensitive regions of their body, and they often use them as a means to explore the world around them: “A moving paw-patted object combines all of the best aspects of stalking and prey chase with the movement and tactile feel of the patted object, and the final escape rush of the falling item,”says Shojai.
Not only this, but as we know, cats are masters of manipulation—especially on the humans that adore them. So your cat might knock things off the counter because A: they want to get a rise out of you and B: they want to captivate your undivided attention. Adi Hovav, senior feline behavior counselor at the ASPCA Adoption Center, says:
“Humans make great audiences. Who doesn’t jump up when that glass starts to go over the edge of the table?”
Your cat is quite dramatic at heart, and many suffer from bottom-of-the-food-bowl-itis. When a cat is hungry, they have trouble focusing on anything aside from their hunger. Typically a cat will rely on their mighty meows to express their hunger. But sometimes they might go as far as to knock something off the counter so that they can alert you immediately of their urgent demands...i.e. FOOD.Have you ever wondered why it is that your cat always acts like they’re starving? Read about that here, too.
To make sure that kitty stays safe, try your best to ensure that there’s nothing that they can knock over that will cause them harm. Pill bottles contain dangerous contents, and your cat could hurt themselves should they knock over something that is glass and it shatters.
“Even if you don’t mind that your cat engages in the behavior, it can pose a risk to him. Glass objects knocked over can shatter. Pill bottles that aren’t securely sealed can spill their contents when knocked on the floor. There are many objects on tables that, if knocked over, can create danger for the cat,” says cat behaviorist Pam Johnson Bennett.
Does your cat love to knock things over? Next time they do it, now you’ll know exactly why—and not take it personally!