Why Are Cats Always Knocking Things Over?

If you have a cat I’m sure you’ve noticed how often they knock things off your countertops, desk, tables, and shelves. Why do they do this? Are they trying to get your attention by annoying you? People with dogs often explain this behavior as cats not being as intelligent as dogs. That’s is absolutely not true as there is plenty of proof that cats are very intelligent. However, most cat owners do find this behavior frustrating and would like to know what they can do to get their cat to stop.

Here are some of the more obvious reasons why cats keep knocking things over and what you can do to minimize the problem:

Cats are Natural Hunters

Because cats are born to hunt they are always exploring looking for prey, which leads to things getting knocked over. If your cat sees an object on your desk that might be a mouse, it deserves to be investigated more closely. Therefore, he/she will try batting it around to see if it’s alive or maybe something to eat.

Your cat can certainly tell the difference between a pencil and a mouse, but their instinct to hunt drives them to investigate everything with their paws. Even if you have an indoor cat that has never encountered a mouse, they are driven by their instinct to hunt for prey.

To get your cat to leave your things alone, distract him/her with some little catnip toys. You can also try food puzzles, which are good at keeping kitties focused. And then make sure you hand out some treats for his/her efforts.

Seeking Your Attention

Have you ever set a drink down on a table and walked away, only to come back and see that your cat has shoved it to the edge and knocked it over? This is an obvious ploy for attention and your cat wants to see your reaction, according to what Maureen Murithi, DVM told POPSUGAR. “How you react to an accident, like knocking over a vase full of flowers, can condition your cat to associate it with attention.” Therefore, you need to appear nonchalant when your cat does these things.

To encourage your cat to get your attention in other ways, spend time with your kitty giving him/her plenty of chin scratches, playing fetch, and brushing. And remember not to react when he/she knocks something over.

Curiosity, Fun & Boredom

Cats are curious creatures, so when things change in their environment, they will set out to explore. If you just placed a new picture frame on your desk or shelf, your kitty will use his/her paws to explore it. And of course, you’ll keep finding it knocked over. Cats are quite observant and any changes in their surroundings will be noticed and investigated. They’ll use their paws and if the item is not anchored very well, it’ll get knocked over.

Indoor cats who can’t explore the great outdoors to satisfy their innate curiosity get bored. According to Dr. Murthi, it would make sense to schedule a regular play time using moving objects. This way your cat can count on having your full attention for a period of time each day, plus it’s entertaining and fun. Make sure your cat has things to keep him/her busy and occupied.

The idea is to try and combat his/her boredom with plenty of toys, treats, food puzzles, and a place to perch in a window so he/she can watch the birds, squirrels, and other outdoor critters. However, nothing can guarantee that your cat will totally stop knocking things over, but these tactics should at least help.

Pet-Proofing Your Home Can Help

It’s important to make sure your home is safe for your cat and pet-proofing can help. You do not want him/her to knock something over that could injure them. Sharp objects should be kept out of reach and away from the edge of a shelf or table. Shattered glass poses a danger to anyone in your home, so make sure these items are stored away from your cat. Indoor plants should be in heavy containers that cannot be knocked over by your cat.

Cats are notorious for jumping up on counters and this can be especially dangerous in the kitchen. Make it a habit to put things away when you’re finished using them. Broken dishes and sharp utensils can easily end up on the floor in households with cats. Bathroom counters also pose a danger if you leave the tops off pill bottles and cosmetics. The last thing you want is for your kitty to ingest a pill or some perfume that could poison him/her.

Nothing you do will totally keep your cat from knocking things over, but the recommendations in this article should help. Do not hesitate to call your veterinarian if you think your cat may have ingested something dangerous or with questions you have regarding any of his/her behavior.

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