At times our cats can exhibit some funny and strange behavior. They play in boxes, sleep on our heads, and bring us things they’ve killed. They sprint from room to room, jump on things, and sleep in odd places. Another strange activity cats seem to favor: knocking things over.
While trying to better understand your cat you may wonder: Why do cats knock things over? Some cat behavior can be easily explained but this one leaves us baffled.
Adi Hovav, senior feline behavior counselor at the ASPCA Adoption Center says it could be linked to a cat’s prey drive. “Cats are hardwired to hunt for their food, so knocking things over may be a manifestation of this instinct,” Hovav tells Pet MD.
Amy Shojai, certified animal behavior consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, further explains, “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.”
How you react when something is knocked down can also contribute to this behavior. “Humans make great audiences,” says Hovav. “Who doesn’t jump up when that glass starts to go over the edge of the table?” When cats want attention, they learn very quickly what will get it.
“Cats are incredibly adept at finding ways to manipulate what they want,” says Shojai, “which often comes down to: Look at me, feed me, play with me.” So the best way to address this is to put away the breakables and ignore the behavior, hard as it may be.
Another explanation may be that it’s just fun. “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,” explains Shojai.
Making sure your cat has plenty of appropriate toys and scheduled play and exercise time can help prevent these accidents. The combination of boredom and pent up energy will always send cats searching for “trouble.”
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