How Can You Stop This Unwanted Cat Behavior
Knocking things down can be destructive and upsetting for the humans in the home but it can also create dangerous situations for the kitty. If they break something glass and then leap down to inspect the pieces, they could easily be injured. They can also knock things onto feline housemates.
Here are some ways to deter knocking down behavior in cats:
- Increase your cat’s interactive playtime. This helps satisfy those hunter urges, combats boredom, and releases pent-up energy.
- Work on making high surfaces unappealing for your kitty. Try double-sided tape which makes the kitty’s paws feel icky, which they don’t like.
- Try museum wax to anchor knickknacks to their spots.
- Don’t use yelling or excited behavior when your cat knocks something over. Remember that qualifies as attention and might reinforce the behavior. As much as possible, try to stay calm and don’t react when it happens.
- If you see your cat acting like she’s getting ready to push something over, make a noise to get her attention and throw a cat toy the opposite direction or entice her to come over for petting. That will help reinforce the idea that your kitty gets more positive attention for leaving items alone than for pushing them over.
Why Do Cats Like To Knock Things Off The Counter
Your cat may knock things over simply because its fun. Knocking objects over or off of shelves and tables may be a way for your cat to express his prey drive, explore his surroundings, and get your attention, but cat behaviorists agree that there could be other undiscovered reasons behind this common cat behavior.
Why Do Cats Knock Everything Over
Why do cats knock everything over or off onto the floor? If you are a cat owner, you probably know all about your feline companions love of knocking things over. Are your treasured knickknacks and breakables put away? Have you set down your glass of water just to watch your pal send it floorward? Whats with this destruction? Are they doing it from spite?
The reasons why cats knock everything over is the subject of many social media memes, but we at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services understand the frustration. We are here to explain this behavior and what you can do to curb it.
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Knocking Things Down Can Bring Attention
Cats are masters at interpreting human behavior. When they knock something off a high surface and it goes crashing to the ground, it usually causes at least one human to come running. That activity and attention can be enough reinforcement for the kitty to do it over and over in anticipation of the hubbub and attention.
Start Your Cat On A Regular Feeding Schedule
A hungry cat is a needy cat. If you dont feed your cat after she knocks over an object, shell either continue knocking items over or begin begging for food more directly . Always make sure to feed your cat before you hit the hay, keep her on a regular feeding schedule with 8-10 hours between meals, or ensure theres food in her bowl at all times.
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Your Cat Wants To Play
We recognize that our dogs love to play but sometimes forget that our cats do too. If your home doesn’t offer lots of chances for both mental and physical enrichment, cats are left to their own devices to find means of fun stimulationand that can include sliding your glass across the table until it just happens to fall. Your cat also wants to play with you, and pushing your “World’s Greatest Dad” mug to the floor may finally grab your attention. Play with your kitten! Buy interactive cat toys that engage their natural instincts to pounce, chase, catch, and scratch. Leave open boxes around your home for your cat to jump and hide in. Providing your cat lots of opportunities to play will keep her happy and healthy and prevent a lot of broken pottery.
Theyre Expressing Their Predatory Drive
Just because your kitty might have a few extra pounds or likes to lounge on the couch all day, doesnt mean they dont 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 . Just open up curtains or shades and give them a perch or cat tree. Place feeders and bird baths in the yard, so youll attract watchable birds and wildlife. You will know by your cats tail flicks and the verbal chirps and tongue clicks that theyre enjoying themselves.
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Why Do Cats Knock Things Over Its Prey Instinct
Cats are natural hunters. Even indoor cats who have never seen a real mouse have the instinct to go after prey. When a cat does capture something, he uses his paw to test for any movement and make sure its dead. Cats could be demonstrating this behavior when they swat your pencil or lip balm off your desk and onto the floor. They obviously know the difference between a pencil and a mouse, but their instinct kicks in and they explore the object with their paws.
How To Prevent Cats From Knocking Things Over
If your cat has broken one too many things in your home, there is no need to fret. Here are some ways to prevent cats from knocking things over:
- Provide them with activities
To avoid accidents involving your cat knocking over a glass or other breakable items, providing them with enough physical and mental stimulation will save the day. You can introduce sensory items such as a laser pointer, puzzles, and entertaining toys to keep their minds and bodies busy while being amused. You may also design their space in a way that there are places to climb, play, and hide.
Allotting time to exercise and play with your cat every day will prove beneficial. It would also be nice for your cat to have another playmate especially when you are out during the day. However, if you have only one kitty who stays home all alone while you are away, you can still play with your cat via Petcube Play 2, an interactive pet camera with a built-in laser pointer controlled remotely.
- Cat-proof your home
Cat-proofing your home includes strategizing where to put items such as picture frames, collectibles, vases, and other fragile items. If your cat pushes things off the table, shelves, or other particular areas in your house, it might be best for you to either place them somewhere else or place a barrier that wont allow your cat to topple them over.
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Why Do Cats Knock Things Over Exploration
In addition to seeking your attention, stimulating their natural instincts, and being bored, cats knock things over because they are exploring their world. Their paw pads are sensitive, and they use them to test surfaces and objects.
If youve ever watched a cat walk on a new surface that theyre not sure about, youve probably seen them put a paw in front and tentatively place it on the surface in front of them. They want to make sure its stable and will hold their weight before they step forward. Sometimes they even do this when theyve lept onto a railing because they want to correctly calculate the distance or width.
So yes, theyll paw at your pen, glasses, and post-it notes to see if they move. Or, maybe theyre conducting a physics experiment where they want to see how fast the item will fall to the floor.
No matter why your cat enjoys knocking things over, there are some ways you can redirect this pent-up curiosity.
Why Does My Cat Knock Things Over
Has this ever happened to you? Youre hanging out at home, watching Netflix, or maybe youre working. Out of nowhere, your feline friend jumps on the coffee table and starts knocking things off.
Maybe your kitty gently pokes at your knick-knacks or books first. Or maybe, he goes for the sweeping gesture of knocking things over as he sprawls on the table. If youre a cat owner, youve probably witnessed one of both of these actions.
It doesnt take a cat behaviorist to tell you that knocking things over and off your tables and counters is a house cats instinct. But why do cats knock things over?
Why are they so delicate in some ways yet act like its their job to clear the surface at other times? I mean, you know your cat can leap on your desk and position themselves in the tiniest space possible if they want to .
We looked into this odd cat behavior and came up with a few reasons why Fluffy enjoys knocking things over. You might be surprised.
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Stop Reacting When Your Cat Knocks Things Over
The biggest reason your cat knocks things over is that she gets what she wants out of her naughty behavior: Your attention. Every time you jump up to see what your cat tossed to the floor, she learns that this behavior gets you to pay more attention to her. The less you respond, the quicker your cat will realize that this isnt how to get your attention.
Heres a video of cats intentionally knocking items off of surfaces. As youll see in the video, many owners make the mistake of responding when their cats knock things over, unintentionally encouraging this annoying behavior!
Get Your Cat More Toys
If your cat is knocking things over as a response to boredom or a desire to hunt, getting your cat more toys is the only logical solution. Mouse toys can help your cat fulfill her instinct to bat prey around, and leaving these toys out at night can give her something to play with as you sleep! Scheduling playtime during the day can also tire your cat out so that shes not as energetic come night-time.
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How Can You Deter This Behavior
Since this behavior stems from a natural instinct, it’s not recommended to scold your cat for knocking things over. That being said, there are several things you can do to help minimize your cat’s destruction by knocking things off counters. Having scheduled play times, especially with toys that utilize their predatory instincts, like wand toys and kick sticks, can help stave off boredom. These toys offer an appropriate outlet for your cat’s instincts and provide mental and physical enrichment. Making sure you play with your cat on a regular basis can help break them of their fascination with knocking things off counters. It’s important that this playtime is more than just a few minutes, though. Most cats will benefit from 20 minutes of active play each day. In addition to scheduled playtime, redirection can also help. If you see your cat getting ready to jump onto a counter or table that has things on it they may want to knock over, you can distract them with an impromptu play session.
Another way to keep your cat interested in their toys and not your stray pens is toy rotation. It’s important to provide your cat with a variety of toys to play with, but it’s equally important to rotate those toys so they don’t get bored with them. To rotate your cat’s toys, you simply need to keep half of them in a plastic storage tote with some dried catnip sprinkled on them. Each week, collect all the toys that are out and swap them for the toys in the storage tote.
Why Cats Paw And Bat At Objects
The problem is that cats often paw objects, in a seemingly intentional manner. This leaves little doubt about the consciousness in this action. And from one perspectiveâit is true.
Pawing and pushing objects is in the catâs nature. From the age of 12 days, kittens start to bat at moving and non-moving objects. Playing is an innate behavior, meaning that cats do it without being taught. It helps to learn hunting skills and understand the world around themâespecially the laws of physics.
Under such circumstances, it is only a matter of time when a household cat jumps on a tableâeven if he is not allowed toâand will bat at an object of interest. By a strong chance, one beautiful day that object will fall off and shatter in small pieces. Often we observe that cats seem to enjoy the process. It is fun to watch the object fall, and the sound is pleasing, too.
But thereâs something else going on, as well. What was your reaction the first time it occurred? Probably not the calmest one. This is when your cat first learned that the shattering part wasnât left unnoticed. You might have been yelling at your cat, running after him, making a video or even showing an amusement. In any case, it brought your cat some attention.
Attention seeking is a common behavior in indoor cats, which, ironically enough, can make a cat prefer negative attention as a replacement of the dull lack of attention at all.
So, to sum up:
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Cat Knocks Things Over To Wake Me Up
Cats are a nocturnal and crepuscular species, which loosely translates into cats being most active at dusk, dawn, and under cover of night. The problem here is that, as a diurnal human, you and your cat share mostly opposite sleep schedules. So while your cat is fully-energized and ready to spend some quality time with you at 3 AM, youre fast asleep snuggled up in bed.
To answer the question, Why do cats knock things over at night? you first have to ask yourself an entirely different question: What happens when your cat knocks something over at night?
Unless youre an incredibly deep sleeper, you wake up.
And now that youre up and your cat has your full attention, she can probably get you to do what shes been asking for all along as youre half-asleep. She may be yearning for you to feed her, play with her, or merely get you to pay attention to her.
If you get out of bed to give your cat what she wants, you end up in a pickle. You can convince your cat to stop knocking things over for a little while as you fulfill her demands so that you can catch a few extra hours of sleep before morning. But youre also teaching her that knocking things over at night to wake you up is a foolproof way to get what she wants out of you.
Congratulations! Your cat officially owns you!
Why Is My Cat Afraid Of Spray Bottles
Spray bottles only teach the cat to be afraid of the person using it, and can damage the bond between cat and owner. This can be especially damaging if a cat is skittish or has a history of abuse. Mechanical devices like the SSSCAT deliver a blast of compressed air and/or a loud sound when the device senses a cat approaching.
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Your Cat Wants To Climb And Objects Are In The Way
When your cat is feeling frisky and wants to explore, he may discover random objects in high places present an interesting opportunity . It’s in their kitty DNA to climb and hide in small places off the ground, so your unsuspecting shelf quickly becomes a favorite spot. If your home doesn’t offer things to climb, your shelves, desk, and countertops are the only options. And if those spots are full of “dust collectors” , your cat may see them as a roadblock.
To prevent having to clean up messes from fallen objects, provide your cat with climbing options like scratching posts and cat trees and put them near windows so they can watch the birds outside . Or get creative and build or purchase shelves designed with your cat in mind.
Why Do Cats Like To Knock Things Over
A behaviorist explains this quirky tendency of batting objects off the table, counter, or shelves as a deep-seated needed to toy with their prey.
Cats have a reputation for knocking things off the table, the countertops, and even shelves. In fact, you can search the Internet and find countless videos of cats all doing the same thingusing their paws to bat everything from mugs to expensive vases off the edge to the floor. But why do they do it?
The reason behind it is surprisingly simple: “Most cats knock items off the tables and counters to get attention or to simply play with the item,” explains Cathy Bosley, certified feline training and behavior specialist at the Best Friends Animal Society.
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If You Cant Distract Create A Barrier
Besides playing with your kitty and offering them new cat toys, what else can you do to kitty-proof your home?
Obviously, youll want to move breakables. Whether that means putting them in a closet or drawer for a while or moving them closer to the wall and further from your cats reach, youre the best judge.
Then, you can decide how to handle your cats behavior when they do jump up on a surface where you dont want them. For example, your dining table. If you cant close them off from the room, you can put them back on the floor when they jump up.
You can also make an obstacle course of items close to the edge so your kitty cant judge if theres a way for them to jump up safely. You can also try double-sided tape to deter your kitty.
Hopefully, if you offer your cat more attention and upgrade the kitty toys, youll find your cat is less likely to get its kicks by knocking things off your tables and desk.