Why Do Cats Knock Things Over?

Cats knocking things over is a common occurrence in households with furry felines. But why exactly do cats seem to have a knack for knocking over random items? From books to vases, cats can be seen upending items with ease, often leaving their owners in a state of confusion or bewilderment. The purpose behind this behavior is often a source of mystery, leaving many to wonder why their cats favor this particular pastime.

1. What Causes Cats to Knock Things Over?

Cats may knock things over for various reasons. It’s thought that cats might be curious and can become overly excited when they see items that could be fun to play with. Here are a few possible reasons why cats may knock items over:

  • Exploring and Playing: It’s natural for cats to explore their environment and try to play with items that catch their eye. They may see something and give it a swat or try to pick it up. This can lead to spillage or breakage from the force of their swats or from toppling over when the item is picked up.
  • Curiosity: Cats, especially kittens, may be naturally curious and explore items by using their paws and mouth. This can result in the item dropping.
  • Boredom and Stress: Cats may become bored from the lack of environmental stimulation or become stressed or anxious. In these cases, cats may be more likely to try to entertain themselves by knocking on items that might be enjoyable to their senses or to cause a distraction from their stress.
  • Hunting Instinct: Cats may also knock items over in an attempt to assert their hunting behaviors. The sound of the items dropping and landing may trigger a prey drive within the cat and cause them to try to pounce or swat at the item.

It is best to try to prevent cats from knocking items over by providing appropriate items for them to explore and hunt indoors. Interactive toys, scratching posts, and foraging toys can provide a stimulating environment for cats that can satisfy their natural hunting and exploratory behaviors without the risk of damage.

Why Do Cats Knock Things Over?

2. Common Actions Taken by Cats When Knocking Things Over

Cats are often curious creatures that often get themselves into messes. Knocking items over is a common occurrence within a house with a cat living in it. Although it can be annoying when things are knocked over, cats can do it for many reasons. Some of the most common actions taken by cats when they knock things over include:

  • Exploring: cats are naturally curious, and this often leads to them looking into (and knocking over) every corner of their environment.
  • Seeking Attention: whether you’re ignoring your cat or simply not available, some cats can resort to knocking things over as a way to get your attention.
  • Playing: cats often use objects as toys and can end up knocking them over as a result.

In some cases, cats can also be seen knocking things over as a result of stress, boredom, or physical health issues. It is important to watch for these signs, as they can be indicators of a bigger problem that may need addressing.

3. Reasons Behind Knocking Over Objects

Sometimes, dogs will knock over objects when they are bored or looking for a game. Some breeds like Labradors and other Retrievers may be more inclined to do this than other breeds. Below are a few of the possibilities of why your pup might knock over objects.

  • Exploring: Dogs are inquisitive creatures, who enjoy exploring their surroundings. Your pup might knock over objects to explore or to find something interesting inside.
  • Seeking Attention: Chewing or batting objects around can be a way for dogs to alert their owners that they need attention.
  • Anxiety: Knocking over objects can be a sign that your pup is feeling anxious or stressed. If your pup is experiencing anxiety, it’s important to identify the root cause and provide a supportive environment.

If your pup is consistently knocking over objects, it’s best to contact an animal behaviorist for professional advice and strategies to help correct the behavior. It’s important to provide your pup with the proper training to help them learn appropriate behaviors.

Why Do Cats Knock Things Over?

4. Effective Ways to Discourage the Behavior

If you’re dealing with unwanted cat behavior, there are effective ways to discourage it. One approach is to provide alternative options for your feline friend.

Cats often act out due to boredom or a lack of stimulation, so ensuring they have engaging toys, scratching posts, and interactive playtime can redirect their energy and keep them entertained.

Another useful tactic is to establish clear boundaries and use deterrents. Cats can be deterred from certain areas by using deterrent sprays or placing the double-sided tape on surfaces they shouldn’t be on.

Additionally, you can create negative associations with certain behaviors by using noise-making devices or harmless deterrents like citrus scents, which cats generally dislike.

Consistency and positive reinforcement are key in modifying cat behavior. Rewarding desirable behaviors with treats or praise encourages repetition while ignoring or redirecting unwanted behavior helps discourage it.

Avoid punishment or aggression, as it can create fear and anxiety in your cat, leading to more behavioral issues.

5. Strategies for Owners to Contain Cat-Related Messes

It’s always a challenge for cat owners to ensure that mess caused by their pet is contained. Here we present five strategies that they can employ to make sure that cat-related messes do not take up too much of their time.

  • Regular cleaning: It’s essential that owners dedicate a small portion of their week to cleaning cat messes. This may include cleaning litter boxes and fur-coated furniture. Doing so regularly will lessen the time spent on cleaning when cat messes start to accumulate.
  • Dog crate: Keeping cats in a dog crate or some other type of enclosure can allow owners to contain messes from food, fur, and litter all in one spot. Containing the mess makes it much easier to take care of later.
  • Groom your cat regularly: Apart from cleaning, owners should also dedicate time to grooming their cats. Doing so regularly can help reduce how much fur gets around the house.
  • Close off certain areas: Close off certain areas of the home if it gets too chaotic. Close off a laundry room, or the bedroom, for example. Keeping the cats confined to controlled areas can take the mess down to a reasonable amount.
  • Invest in preventive products: Owners can also invest in preventive products such as scat mats and corner guards. Such products will save owners the time of continuously cleaning the edges of furniture or carpets.
Why Do Cats Knock Things Over?


In conclusion, understanding why cats knock things over can be difficult, but it is important to remember that cats are curious creatures, and this behavior may simply be an expression of their natural curiosity.

If this behavior becomes a problem, cat owners can work to redirect their cat’s energy to appropriate activities. By providing your cat with suitable items they can safely knock over and investigating any underlying medical conditions, cat owners can help ensure that their cats remain healthy and content.

Also read: 10 Rude Camping Habits to Avoid

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