It’s no surprise that our feline companions have their fair share of strange yet amusing antics. For instance, many cats love to knead; are fascinated with boxes, and are keen about napping on top of us (and our laptops too for that matter). While mind-boggling at times, there’s no denying that these habits are part and parcel of why we adore them.
If you’re a cat owner, you’ve probably observed these behaviors and wondered about your cat’s train of thought whenever they do what they do. Take for example the habit of cats knocking things over. While it may be amusing at times, it may cause a ruckus when it results in loud noises, items getting broken, or glass being shattered. It leads us to wonder: Do cats do it just because or could there be other reasons behind it?
Why Do Cats Knock Things Off?
Here are three possible reasons why your cat is knocking things off the table, shelves, and other areas of your home:
They’re practicing their hunting skills
The weird habit of knocking things over may be a manifestation of the cats’ hunting instincts. They use their paws to explore different items, getting to know how they feel, how they move, or if they make a certain sound.
Having sensitive paw pads, they tap, grab, and knock off things, which helps them have a better understanding of different objects around their space. As it’s a common practice for cats to toy with their prey in the wild, your cat may be practicing this behavior when they knock things over.
They want your attention
If your cat is knocking things over, it may be because they are craving for your attention. They know full well that you are bound to react when objects fall over. And when they want to be noticed, they’d be glad to receive any kind of attention, whether you react in a positive or negative manner.
If you believe this might be the reason, it’s best if you ignore your cat when they try to get your attention this way (while setting aside fragile items) and praise them when they’re not. Meanwhile, do remember to spend enough quality time with your cat for them to feel loved and cared for.
Because it’s fun
Why do cats like to knock things over? It may also be for the simple reason that they just enjoy it. Bored cats find ways to entertain themselves, and knocking things off and seeing the objects drop on the floor might do the trick.
Along with hunting instincts, they feel a rush when they are able to use their paws to pat, grab, or let objects fall, similar to how they go after their prey in the wild. When cats have much pent-up energy and are bored at the same time, it is likely for them to do things such as knocking things over to amuse themselves or release their energy.
Do Cats Actually Understand Physics?
Now that we’ve mentioned some of the reasons why cats knock things off, it makes us wonder whether cats understand the law of gravitation. Being the smart creatures that they are, it could be possible. While there is no conclusive evidence yet as to prove that cats truly understand physics, a study by Saho Kahagi and the team is a great indication of the possibility.
In the study, 30 cats were observed (22 of them lived in cat cafes) and were chosen because they were generally friendly towards new people. The researchers used an opaque container that contained an electromagnet in the middle. 3 iron balls were placed inside the container.
As the research team turned the electromagnet on or off, they controlled how the iron balls were held or released. 4 experiments were made in this setup where iron balls were either rattled or silent, and falling out of the container or not. The first two produced the desired effect, while the other two didn’t (anomalies).
It was observed by their team that the cats paid much attention and stared longer in the experiments that were considered as anomalies. The researchers interpreted this as a sign that cats might have an understanding of gravitation.
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 (ideally a cat as well) 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 won’t allow your cat to topple them over.
For example, breakable items such as figurines and china can be placed on a glass-enclosed shelf instead of an open one. If you light up candles, make sure that you place them high enough where your cat won’t be able to reach them to avoid disastrous accidents.