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Why Cats Knock Things Over: Reasons and Solutions

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Every so often, house cats can be funny—and strange—furry friends. And since the cats to this day retain some of the exact same instincts that allowed them to grow in the wild for millions of years, their behavior in unusual domestic environments can get a bit weird along the way.

While most of the strange cat behaviors can be easily explained, but this one can have many cat parents scratching their heads and searching for the answer to “why cats knock things over?

But after some research, we have come up with some possible reasons for this weird behavior.

So, let’s take a deep dive into this blog and explore the reasons.

Why Cats Knock Things Over

Reasons Why Cats Knock Things Over

As cat parents, we all know that cats can pick up weird habits and behavior sometimes. Some behavior may be troublesome for not only cats but cat parents as well. And the behavior of knocking things over is one of them.

Now, let’s get to the bottom of this to know the reasons.

1. Curiosity and Enjoyment

We are all aware of the saying “curious as a cat,” well the same thing applies here. Cats like to explore their surroundings and touch everything that comes in their way. Even upon buying a new thing like a cup or new toys for them, they like to touch and feel it with their paws, and then the cat may knock it off the table.

cat knock things over due to curiosity and enjoyment

If you buy a new item like a food jar, your cat would want to play with it, reach the item, and explore. But her enjoyment can turn into a big mess to clean. The cats tend to do this out of curiosity as well as boredom.

Well, all things aside, if your cat is knocking things more often, this act can be a way for her to show that she is not adjusting well to the new change.

2. Lack of Attention

Humans are the best audience for cats. When a cat feels a lack of attention or when she feels neglected, she might start knocking things off the tables and shelves in anticipation to get some attention.

cat knocking things over due to lack of attention

Some cats love to get petted and pampered depending on the breed, while some cats like to be left alone by themselves, and some need constant attention. They know you’ll come running once they knock over something, so they have a sure way to grab your attention.

3. Hunting Instincts

As per their nature, cats are creatures that are driven towards hunting and chasing. Moreover, they are obligate carnivores, so it is likely that they might see a small object as prey and try to knock it over.

cat knocking down a pot due to hunting instincts

For example, if you buy an ashtray, first of curiosity the cat will check the ashtray. On the contrary, the cat will try to move the object with her paws or leg to see if the object moves, rolls over, or stays still. Once the cat is sure of the object, she will knock it over to clear its path.

Another hidden meaning behind this act would be asserting their dominance. A cat in a house is the same as a tiger in a jungle, they like to survey their area through smell and touch. If they find anything unfamiliar or unwanted in their area, they will knock it over.

Some of the More Suggestive Reasons:

  • Appetite Problem: Cats don’t like the change in food, or she needs more food than usual.
  • Irritation: If cats don’t like the atmosphere or sudden changes in the situation.
  • Cats like enacting their ancestors and start to practice hunting.

Solutions to Mitigate This Activity

There are plenty of ways to stop your cat from this horrendous act, so you don’t end up with a lot of broken stuff in your house, but the most effective ways are:

1. Make Your Apartment Cat-Proof

Cat proofing your apartment is not only helpful for you, but it’s also for the safety of your cats. To keep it simple, cat-proofing your apartment means covering sharp objects that may harm the cats. Furthermore, move fragile and delicate items out of reach of cats.

make your apartment cat proof

To cat-proof, your apartment, you can do things like using double-sided tapes to cover the bottom of the carpet, cover the electrical cords and cover the wire with tape and loops.

Moreover, keep the plants away that may be poisonous and harmful to cats. And keeping things on a high level may also save your objects from the paws of the cat.

2. Newton’s Cradles

This is the best plaything that will draw the attention of the cats the best. Newton’s Cradle is a type of toy that has swinging spheres attached to it, so these spheres never lose their movement. This toy is attractive enough to draw the cat’s attention and unique enough to keep them busy.

cat playing with newtons cradle

No matter how many times your cat deliberately pushes the balls through their paws, the ball will come back like a cradle.

3. Fun Toys

Keeping a cat entertained can be a hard task, she needs to have proper attention and activities in her life. Giving your cat lots of entertaining toys can be effective to keep them entertained and active.

cat playing with toys

Moreover, having creative toys around cats might help the cat in their growth. Furthermore, this technique will save your furniture and decorative from her. Some sturdy toys like cat trees or wall hangings may please their need for hunting necessity. Likewise, also try to schedule daily playtime with your cat.


So, why cats knock things over? Well, the reasons for this behavior can range from anything like curiosity and enjoyment to lack of attention.

However, cats usually pick up this behavior to catch their owners’ attention. Whether the reaction of people is positive or negative, this is attention for cats.

While it may not be completely possible to entirely get your cat rid of this behavior, but hopefully the solutions listed in this article can help you to reduce it.


  1. Bunting (animal behavior) — Wikipedia
  2. How to satisfy your cat’s natural instincts — Found Animals
  3. Easy ways to make your house safe for kittens — Burnaby New Westminster Animal Hospital

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