Why Do Cats Knock Things Over? 5 Best Ways To Curb It Successfully

why do cats knock things over ?

why do cats knock things over ? We have all seen infinite scenes of our uncontrolled cat hitting things and surely this has led us to ask ourselves why do cats like knocking things over.

The truth is that we must understand them because they have good reasons to do so.


Another possible reason for cats knocking things over could be boredom. This often stems from a lack of environmental enrichment. Consider cats who don’t routinely have access to their own dedicated vertical spaces, like a cat tree — they’re more likely to climb onto cabinets and shelves, which often house breakables and have limited space to safely move. A cat may cause items to go crashing to the floor simply by bumping into them as they move along the cabinet or shelf. Or they may stop to “play” with grandma’s glass figurine that has grabbed their attention. 



Another behaviour that young cats are more likely to exhibit is simply playing with your stuff, although cats of any age also love to play. They may be playing with your pens while thinking they are prey, or they may just be playing because they want to play.

Making the object move and then pouncing is the best way to simulate hunting and is one of the most common ways that cats like to play. If you are lucky enough to be a cat owner, you will have seen them jumping around and stalking small odds and ends many times. This is often exactly what causes that loud crash in the next room – either they were stalking the object that fell to the floor, or it got in their way while they pursued something else.

Both these traits, curiosity and playfulness, are the most likely reasons for the first few times that your cats knock your belongings to the floor. After time, however, it is possible that another reason could explain this behaviour, and it is more due to your reaction, than their own traits.

My House Is A Mess! How Can I Stop My Cat From Batting Objects?

Now that you know all the possible reasons behind your cat’s paw-poking behavior, you’re probably wondering if there are ways to stop or (at least) minimize this. The answer is Yes. Check out below.

Cat-Proof Your Home

If you don’t want your cat’s paws knocking over stuff, you might just want to get rid of all of those things altogether.

Cat proofing your home would entail you to keep all the stuff that your cat’s paws can reach (which is pretty high) out of the way. 

Keep Them Distracted (Think Toys)

Leaving a bored cat on its own with nothing to play with often means trouble. So give your cat lots of pet-friendly cat toys to play with.

Since cats can quickly get bored, don’t give the toys all at once. Instead, offer your cat one toy (something different) each time. 

Puzzle toys are an excellent way to keep them distracted. You can also hide some treats as a reward.

Make Time For Play

Your pet cat will not be seeking your attention if you’re able to spend some quality time with them. 

If you’re looking for a “not-so-tiring” game for you yet an enjoyable and exciting game for your cat, try using an energy-inducing toy like laser pointers. A game of laser tag with your cat will definitely leave your cat happy and satisfied. 

Use Deterrents Or Barriers

Use of cat-friendly deterrents like those that emit a sound or a gust of air might help keep your cat off places where you don’t want them to be.

Keep Your Cool 

At times, it’s just impossible to keep your tables and countertops clean. Your pen, cups, and bottles will be there, and your cat will be there to knock them over. 

If this happens, keep your cool. Instead of rushing over, try to ignore your cat and simply put the stuff away. Since she’s no longer getting the same response from you, she’ll probably stop the behavior.

How to stop them

Stopping this behavior is pretty easy, but you will have to modify your environment somewhat. Since the elevation change is at least half the fun of the knocking-stuff-over game, give your cats something else that’s more fun for them to climb on that your side table or bookcase. Cat behavior specialist Jackson Galaxy recommends devising a cat superhighway—a route that gets them up off the floor and around the room without having to come back down. If that’s a little too involved, try giving them a couple of lounging spots at a variety of elevations.


Tired cats don’t get into trouble, so play with your cat—a lot. Choose toys that offer the same paw feedback they get from batting stuff around on the counter, like wand or wire-based toys, ball-and-track toys, or motorized animals. A laser pointer will definitely tire them out, but since cats can’t catch light, it might not satisfy their prey drive enough to keep them away from your stuff.

You’ll also have to change your behavior. Don’t leave precious breakable items out where your cat can get to them; if they’re really into water glasses, switch to plastic or metal until they settle into their new digs and play routine. And remember: Your cat probably loves being able to summon you from another room just by making something go crash. Don’t drop what you’re doing and sprint to the scene of the crime every single time (or worse, feed them to shut them up). Give it a couple minutes for things to blow over, then clean up the mess quietly. Over time, you’ll have to do it less and less.


This article was originally published on December 11, 2015, and was updated on May 6, 2021 with new links, updated information, and to reflect Lifehacker’s current style guidelines.


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