Why cats knock things over

If you have a cat, chances are you’ve seen it approach an object, look at it intently, and then suddenly stretch out its paw and knock it over. This type of behavior is very frequent and normal in kittens. Although it may seem like a quirk, there are reasons why cats knock things over. They are mostly related to their feline nature, their innate curiosity and hunting instincts. Read on and find out more!

Reasons why cats knock things over

  1. Curiosity: Cats are naturally curious animals. They like to explore and examine their environment. Sometimes they knock things over because that’s how they find out what happens when they touch, push or even throw them.
  2. Play: Cats exercise their hunting skills through play. It must be remembered that they are hunters by nature. Knocking down objects can be part of your game, simulating catching and knocking down prey.
  3. Boredom: If a cat is feeling bored or not getting enough stimulation, it may look for ways to entertain itself, and that could include knocking objects over. If your kitty does not have enough toys or enriching activities available, he might be bored and do inappropriate actions.
  4. Territory marking: By knocking over objects, cats can leave their scent on them, marking them as part of their territory. This is more common in unneutered cats or those who are seeking to assert dominance.
  5. Desire for attention: Some cats may knock over objects as a way to get their owners’ attention. If they feel they are not getting enough attention, they may resort to this behavior to attract it.

Be aware that although they may have similar behaviors, each cat is unique and may have its own reasons for knocking things over. However, if you notice that their behavior is excessive or problematic, you can consult a specialist for guidance on how to solve the problem.


You can apply some strategies that will help you prevent your cat from knocking things over.

  • Provide sufficient enrichment and activity: Make sure your cat has enough interactive toys, scratching posts, cat trees and other objects to satisfy its needs for exploration, play and exercise. This will help keep him busy and reduce the likelihood that he will seek to knock objects over out of boredom.
  • Set clear limits: Teach your cat which objects are allowed and which are not. Use positive reinforcement, such as rewards and praise, when the cat plays with its own toys and does not knock over unwanted objects. On the other hand, avoid punishing or scolding the cat in a negative way, as this may cause stress and will not be effective in modifying its behavior.
  • Secure valuable or fragile items: If you have valuable or fragile items in your home, place them in safe places out of your cat’s reach. Use high shelves, closed cabinets or display cases to protect items you don’t want to be knocked over.
  • Provide suitable alternatives: Offer your cat a variety of toys and objects to knock over and play with. Toys stuffed with catnip, soft balls or toys that can be knocked over may be suitable options to satisfy their instinct to knock objects over.

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