(Meredith) – Cats are funny animals. They’ll prowl around, bring us dead mice, and hop inside boxes for no reason.
But there is one aspect of our feline friends that is seemingly unexplainable: why do they knock our stuff over? PetMD did some digging and here’s what they discovered.
“It depends (why),” Amy Shojai, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (CABC) with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, said to PetMD. “There could be multiple reasons why cats knock things over.”
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Here are a few reasons why animal experts think cats might be knocking over our coffee cups, plants, and other small items.
“Cats are hardwired to hunt for their food, so knocking things over may be a manifestation of this instinct,” Adi Hovav, Senior Feline Behavior Counselor at the ASPCA Adoption Center, told PetMD.
“Cats use their paws to test and explore objects, and the movement, sound, and touch or feel of the object helps them understand what might be safe or not,” Shojai said.
Cats are smart and humans make great audiences. “Who doesn’t jump up when that glass starts to go over the edge of the table?” Hovav asked. When cats need attention, they know how to get it.
“Cats are incredibly adept at finding ways to manipulate what they want,” Shojai said. “Which often comes down to: Look at me, feed me, play with me.” If they aren’t getting positive attention, they might settle for negative.
Instead of overthinking possible reasons, the truest answer might be the simplest. Cats knock stuff over because they find it fun.
“A moving paw-patted object combines all of the best aspects of stalking and prey chase with the movement and tactile feel of the patted object, and the final escape rush of the falling item,” Shojai told PetMD.
How to Stop the Behavior
PetMD recommends cat owners do some of the following to keep their furry friends from knocking over stuff around the house:
Overall, PetMD stresses that the true reason why cats partake in knocking things over isn’t fully understood.
“The research just hasn’t been done yet,” Hovav said.
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