3 min read

3 Reasons Why Cats Like to Knock Things Off Your Kitchen Table


Written by Aurus Sy

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 11/12/2021, edited: 12/07/2021

As any feline pawrent knows, cats have several quirks, one of which is knocking things over. If you have a cat, you’ve likely not been spared from picking up a mess from the floor. If you’re not a cat parent, a quick search online will yield countless videos of felines pushing objects off surfaces. 

So why do cats like to knock things off kitchen tables, counters, and shelves? Here are 3 reasons to shed light on this peculiar behavior.

Your cat wants to get your attention.

cat getting petted under the chin

Your feline friend could be knocking things off your kitchen table simply because they’re trying to get your attention. Maybe you’re finishing up some work and didn’t notice that it’s already dinnertime. Your cat might be trying to say, “Mother! It’s already 1 minute and 28 seconds past feeding time and I’m starving!” Or maybe it’s been a while since you even looked in your cat’s direction and they’re bored. “Dad, you’ve been watching that show for hours! It’s time to play with me now.”

Many cats have learned that knocking things over is a quick and easy way to get their human’s attention, and thus will do it on purpose.

They want to play with the object.

tabby cat is playing with a small object

Cats are natural hunters who have a tendency to play with their prey. When they nudge a small object with their paw, they’re performing the same behavior. As cruel as it may seem to us, they’re not doing it for entertainment. Cats play with their prey to tire them out and reduce their chances of getting hurt themselves. According to researchers, the bigger and more dangerous the prey, the longer a cat plays with them.

Cats have also evolved to become opportunistic hunters, hunting whenever they can and even when they’re not hungry. A cat will spend more time playing with their prey the less hungry they are. 

They’re just exploring.

tabby cat on a ledge

While you might think that your cat is being plain evil by knocking over everything in their path, it’s more likely that they’re simply exploring their surroundings. Your feline pal sees and discovers the world in different ways than you do, one of which is by using their paws to test and explore objects; their sensitive paw pads help them understand whether something is safe or not.

How to prevent your cat from knocking things over

kitchen house is clean - don't leave out things that your furry friend can knock over

Here are some tips to stop your cat from pushing things off your kitchen table:

  • Make sure you play with your cat! You may have heard that a tired dog is a good dog. Well, a tired cat is a good cat too!
  • Rotate your cat’s toys to keep them from getting bored.
  • Introduce puzzle games. These toys will challenge your cat and help keep unwanted behaviors at bay.
  • Make your kitchen table unappealing. Avoid leaving out things that your furry friend can knock over.
  • Discourage your kitty from jumping on the table by laying out crinkled aluminum foil. (Cats don’t like the sound it makes.)
  • If you see that your cat is about to leap onto the table, you can redirect their attention by distracting them with a toy and playing with them for a few minutes. 

Knocking things over is a common practice among felines, but it doesn’t have to mean that your possessions are doomed if you’re a cat parent. By understanding the reasons why they do it and implementing the above techniques, you can curb this unwanted behavior.

Comments (1)



NO explanation as to why they tend to do most of their knocking stuff off between 1am and 4am!! Life w/kitties... gotta love them

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