Skip to Content

Why Do Cats Knock Things Off – Makes Sense!

Cats are very cute and that’s why we love to have them around. 

That is also the reason why they are the king of the internet. Just Google-search the word “cats” and you’ll be overwhelmed with articles, images, and videos related to cats. 

It seems it’s only dogs that can match the attention cats get on the internet. But, enough of putting these two adorably furry animals in a match.

Unfortunately, as cute as they are, cats have one little fun-to-them and annoying-to-us habit of knocking things over. This leaves you with broken mugs, bowls, plates, and vases. 

And you also have to clean up the mess they make every day. 

So, if you’re fed up with constantly cleaning up after them, this article will explain this behavior and how to handle it best.


Why do cats knock things off?

Cats knock things over for various reasons. The biggest reason they have is to get attention. Also, they knock things over for fun and out of curiosity. Oftentimes, they also hit things out of place accidentally. Your cute cat may also knock off a bowl out of suspicion that a prey is in it. Finally, boredom is another reason why your cat exhibits the seemingly destructive tendency.


Seeking attention

It is natural that when you hear the sound of your stuff landing on the floor, you’ll dash to the location real quick. This is on reflex, and your smart kitten has noticed it as well. 

So, if he needs your attention, nothing works faster than pushing that vase off the table.

He doesn’t care about getting the vase broken or creating a mess with it. All he wants is your attention. 

This happens mostly when you seem engrossed with something else like watching your favorite TV program or working on your laptop instead of loving him.

While it is a good idea to ignore your cat whenever he knocks anything over, you may not be able to ignore the situation until you know the extent of the damage. 

So, whenever your cat knocks off anything and you feel he did it to get your attention, just clean the mess without acknowledging his presence. 

Simply put, act like your cat is invisible. With time, he’ll change his strategy to attract your attention. 

And, while you’re working things out with your strategy, ensure you put breakable things out of his reach. 

Also, never leave him hanging for too long. Feed him when his meal is due. Don’t wait until he asks for it. 

As always, hunger is a good reason for your cat to go berserk and seek your attention.


Cats find it fun

Cats, like humans, find some destructive activities pleasurable. 

For instance, we all love to puncture balloons because we enjoy the bursting sound that comes after. Similarly, cats love the sound objects make when they drop on the ground. 

Thus, to curb this behavior, you need to let him know that there are other ways to have fun aside from being destructive. 

Whenever he’s going near any breakable items, tell him “no-no” and shake your index finger. If he obeys, reward him. 

You may also add standing toys for his entertainment. When it’s playtime, place the toys near one another and have him knock them over one by one.

With time, he’ll understand that only his toys can be knocked off and not any other thing. But, you’ll need to start training your cat while he’s still a kitten to make this tactic more effective.



You must have heard the saying “Curiosity kills the cat.” 

Of course, all animals and humans have a certain degree of curiosity, but cats tend to go to the extreme on it. 

They sometimes put themselves in danger while trying to get to the root of something they find interesting or mysterious. 

Also, cats love to explore every item. They will feel it with their paws and look inside it. Sometimes they try to scratch it. 

And to complete the experiment, your cat may need to hit the item off the table to see if it will shatter and create a sound once it hits the floor. 

This will get worse if your cat loves the sound. He may continue to knock on similar items to get that “pleasant” sound. 

In fact, on this note, some cats prefer to knock things that are placed on the table or on the shelf.  It is because the sound of the impact will be louder compared to that of an item that stands on the floor. 

Generally, it helps to train your cat that knocking anything off the table isn’t acceptable. You may need the help of a cat behaviorist on this if it gets out of hand. 


By accident

There’s nothing a cat hates more than a mouse. So, he may sometimes mistake a hanging cable for the tail of a mouse. 

Other times, he could actually spot a mouse. And when he does, he switches to attack mode. It is possible that he’ll brush things off while chasing the mouse.

You know, cats would rather have your stuff broken than let a single mouse escape. There have been cases when cats deliberately overturn vases, bowls, or even mugs because they see a mouse jump inside them or because they thought so. 

You can’t really blame cats for this. After all, mice are their prey. Once cats see one, their prey instinct activates automatically. Not even you as their fur parent can stop them from doing so.

Cats can also hit things off the table while jumping around. Thus, to avoid this behavior, always engage your little friend in vigorous games that could tire him out on a daily basis. 

Otherwise, he’ll expend his pent-up energy by jumping around. 



When your cat is bored and does not have his toys around, he’ll get himself busy with or without your approval. 

One way to achieve this is to knock things down. To a cat, all items are of the same value. So, he’ll choose any item at random, even if it means breaking your most expensive ornamental piece. 

This is why your furry friend should always have his toys around him every time. If he’s bored, he’ll be able to easily reach and play with them. 



As explained above, cats knock things off to get attention, for fun, and out of curiosity. Also, they do it out of boredom, and oftentimes, it happens accidentally. 

However, it is a problem you must nip in the bud as a kitten. If not, your cat will break bigger things more frequently as he gets older. 

But, if you find the habit difficult to curtail, involve a cat behaviorist. 

Learn why cats chase their tails next.

How Much Do Siamese Cats Cost - What You Need To Know

Monday 26th of April 2021

[…] instance, cats generally knock things over for several reasons. And it’s necessary to stop this habit because it will get worse if left […]