Why Your Cat Keeps Knocking Things Over/Off Tables & How to Make Them Stop

How To Stop Cats Knocking Things Over

There’s no way to entirely prevent a cat from knocking objects over.

With that said, there are ways you can avoid harm. For example, keep breakable items away from places you know your cat likes to frequent. Broken shards can end up harming your cat, so you want to avoid this at all costs. 

Make your counters and tabletops as unappealing as possible. If your cat doesn’t think there are any interesting items there, it will be less likely to climb up to knock them off. 

If the behavior persists, redirect the cat’s attention to something else. That’s especially important when you see the cat’s about to jump up and knock something over.

Ensure that you don’t give your cat the attention it wants if you’re trying to discourage this behavior. If it gets any reaction – whether it’s positive or negative – your cat may make a habit out of knocking stuff on the floor.


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.

It gets them attention

It doesn’t take long for cats to figure out that sending an item tumbling to the floor makes a lot of noise, which may send a human caretaker running to investigate. As veterinarian and author Dr. H. Ellen Whiteley explains in a HowStuffWorks article, this is incredibly valuable information for a cat:

[O]nce a cat learns that knocking something to the floor will bring humans on the double-quick, she may actually do it on purpose to get your attention, particularly if she feels that a meal is long overdue.

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Getting you to leap up from your comfy reading chair to hoot and holler about another broken water glass might be part of the point for your cat—so don’t give them the satisfaction.

Attention Seeking

A cat only needs to knock something off a counter a few times for them to realize that when they knock something over, their owner comes running. If your cat wants attention from you, they may start to knock things off counters to get your attention. In order to not reinforce this behavior, try not to immediately run over when your cat knocks something over. Obviously, if your cat breaks a coffee mug or knocks over a package of food, make sure they don’t hurt themselves, but fallen pens and keys can be picked up later.

How to Curb the Knocking Down Behavior

Knocking things off high shelves can be destructive and even dangerous. Glass can break, creating a hazardous situation for the kitty’s paws when he follows the object down to play with it. If your cat is knocking things down routinely, you can do a few things to curb the behavior:

  • As much as possible, keep breakables out of reach of your kitty’s paws.
  • Try double-sided tape to keep items in their spots (just check in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t damage the furniture).
  • Museum wax can keep things secure where they’re supposed to be.
  • Use positive reinforcement to your advantage—if you see your kitty about to knocking something down, don’t yell or run over but make a fun noise to get his attention and toss a toy in a different direction.
  • Try clicker training to teach your cat positive behaviors and good ways to get your attention and praise.
  • Be sure you’re giving your cat enough interactive playtime.
  • Try puzzle toys to keep your cat busy when you aren’t playing with him.

So while it might seem like it’s impossible to teach your cat to stop knocking things over, it is possible. You just need to consider the reasons your cat is doing it and provide alternatives.