3 min read

Why Do Cats Knock Sh*t Over?

It's not just sheer and utter disdain for the human world.

But it kind of feels like it.

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Everyone who has been lucky enough to be acquainted with our feline better-halves know that cats have a particular habit of knocking shit off tables, chairs, desks - really anything not flush with the floor.

But why?

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Remember: Cats (even your own little fluffball) are natural-born hunters. When they knock something over, some say cats are testing to see if it will sprout a tail and start running away.

"Your cat's instincts tell her that a paperweight or knickknack could turn out to be a mouse," Dr. H. Ellen Whiteley explains. "Her poking paw would send it scurrying, giving her a good game (and possibly a good lunch)."

They're also just naturally curious creatures. "Cats will knock objects over as a way to explore and engage with their environment," Adi Hovav, senior feline behavior counselor at the ASPCA Adoption Center, told The Dodo. "It is often a playful behavior, and in some cases cats learn this behavior gets them attention from their human friends."

Dr. Robert Proietto, a veterinarian in New York City, told The Dodo that "this behavior may be associated with hunting mice." But as with many cat mysteries, it's hard to be 100 percent certain. Dr. Proietto's firsthand experience leads him to think a playful hunting instinct might not be the only reason.

"It's mostly when I'm sleeping and my cat is ready to eat that everything is knocked off the counters to try and wake me," Proietto observed of his own feline companion.

"My cat, I believe, does it deliberately just to spite me," he said, which sums it all up pretty nicely.