Help With Your Cat: Why Do Cats Knock Things Down From Shelves?

by Paws on Your Heart on April 9, 2013

Do you often catch your cat walking on your shelves, table, or desk
while knocking things down along the way?

This is a common behaviour among cats, and most cat owners can tell you that their cats knock things down from shelves and tables on a regular basis, but why do they do it?

A common explanation for this behaviour is that cats are just following their natural instinct to play and hunt. Cats knock things down such as a candle, a picture frame, or a figurine to see if it will play with them. Cats love to see things fall to the ground because they think that the object will run away so that they can chase it. Most felines are just curious about things around the house, and when they are bored they will nudge these objects to see if they can start a game.

This can also be an attention seeking behaviour for some cats. In these cases you might catch your cat staring directly at you as s/he knocks down your favourite Holiday ornament. This attention seeking behaviour could be due to boredom, or it could be a form of communication (is your kitty hungry?).

To stop kitty from breaking all of your favourite picture frames and figurines be sure to keep them out of his or her sight and reach. Try to make access to the shelves very limited (is there a chair your cat always jumps on first? Move the chair away from the shelf and kitty shouldn’t be able to access the shelf anymore). You will also want to give kitty lots of attention and toys to keep him or her from becoming bored.

These tips should help you to understand why cats knock things down from tables and shelves, and they will hopefully help you with your own kitty so that you can deter this bad habit in the future.

Do you have any tips that you use to stop your kitty from knocking things off your shelves? Let us know in the comments section below!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Randy February 4, 2014 at 11:53 AM

My cat can jump to a book case shelf 5 feet off the floor What should I do, move the floor?


Odette March 17, 2014 at 1:46 PM

I’ve found that my cat won’t jump onto the shelf if there isn’t enough room for him to land, so I pushed all my books to the front of the shelf, and he doesn’t jump on the shelves anymore!


Paws on Your Heart June 26, 2014 at 12:13 AM

Sometimes the easiest solutions are the best! Thanks for sharing your success story.


Keisha Vaughn April 1, 2015 at 7:38 AM

I have a Russian Blue, he knocks everything onto the floor when he’s hungry. He’ll keep pushing things off until someone comes and feed him. Most of the time its his own kitty bowls from the kitchen table.


sandra November 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM

my cat gets bored and stares at me and knocks everything over this is because she was clipped with a car and decided herself she was going to be a house cat


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