specialty veterinarian careers winter haven fl

Why Does My Cat Knock Things Off The Table?

Have you ever experienced seeing your cat knocking things off the kitchen table or desk? If so, you are not alone, as chaos is often one of the traditional hallmarks of being a cat parent.

Your cat may be knocking things off the table because they are not getting enough quality playtime. Most cats need to satisfy their hunting instincts daily. Another reason they may be mischievous is that they are seeking attention or affection from you.

When your cat knocks things off the table, they could also be trying to initiate play. Check out this article for why your cat knocks stuff off the table.

why do cats knock things off the table winter haven fl

Why Cats Knock Items Off the Table?

Knocking things off the table is commonplace when you have a feline companion. They may have knocked off a plate of food or broken your favorite coffee mug, and you want to understand why your adorable kitty insists on making a mess in your beautiful home! The following includes some potential reasons:

Hunting Instincts

Your little feline angel is a cunning predator and a carnivore by nature. When playing with an object on your kitchen table or desk, they act on a hunting instinct. They may see a computer mouse or a pen as prey as they are pawing or batting at it. You can play with them instead if you do not want your cat to take out their predatory instincts on your stationery.

Some great toys that will help your precious little hunter include:

  • Cat feather wand
  • Food puzzles
  • Laser pointer
  • Toy mice

Most cats love to play, and if you spend enough time encouraging them to chase the feather wand or use the laser pointer to get them to attack the moving red dot on the wall that must be captured, they will likely be satisfied and leave other household items alone. It is worth a go if you want your feline to settle down and keep out of mischief.


Cats are naturally curious creatures. They like to check everything out and paw at items to test them. They want to see if that pen will move on its own so they can pounce on it.

Let’s face it, despite all our efforts to provide them with toys, cats sometimes like to entertain themselves. Many cats prefer to play with the empty toilet paper roll and knock it around. Certain items not meant to be cat toys often appeal to members of the feline persuasion due to their curiosity.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

There is a common misconception that felines do not need a lot of consideration from their pet parents. However, a new study by Oregon State University has concluded that cats, like dogs and infants, form attachment bonds with their caregivers. This means cats utilize humans as a source of comfort and like to be paid attention to.

Some cats who want attention may seek it inappropriately, such as by knocking something off the kitchen table or desk where you happen to be sitting. Instead of allowing this, make time in your schedule to spend time with your feisty feline. Whether it is a cuddle session on the couch or some extra playtime, if your cat receives enough attention, it may curb some undesirable behaviors.

Initiating Play

If your cat is knocking items off the table or pawing at something on your desk, they may be trying to initiate play. It may be their way of asking you to get them their favorite toy and have fun with them. They may want to knock things off the table until you understand they want to play.

Or, they may be attempting to play a game, and the item they happen to be entranced with is not a cat toy. Either way, your cat could benefit from more play time, and a motorized toy like Cat’s Meow could do the trick. It is a teaser wand that is battery-operated at various speeds, which cats love.

Feeling Hungry

In the same way, some cats will vocalize loudly when they are trying to wake you up for breakfast, and others will knock things over or get into mischief when hungry. Some other ways you can tell your cat is hungry include:

  • Head Bunting
  • Pawing at you
  • Kneading on you
  • Following you around

Many of the above behaviors can indicate that your cat needs something from you, whether it be affection or food. Cats can be tenacious when they want something, especially if they are very food motivated.

They Want What They Cannot Get To

Picture this: you have just gone shopping and left your bag on the kitchen table. Your cat enters the room, sees something interesting on the table, and wants to peek inside. While trying to get into the bag, your silly feline knocks the bag with everything in it off the table and onto the floor, making a mess. If your cat wants what is in the bag, container, or bottle, they will knock it over to get to it.

How Can I Discourage My Cat Knocking Things Off The Table

how to keep your cat from knocking things off the table

Even though your cat may be acting naughty by knocking things off the table, scolding them is never a good idea. If you want the behavior to stop, provide your feline companion with adequate physical and mental stimulation. Most cats need about 20 minutes of playtime daily, or you can break it up into two ten-minute play sessions.

You can also make the table less attractive to your cat, meaning you do not want to leave anything on the table that you would care about if it were knocked over.

Whenever you successfully discourage your cat from not giving in to their worst impulses, give them a treat and let them know they did well. They will come to associate not getting onto the table with goodies, which works for them! You may also want to give them pets to give them as many positive associations with good behavior as possible.

Another great way to keep your cat from misbehaving is to rotate their toys so they do not become bored with the same ones. You can accomplish this by only allowing a few toys to be available to them at a time. This way, when you rotate the toys, they will feel like they are getting all new toys. However, if your cat has a favorite toy, make sure they have that one all the time, or you may never hear the end of it!


Almost every cat parent has experienced their cat knocking things off the kitchen table or their desk and having to clean up the mess. If you want to stop your feline from knocking things over, spend more time playing with them and help them satisfy their hunting instincts.

You can also cuddle with your cat more and give them more attention. The next time your cat exhibits inappropriate behavior that includes knocking things onto the floor, try a little positive reinforcement with treats and be patient with your sweet kitty until they learn being good equals a yummy reward!

Are you looking for a veterinarian for your pet? Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven, FL is here to help. Give us a call at (863) 324-3340 today!

Recent Posts


Canine Water Treadmill Therapy

Canine Water Treadmill Therapy Welcome to our informative guide on Canine Water Treadmill Therapy. This revolutionary rehabilitation…

Read More

Cat Drooling

Cat Drooling As dedicated pet owners, it’s crucial to stay alert to any changes in our cats’…

Read More

Lameness in Dogs: Treatment Options

Lameness in Dogs: Treatment Options Experiencing lameness in your beloved dog can be a worrying sight for…

Read More

Cat Head Pressing: Look Out for This Potential Veterinary Emergency

Cat Head Pressing: Look Out for This Potential Veterinary Emergency   What is Cat Head Pressing? You…

Read More

Can Dogs Get Chemotherapy? 

Can Dogs Get Chemotherapy?  If you’ve ever wondered if dogs can get chemotherapy, you’re not alone. Chemotherapy…

Read More

About Veterinary Healthcare Associates

Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven, FL, was established over 30 years ago as Maxwell Animal Clinic by Dr. John Maxwell. Maxwell Animal Clinic was a one-doctor general practice offering preventive care, dentistry, and standard surgical services to the community. As the years passed, Maxwell Animal Clinic evolved into a thriving 10-doctor general, specialty referral, and emergency veterinary practice.