If there’s one thing that sets cats apart from other pets, it’s their talent for annoying their owners with their penchant for making a mess.
If you have one in your home, you’re probably familiar with the sound of something falling or a sudden crash breaking the silence. Yes, it was him again. Where does this strange habit of wanting to throw objects from tables, scratch sofas or jump up and get rid of everything in their path come from?
At first you may be amused and find it funny, but after several incidents and a few euros spent on the same vase that decorates your table, you will probably have had enough. Today we find out why these felines love to frustrate their owners so much by throwing perfectly placed objects or why they suddenly have these outbursts of chaos and destruction.
“By doing so, they get gratification, especially if the object rolls in a strange way or makes a noise when falling to the ground.”
Usually this behavior is due to instinct. Like any animal, the cat can look for easy prey, and in the absence of mice in modern homes (what a relief), any gadget can do the trick. What they especially like is pushing things with their paws and observing what happens. “If he moves, that’s great; if it makes noise, even better; and if he does both, it’s a jackpot for them,” assures a cat expert from the Grady Veterinary Hospital, located in the United States, in a YouTube video. “Once they find something fun to play with, they continue until the “prey” is finally “dead” or they get bored and move on to their next target.”
“Throwing things off a counter or table combines three activities in one,” explains journalist Patrick Allan in a fascinating article published in ‘Life Hacker‘ after asking the same question. “It’s like ‘crossfit’ for cats. By doing this, they get satisfaction, especially if the object rolls funny or makes noise when falling, which means they can play with it a little longer.”
“When a cat learns to throw something on the ground, it makes humans more reactive, and it may do it in an attempt to get your attention, especially if it is hungry and you are not feeding it ”, says veterinarian Ellen Whiteley, in an article in the magazine ‘How Stuff Works‘. According to her, this attitude is mainly aimed at attracting the attention of their owner.
What you should do:
So, how to react? If you stand up screaming, he may have achieved his goal, which is simply for you to give him more attention or feed him. The key, Allan says, is to change the environment he’s in so he’s not tempted to knock over other objects. “Give it something more fun, like a side table or shelf that you don’t use,” he says.
“A tired cat never causes problems,” adds the journalist. “So all you have to do is play with him a lot.” If you haven’t yet purchased a cat toy, such as a scratching post or a string with a cushion on the end for your cat to dig into, you should do so now. Like any other animal, he needs to release energy, and if he can’t or doesn’t get tired, he might just vent all over your furniture. You can also try a laser pointer; he won’t hesitate to run across the hallway to follow the flashing light, but be very careful not to direct it towards his eyes.
Beyond these tips, it is essential to be careful and not leave precious or too fragile objects within reach, because you could be disappointed one day. Prevention is better than cure. And of course, as Allan concludes, “don’t rush to the crime scene every time something knocks over.” Just wait a few minutes then clean up the mess silently. This way, he will know that he cannot use this strategy to get your attention.
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