If you make me single out one behavior as the epitome of cat behavior, I would fatally choose this: our full of zeal and dedication effort to throw down various objects that are next to us, when we are at a respectable height.
What are the reasons of this seemingly bizarre behavior? After telling you that cats are predators by nature, I will reveal some of the reasons behind this archetypal cat behavior!
Why do cats love throwing things down?
1. The instinct of the predator
Those of you who think that your house cat is different from the stray cat that is wandering in your neighborhood, are making a huge mistake! We are exactly the same, that is, an omnipotent predator who must attack and play until death with its possible prey. So, when we see a candle or keys or a pair of glasses or an ashtray or even a bottle cap next to us, when we are high, our instincts tell us that this may be a camouflaged mouse, or a cicada trying to fool us.
But it won’t fool us! We throw a kick in our characteristic manner (see the video above), we throw it down, while at the same time we check the quality elements of the object with our feet, in order to understand if it is prey which we should chase and play with, as a self-respecting cat should do!
2. We want to grab your attention
Okay, cats have their weaknesses and bad habits as well. It is true that we are often manipulative! On the other hand, though, we just want a little of your attention and well, that’s not a crime.
When you are in the same space as us, you should be paying attention to us. And because we know very well that if we throw down an object, you will stop doing whatever you are doing in order to intervene (we have trained you, my little puppets), we do not hesitate at all to do this again and again! So that you intervene again and again. And this way we win, we will have achieved the thing we wanted from the beginning: to get your attention!
3. It’s a game
Since we are locked in the house for so many hours, we often get bored. And how do we defeat that feeling? By turning objects that do not move into toys and by trying them. That pencil had a different texture, while that vase made a different noise when it fell on the ground! This whole process is interesting and… fun and it is a good antidote to our boredom.
That’s why many behaviorists claim that people should spend at least 15 minutes a day playing with their cat in order to give it the entertainment it deserves.
What games to play?
4. Cats understand physics
Research by Japanese scientists shows that cats understand physics and more specifically have grasped the issue of gravity. By throwing an object from above they know that this object will fall down (without of course verbal imprints of this knowledge – the word “gravity” means nothing to a cat) and some noise will follow.
This explains the cat’s excessive zeal in throwing objects from above, while if it found them on the floor of a room it probably would not pay any attention to them!
Why do cats throw things down? How do I stop this behavior?
There are many things that you can do to stop this annoying (or do you perhaps like it??) habit of your cat breaking things, such as:
- Fight her boredom with imaginative games that will not be repeated for long
- Enrich its environment with new stimuli. A new plastic bag, a cardboard maze, soothing music, a new place for her crib or a new blanket can renew her interest. It is also called “environmental enrichment” and I will come back to it many times in the future!
- Ignore its provocations. Your cat has trained you to run towards it every time it throws something down. If you ignore those behaviors, it will start realizing that it will not grab your attention every time it breaks something! It is not the nicest way, but it is a solution!
- Put double sided tape on high points where are things (possible fragile) you do not want your cat to throw down to prevent it from getting there!