Cats swat things with their cute “widdle” paws. It can be hilarious, an endearing thing about our kitties. On the other paw, it’s not quite so funny when they swat your valuable smartphone across the floor. And after swatting a particularly valued object, they seem to give you that look: “Yeah, I did that. What are you gonna do about it anyway, dude?”
Sometimes, cats swat things as if they truly enjoy seeing your flustered reaction. If so, you may not necessarily be imagining it. Generally, cats swat things out of curiosity, play, and instincts to hunt and climb. However, on occasion, they may actually want to see your reaction.
According to some feline behavior specialists, cats will indeed swat things to get your attention.
For example, Dr. H. Ellen Whiteley says:
“Once a cat learns that knocking something to the floor will bring humans on the double-quick, she may actually do it on purpose to get your attention, particularly if she feels that a meal is long overdue.”
Cats Swat Things to Get Your Attention?!
Yes, it seems ever-curious and intelligent cats swat things around occasionally just to see what you’ll do. For example, check out the “Thug Cat” (or gato malo) in the video below. Even though this kitty is clearly hearing their human tell them no, they just can’t help themselves. For many cat lovers, this little ‘tude is part of the appeal of cats.
Sharing space with a feisty self-confident feline willing to push your buttons can be entertaining – for you both. At least, it is when the object is harmless, won’t break, or something you can do without.
Video from Heathsplosion:
People Love Watching Cats Swat Things
If it’s true that your cat is swatting things to the floor to see your reaction, perhaps they are aware you’re amused? Certainly, people everywhere LOVE watching videos about cats who swat things. Sometimes, it leaves us rolling with laughter. Many cat lovers would tend to think their cats are aware of what their laughter means.
Without question, we know our cats are highly intelligent as they respond to what we do. If they swat an object, maybe you’ll come running, they think. Then, perhaps they’ll get that treat they’re thinking about? If not, well, at least they got a little attention.
One possible solution: redirect your cat’s attention. Before cats swat things, try distracting them with a toy. After a few minutes of play, the urge to knock things over may fade.
However, cat behavior specialist Cathy Bosley recommends another tactic if your cat is already on a counter.
“If she’s already on the counter, simply leave the room. Do not pick her up and put her on the floor, do not say anything to her; both of these will be giving her the desired reaction, even if it’s not a positive reaction,” Bosley told Martha Stewart.
Thus, giving no reaction may discourage cats from knocking things over. As always, use your best judgment depending on the situation.
Yep, we’re being programmed by our mastermind cats.
Thus, it could be our behaviors that encourage cats to knock things over. Even when we’re not amused, a negative reaction could have the same effect. After all, a cat wants what it wants: attention, and a reaction, whether that’s praise, laughter, or an “Oh no you didn’t!”
Over time, most cat lovers will learn to accommodate their cat’s drive to swat. For some, it means cat-proofing their homes and placing treasured items out of reach. Safely behind glass in a display case, your cat can’t knock over your prized figurines. Besides, you can try leaving harmless items like toys or balls where cats can swat them all they want. Even an empty plastic cup will work.
Below, see a compilation of Cats Who Knock Things Over from Neko Watch:
Curiosity Killed the Houseplant
As everyone knows, cats are endlessly curious, and it may be your prized houseplant that pays the ultimate price. When cats swat things, they sometimes want to see what it will do as they investigate.
Perhaps, a mouse is hiding in the dirt that will start to move? Then they will be ready to give chase. It’s part of the hunting instinct, a way to explore and find prey, which often lay motionless.
For plant lovers who love cats, finding a way to enjoy both can be a real challenge. One idea: terrariums! Protected in a clear container, your kitty can look but not touch. As a bonus, they can be super easy to care for.
Also, we look at cat-friendly plants here!
For example, see the video below from ViralHog:
Cats Swat Our of Boredom
Besides honing their hunting skills, cats may be bored. If so, they need some new toys to play with. Being highly intelligent, they could quickly tire of the same ole’ toys. So, perhaps it’s time to select some interactive toys to keep their attention? Fortunately, it doesn’t take much, and even a ball of crinkly paper or an empty box could do the trick. In this respect, each cat has their unique favorites.
Also, we all know cats have bursts of frisky playfulness. During these times, your treasured figurine is most in danger! To help, rotating a collection of your cat’s favorite toys with a few unexpected new items can keep your cat’s attention harmlessly diverted.
If you’re looking for just the right toy, check out the JessiCat Accessorati store!
Cats Swat Things in the Drive to Climb
According to DailyPaws, the number one reason cats swat things over is simple: that stuff is in the way. As part of a cat’s DNA, they have the drive to climb trees and hide. It helps them feel secure and explore.
So, if there are objects that are preventing them from moving higher, a swat solves that problem nicely. Of course, cats don’t see what the value of these things is to us. As a solution, many cat lovers create shelves specifically for their cats to climb. And, the old tried-and-true cat trees and scratching posts may do the trick.
Now, some cat people really take “catwalks” to a whole other level. In some cases, it can become more of a cat house created mostly with cats’ climbing instincts in mind.
See the video from HouzzTV below:
Featured images: Screenshots via YouTube