Cats knocking stuff off tables and stuff

It’s been a looooong day, but the Albatross is flying well. I have nothing to offer beyond this series of gifs, from College Humor, all showing the familar “cats knocking stuff off of tables” behavior.  I can understand it when it’s meant to wake an owner up, but there seems to be more to it than that. . . .


Source: catbearding


Source: gifak


Source:  collegecandy


Source: imgur


Source: szuperblog


Source: gifyoutube


Source: gifyoutube


Source: collegecandy



  1. Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I call such behavior “Kitty Feng-Shui…”

  2. Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    YESSSSSS! Must know what the evolutionary mechanism behind this is…

  3. Dermot C
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Too painful: my puss broke my external hard drive doing this. Can’t work up the energy to find this funny. The cut is raw.

  4. Barry Lyons
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Many of these may be territorial in nature: “Get that Coke can out of my sight. This is MY space!”

    But is the headline missing an “off”?

    • Scientifik
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      I can’t help but think that boredom has something to do with it as well 😉

  5. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I keep expecting cat #3 to turn around and start knocking bins of yarn off shelves.

  6. Jesper Both Pedersen
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    The purpose is clear.

    They’re trying to figure out how gravity works for non-feline objects.

    • Sarah
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      I agree. They’re trying to find out whether anything else can land upright. It’s all about scientific curiosity.

      • Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Or trying to figure out which side of the thing is the “up”, given that of course everything lands upright.

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    As someone who has clear memories of being 2 years old and living in an apartment building, I suspect the cats just like watching things fall. I used to throw a plastic toy alligator off my veranda just because I thought it looked really neat when it fell, getting smaller and smaller. I also threw marbles off for the same reasons. Of course, immediately after doing this, I felt bad because now I had no alligator & no marbles & what if someone took them from down there? My dad had to pick up all my thrown stuff when he came home from work, on his way up to the apartment.

    If you watch the cats, they all watch whatever they’ve knocked, fall. I had a budgie that used to do the same thing by throwing things out of his cage & watching it fall by tilting his head so one eye could get a good view.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Parakeets are really good at this. Ours used to throw playing cards off the table one at a time and watch each one glide to a stop before grabbing the next one.

  8. Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink


  9. Posted August 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Well at least the cats only knocked things down, didn’t eat the bowl of steaming clam chowder like my cat did when I had to answer the phone!

  10. Posted August 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Cats test, usually gingerly at first, the object to check that it is inanimate. When such objects are near the edge of a surface, they fall off. If it holds their interest, and if they can, they will jump down and continue their playful experimentation.

  11. alexandra
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    just feline scientists, working on gravity

  12. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s a combination of two factors:

    1. They do it because it gets them on the Internet (attention-seeking behavior).

    2. They get on the Internet because they do it (selection effect: nobody posts videos of cats declining to knock stuff down).

  13. Ben
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Years ago I bought an old illustrated Victor Hugo book, The Man Who Laughs. It cost me $80. Somehow my cat climbed up to the top shelf of the bookcase. I knew what was about to happen, so I tried to edge closer to her to save the book. She knocked it off. As soon as it hit the ground the cover went flying off. I laughed my ass off. I like my books, but I love my cats. It was so funny.

  14. Trophy
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I have another theory which is mine and that cats do it to have a clear run or escape path. To test it, one can place them behind the cat to see if they get knocked off or even place them the cat and then turn the cat 180 degrees.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 27, 2014 at 4:48 am | Permalink

      This might be quite difficult due to the well known observer effect. The act of repositioning the cat would, inevitably, change the path of the cat. The difficulty arises since a measurement collapses the wave function and causes a discontinuous change into an eigenstate of the operator associated with the quantity that is measured. I suggest you try opening a tin of cat food as a deflector. Some scoff at this approach calling it action at a distance. But its worth a try.

  15. Trophy
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    OT but extra material for the future Caturdays:
    My friend shared this on facebook and I love it!
    It’s called “The Best Experimental Film About Cats Ever Made” and it’s pretty amazing!

  16. Sarah
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Coincidentally my cousin mentions on his facebook page today: “We used to have a Siamese cat who would go to the basement and knock canning jars off the shelf if he was displeased.” There must be more to it than just responding to a small object placed within paw-patting distance.

  17. Taz
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Perhaps it’s a learned behavior to make the environment more stable. If you’re climbing, small objects that might shift under you are best “pre-shifted”.

  18. CassieM
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    One of my cats used to do this with what appeared to be spite. On several occasions, he would be on the kitchen counter, look at me (in a way that seemed to defiantly say, “I know you are watching”), knock something off, and then act all smug. He also would inadvertently knock things down with his large hind end when walking along or plopping down on a raised surface; his reaction to that was to keep doing what he was doing. I could have taken the glass candle holders off my entertainment center before they, one by one, met their untimely demise, but I was not going to stop decorating or stop my cat from being a cat. Oh, I miss my Toshi, destructive antics and all.

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