Guidelines to understand and try to avoid this strange compulsion of felines. Why do they sometimes do it unintentionally?
More than once it has happened to us that, while resting calmly, we see our cat climb a shelf full of little things and slowly and even looking at us, almost defiantly, start hitting it with its paw until it knocks something to the ground. Although he may not seem like it, this attitude of our cat is not because he is bad or because he is perverse. Our cat, he has not come into the world to challenge us or make us suffer.
Cats do this for other reasons that have nothing to do with being evil or malicious. Although cats are very agile animals that can walk between objects without knocking them over, thanks to their ductility and their biological characteristics, it is possible that our cat is overweight and cannot dodge them so easily and accidentally knocks them to the ground.
Another cause can be boredom, if we do not take care of their possibilities for fun or remedy that situation of apathy on our part. The remedy for this problem is called environmental enrichment, which allows our cat, a natural-born hunter, to entertain himself with what we offer him in his environment.
One resource for this enrichment can be hiding bits of food around the house, encouraging him to find them as if he were hunting. Another possibility is to provide him with access to high positions in shelves or libraries so that he can be observing his surroundings from above, in a position that gives him the confidence of being able to perceive the supposed threats.
Cats play with their prey in the wild and keep their instincts intact. Playing with their prey, in this case our objects, could be an interpretation of this action.
Playing with paper balls and having them bring them to us or making a small ball move in a serpentine way on the end of a thread attached to a twig will be the most wonderful “hunt” for our cat. If we have not been able to stimulate them mentally, they will inexorably get bored.
This boredom can cause a tendency to compensate with more food eaten and the consequent weight gain. If our cat watches and learns that we pay attention to him when he throws something, he will continue to do so. Successful behavior is repeated.
A cat’s close-up vision is not as good as its distance vision. That’s why many cats stick their paws in the water before drinking it to pinpoint where it is. This may be a reason why things around us are thrown on the ground.
If your cat is about to throw something with its paw, a useful resource can be to divert its attention to something else by throwing a toy at it or getting up and going to the kitchen where the clear synonym is food.
The most important thing of all is not to challenge him. In cats, the challenge does not work and what is worse, it can worsen the behavior. Any reprimand in the form of yelling, slapping, or other repressive action can create and reinforce an anxiety situation that engraves the unwanted behavior that we want to avoid.