MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Cats Swat & Slap Things

If you have a feline fur-baby, then you know that cats love to knock things off tables, slap other cats, and swat at all manner of swattable items. But why do cats slap & swat things?

Your first answer would probably be, “Because cats, as much as I love them, are charming little jerks”. But, while I don’t disagree with you, there are some other reasons they’re so slap-happy. Cats actually have nerve receptors in their paws that help them process sensory information. So, whenever they swat or slap something, they’re really using those receptors to try & figure out what that object is. You (a human) might think that a slower, more drawn-out motion would be more effective. But, would you rest your whole hand on a foreign object that might strike back?

Cats, much like kids, also like to play with their food. It’s natural for them to swat at things that could end up being their next meal. A cat’s instincts tell it that that paperweight on your desk, or that ornament on your Christmas tree, could potentially be a mouse or some other varmint. So, poking it with a paw should send it scurrying & give the cat a fantastic snack, or at least result in a fun game. Speaking of games, a cat swatting at you or other cats is its idea of a good time, as well as it’s way of asserting its dominance. Just as long as there’s no hissing, clawing, or other aggressive behavior, then there’s really nothing you need to worry about concerning their swatting and/or slapping.

Your cat’s probably not as much of a jerk as you thought, actually. The more it swats & slaps at things, the more likely it is your cat is really just a major attention-seeker. Cats with a tendency to push objects off tables & such are actually just trying to capitalize on your tendency to come running as soon as it happens. Swatting at you usually commands your full attention, too, and that fact is not lost on your crafty kitty.

In the end, though, you love your cat. And your cat knows you love it, and it loves you right back. And that mutual affection is what makes it all worth it, in spite of all the chaos they can create.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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