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4 Methods To Keep Your Cat Off The Counter

By Petslady @petslady

Cats are naturally inclined to climb and jump, and sometimes they jump on the countertops. Given that this is the place where we often prepare food and eat meals, it's not only inconvenient, it's unsanitary. Keep reading to learn some of the methods you can use to keep your cat off of the counter.

New Bern, NC.,: Image by HelenaDagmar, Flickr
New Bern, NC.,: Image by HelenaDagmar, Flickr 

Keeping Your Cat Off The Counter

Here are some methods to keep your furry friend away from the countertops.

Provide Alternatives

Cats seek countertops because of their natural instincts to climb and jump. They generally enjoy high places because they're warm and comfortable. These instincts are natural, even healthy for your cat, so it's best not to discourage them completely. However, not only is it unsanitary to have your cat on the counter, it's potentially dangerous. Your cat could eat food that's unhealthy for him or burn his paws on the stove.

Instead of discouraging your cat completely from jumping, find him a better place to jump and climb on. Some great options might be a cat tree like Armarkat Cat Tree or a cat condo like Go Pet Club Condo House. Look for something that has material your cat might like, such as carpet or bark, and comfortable, warm places for your cat to sleep.

That Look of Horror and Confusion: Image by Quinn.Anya, Flickr
That Look of Horror and Confusion: Image by Quinn.Anya, Flickr

Don't Leave Food On The Counter

Some cats like to peruse kitchen counters and tables for food and leftover scraps. To remove this temptation, it's a good idea to keep any food out of your cats reach. Keep counters nice and clean so your cat can quickly realize that he's not even going to find a crumb there.

Dishes should be kept clean and free of food. Wash them immediately, or keep them in the dishwasher where your cat can't access them. Be sure to feed your cat on a regular feeding schedule so he'll have no reason to scour the counters for food.

Remove Attractions

In addition to keeping the countertop food free, it's a good idea to keep anything off the counter that might interest your cat. This could include:

  • Running water from the tap.
  • Loose items your cat can play with.
  • Plants.
  • Food items and clutter.
  • Hanging items, such as pots or pans. 

Discourage Your Cat From Jumping On The Counter

If the countertop alone is enough to attract your cat, you may have to find ways to deter your cat from jumping on it. Cats are sensitive animals, so you'll have to take care during the training process. Avoid interacting with the cat directly; he could develop negative associations or begin to fear you. Instead, it's best to find environmental solutions.

For instance, cats dislike citrus scents. A strong citrus smell might be just enough to keep your cat away from the counters. Try buying a citrus air freshener, or making a homemade citrus spray.

Trillian, Where She Doesn't Belong,: Image by Average Jane, Flickr
Trillian, Where She Doesn't Belong,: Image by Average Jane, Flickr

A good spray can be made by combining about 2 cups of water and 1 cup of citrus peels (lemons, limes, or oranges work best) in a sauce pan. Let the mixture simmer over the stove for about 15 minutes. Once it's done, filter the liquid into a spray bottle to create a potent citrus spray. You can add lemon juice or citrus soap to the mixture for an even stronger scent. (Source: Homemade Citrus Spray as a Cat Deterrent, Guardenguides.com) Spray the mixture onto the countertop after cleaning each day to fill your kitchen with a nice citrus scent and to discourage your cat from jumping on the counter.

Another thing you can try is placing aluminum foil over the surface of the counters. Most cats dislike the way tinfoil feels on their paws, so they'll likely turn around and jump off. Others use motion sensors to trigger a noise when their cat jumps onto the table, however, this should be done with caution. If you happen to own a skittish cat, it could make them feel fearful about moving about the house. (Source: Keeping Your Cat Off Countertops And Tables, ASPCA)

Avoid Training Methods That Could Hurt Your Cat

Many people use squirt bottles to keep their cats off the countertops. While this shouldn't hurt your cat, he could become fearful of you. He may also only associate the method with you being around, doing nothing to prevent him from jumping on the counters when you're gone. Though it may do the trick, it's probably not the most effective method available.

When your cat does jump on the counters, remember never to hit or yell at him. Don't push him off the countertops, he could slip and get hurt. If you're using environmental methods to keep your cat away from the counter, avoid using devices that could cause physical harm to your cat. 

With these methods, your cat will be off of the counter and jumping in more appropriate places. Remember not to physically punish your cat, and reward him for good behavior.

Additional Sources: Get Down! Keep Your Cat From Jumping, HealthyPetU, and How Can I Keep My Cat Off Kitchen Counters?, VetStreet

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