Cats love to climb. Elevated places give them a better view of their territory and a safe place to snooze out of reach of predators (or the family dog). When it comes to the kitchen counters there is the added allure of delicious food and ever-popular “toys” like bread ties and milk caps.
While you can’t fight multiple millennia of feline instinct, you can keep your cat off the counters by figuring out their motivation and providing a better alternative.
As mentioned above, cats seek out the highest ground in order to get a bird’s eye view of their environment. You may be able to dissuade them from hopping on the counters by strategically placing a cat tree or wall-mounted lounger in a spot where your kitty can better oversee her kingdom.
Nervous cats often feel safer snoozing in an elevated place where less graceful animals cannot go. If you suspect this is the case, try a wall-mounted lounger or place a cat bed on the top surface of a cat tree. A shelf inside a closet or a cozy spot on top of a bedroom dresser are also great alternatives for scaredy cats.
Cats that counter surf for food tidbits and/or items to play with may be a bit more difficult to dissuade. The best you can do is keep your counters clear of debris and tempting things to chew like bread bags. Eventually, your curious cat will become bored of all the fruitless searching.
Some cats are fascinated by running water and scale the counters to play with the faucet. These kitties love having their own pet drinking fountain. The running filtration system keeps water aerated and entices cats to drink more, which in turn helps prevent urinary and kidney disease.
If your cat only scales the counters when you are busy cooking, resist the urge to yell or physically remove her. This will only cause her to become frightened of you. Instead, walk away from the counter and lavish her with attention when she hops down to follow you.
Additional Tips For Keeping Cats Off The Counters
If possible, begin training your cat or kitten to stay off the counters as soon as she enters your home. Make sure you react the very first time your kitty hops up and never reward her with attention while she is on the counter.
Make sure your cat has plenty of feline furniture to choose from instead of your countertops. Cat trees and condos with vertical platforms give kitties the height they desire as well as cozy spots to perch. Make sure beds, shelves, and furniture are placed in warm, safe areas where your cat can observe her surroundings.
If your kitty climbs your counters in order to gaze out the window, try putting in a window sill perch.
Reward your cat with a favorite treat whenever she chooses to climb her cat furniture instead of your counters. The goal is for her to associate her cat tree or window perch with treats and begin to choose these spots automatically.
When all else fails, try deterring your bold feline with negative modifications to your counters. Direct punishments such as yelling, pushing, and water spraying are big no-no’s because they teach your sensitive cat to fear you.
If your cat jumping onto your counter space is causing you serious distress, there are two options you can take if you must. Try placing aluminum foil, or double-sided tape along the edges of your counters. Cats hate the feel of these materials and will likely hop down immediately. Once the habit is broken, you can remove the foil or tape. But again, this should only be used in worst-case scenarios.