Sunday, April 14, 2024

How To Keep Cats Off Counters

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Wipe Your Counter Immediately After Meal Preps

After any meal, there might be leftover food, crumbs, and juices on your counter. Even if your counter looks empty, it might have food traces. Keep in mind that cats have a very acute sense of smell.

This can entice your cat to jump up and lick leftovers off the surface. To avoid this, make sure to wipe down your counter every time youre finished cooking.

Warm water and dish soap should get rid of any residual odors. After finding nothing of interest on the counter, your cat might entirely stop jumping on the counter searching for food.

Keep The Counters Clean

Keep the counters clean and free. Guess who will be poking their snout into the bowl and licking it if there are empty bowls of yesterdays meal remaining on the top.

It wont be your children, though. The moral of the story is to keep all temptations out of reach of stealthy feet. Do so if it means storing the treats in plastic containers, the fridge, and locked cabinets, or in hefty metal containers.

Thats a reference to their knickknacks. You may store your treats in the regular place, but out of reach of curious paws.

Is Countertop Hopping Really That Bad

Cats who regularly counter surf aren’t only a mild inconvenience. Its actually unsafe for both cats and human owners, so countertop hopping should always be discouraged.

When cats walk on kitchen counters, cat owners expose themselves to bacteria. Cats use their paws to cover their litter box business, so their paws are super unsanitary. If bacteria goes into your food, this poses a major sanitation concern that shouldnt be ignored. The transmission of toxoplasmosis isn’t a joke!

Counter hopping can potentially be dangerous to cats, too. For instance, cats who regularly jump up a kitchen counter may accidentally hurt themselves by jumping on a sharp object or landing on a hot stove. They might also expose themselves to recently used chemical cleaning products and ingest food unsafe for cat consumption.

Give Your Cat Somewhere Else To Perch

If your cat likes to lounge on the counters, theres a chance that theyre just looking for a good perch. A well-placed cat tree can oftentimes be more attractive than a countertop and encourage your cat to climb something more appropriate. You can read about my favorite cat trees here.

If your cat is a committed counter climber then youll want to make sure the tree you select is at least as tall as the counter but ideally taller!

The Casual Cat Explorer

How To Keep Cats Off Counters And Tables

On the other side, you have cats that are casually exploring the counter and see the place where you prepare your food as just another lounging location. These cats like to jump on counters for the same reasons that cats like a high place- a lot of it has to do with instinct. I talked a lot about the different places cats like to go when I wrote about why cats like to go under the covers but Jackson Galaxy also wrote about feline preferences for certain locations.

These types of cats are more likely to be deterred by essential oils since theyre just looking for a good place to lay down.

Essential Oils To Keep Cats Off Counter:

Natural oils are derived from the plants that smell pleasant for humans but not for cats. As cats are known for their curiosity it becomes quite difficult to keep them away from tight spaces. Natural plant oils act like a cat counter deterrent. Here are some natural oils that can keep your cats from roaming around your counters.

Citronella Essential Oil-

Citronella oil is made from the leaves of the lemongrass plant which has a strong citrus aroma. As we know cats have a strong sense of smell, they hate strong scents and will avoid going to those areas. The oil can also be used to repel insects as it has no toxic properties. You have to make a solution of 20 drops of citronella oil with 200 ml of water and pour it in a spray bottle. Apply the spray on the surfaces or directly on the counters, you can also spray it in your gardens to protect your plants. In addition to this, you can also use citronella scented candles to keep your cat away for a longer period.

Citrus Essential Oils-

Eucalyptus Essential Oil-

The oil is derived from the eucalyptus tree which as a strong menthol-like scent and cats hate highly flavored scents. For this, you need to soak a cotton ball in eucalyptus oil and place it on the areas you want a cat to stay away from. You can also rub cloths sprinkled in the oil on the surfaces to coat it from oil. Eucalyptus oil can also prevent the cat from roaming around the plants for this you can tie a cloth dipped in this oil around the plants.

#2 Aluminum Foil Pans With Water

Cats jumping on a pan of water? Unless its a water-loving feline, this is a pretty good way to let your cat know that they should not be on counters. Some people might use plastic or metal pans. However, these may hurt the cat if the pan falls over. If the cat is old or not very quick to move, this is also not recommended as they may hurt themselves.

How To Stop Counter Jumping

You can employ a few training techniques to encourage your cat to stay off the countertop. These have proven to be successful, but you must maintain consistency if you want your cat to get off and stay off the kitchen countertops.

Try the method that works best for your situation and/or that your cat responds to most positively.

Keep Away Uneaten Food

Cats have a sense of smell that is fourteen times stronger than ours.

They can tell right away when youve left food on the counter, especially if youve left any kind of meat on the counter to cool down.

Be cautious and put away any leftovers immediately.

If youve left something to cool, in the meantime, you can use other deterrents to prevent your cat from searching for food scraps.

How To Keep Your Cat Off Of The Kitchen Counter

Who isnt struggling to keep their cats off of the kitchen counter? Cats seem magnetically drawn to the very place where we least want them to be.

Actually, there is a reason they are drawn to the kitchen counter, and heres why. A cat will always seek to be on the highest surface in the room that they can easily get to. This instinct serves them well in nature; cats climb to the highest available perch so that they are safe and able to survey their surroundings for danger.

Lets think about how that plays out in your kitchen. Is the kitchen counter the highest place in the room that they can get to easily? Go into your kitchen and look around..Go ahead, Ill wait.Yep. I thought so. 

So, how do you keep cats off of the kitchen counter? You may have been told to spray cats with water or even to use motion activated halloween ghoul to scare them away. Or how about using aluminum foil or sticky tape because cats dislike walking on those surfaces? These tactics usually dont work.  And, to make matters worse, punishment-based techniques make cats scared, anxious, and stressed, which can cause other behaviour problems.

With Mother Natures strong drive, is it possible to keep your cat off of the kitchen counter?


Find a climbing and perching solution for your kitchen that is easy for your cat to use and higher than the kitchen counter, giving them a great view of the room.  This can be a cat tree, bookshelves or even a beautiful climbing wall.

Step 6: Provide Alternatives

Provide an alternate spot where you want your cat to be.

  • When you’re not actively preparing food, let the cat in the kitchen and set up a cat tree right next to the counter advises Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist Katenna Jones. “Leave random snacks on the cat tree for the cat to find and reward the cat with a food treat, brushing, or play with a toy whenever you see him jump on it on his own.”
  • Jones also advises setting up a motion sensor on the tree that can alert you to when the cat jumps on it and you are not there to observe, or use a “”or camera/treat dispenser device if you have room to fit it safely on the cat tree. This way you can reward them more often and more immediately for doing what you want.
  • If you don’t have the room for a full cat tree, another option is to install a shelf or a perch by a window or any other area they are using the counter to get to.
  • You can also set up a chair or a stepping stool for your cat to lay on in the kitchen so they can be with you while you’re there in an acceptable resting space.

Ways To Keep Cats Off Of Counters

Keep the counter space clear of alluring objects. This means placing food in cabinets and re-homing bag clips and other toy-like objects.

Add a tall cat condo or tree to satisfy the cats need for height. If possible, place it by a favorite window so kitty has easy, legal access to the spot. Or create a new favorite perch by placing a bird feeder outside a window.

Repair leaky faucets, eliminating the draw of running water available by counter access. Perhaps offer the cat a water fountain that provides fresh, moving refreshment on the floor.

If a chair is helping kitty jump, remove it.

Increase playtime with a cat whos easily bored. Sometimes counter cruising behavior is a cry for attention, and extra engagement with kitty can satisfy that need and burn extra energy.

Cats dont like sticky surfaces. Add double-sided tape to one side of cheap, plastic placemats and line the counter space with them. If the cat jumps onto the counter, the discomfort will likely cause her to retreat.

Reward positive behavior. If kitty jumps onto the cat tree instead of the counter, praise her with extra pets and attention or an occasional treat. Animals repeat what benefits them.

Step 2: Provide Alternatives To The Temptation

How To Keep Your Cat Off Counters in 2020

Once you have a good idea of what is causing your cat to use your counter space, the next step on how to keep your cat off counters is to provide alternatives to that rewarding counter spot. With the right alternative, you will be able to keep that pleasure factor for your cat without increasing your stress factor. According to Jackson Galaxy, author and cat savant, For every no, make sure there is a yes’. Providing your cat with alternatives to the counter will get you one step closer to keeping them off the counter for good.

Here are some alternatives to the counter:

1. Perches

If your cat is attracted to sunlight, try giving them a perch near a different window. You can even set something up near the counter in order for them to still feel involved, while at the same time keeping them nicely out of your way. If you are not able to set up a perch near the window, or if your cat is still utilizing the counter, try closing the blinds and eliminating that reward.

2. Cat Trees

If it is a height factor causing your cat to jump up on the counter, make sure they have another tall, flat space to sit and keep an eye on things. If you find that you dont have one, invest in a cat tree and try and situate it somewhere conveniently close to most of the action. Cat trees are available in all shapes and sizes and as a bonus, they often double as a scratching post.

3. Food Bowl

4. Water Dish

Can Shaking/compressed Air Can

Another well-known technique, it involves an empty soda can with some coins in it, or even a compressed air can. It relies on making a loud and disturbing noise to disrupt the cats activity.

It has most of the problems associated with water squirting: You, the can shaker, can be seen as the source of the negative reinforcement. It creates a big problem with continuity, and of course, it can bring about a strong stress response in many cats.

In both of these instances, you could end up with a stressed cat and a multitude of behavioral problems.

Make The Counter Less Attractive

If your cat is looking around the kitchen counter for snacks, make sure to clean the counter thoroughly and dont let the food sit idle.

If she likes to stare out of the window or take a nap in the sun, please close the blinds or draw down the curtains.

There are many simple ways to make the counter less attractive.

Try to place the bakeware on the edge of the counter so that when your cat jumps up, it will fall on them. The bed sheet will move and may fall, making noises, and the cat will learn to associate with the counter.

Countertops lined with tin foil, upside-down plastic carpet protectors or placemats covered with double-sided tape can also play a deterrent effect. After a few weeks, when the cat learns that the counter is no longer a comfortable lounge, you can remove these items.

ASPCA also recommends the use of environmental punishers, such as The Snappy Trainer or ScatMat. These devices can stop cats from jumping on the counter even when you are not at home, so your pet will not learn to just wait until you are away.

Safety And Sanitary Reasons Why Cats Should Not Jump On Kitchen Counters

As much as cat owners want their feline buddies to enjoy their playtime, the counter is not a safe place to explore. Cats may unknowingly come in contact with a hot stove top or a pot of boiling water once they jump on the counter. They may also come across dangerous chemicals such as bleach. Food is also sometimes left on the counter and these could potentially harm the cat. Remember that most human foods are not safe for cats, these could either have too much sodium or may have little bones that can cause choking or block their intestines.

Another reason is for sanitary and hygienic purposes. Cats may knock down or topple over everything on the counter which will eventually cause a mess that needs to be cleaned. Not only this takes time for the pet owner, but it is also unfortunate to have wasted pizza, broken mugs, or shattered condiments lying on the floor.

Also, since cats use their paws in their litter box, there could be tiny particles of urine and feces left behind. Although these are probably not very harmful to humans, contamination of the food is still something that should be avoided.

Step 1: Understand Why Your Cat Is On The Counter

It is essential to understand why they want to be on your counters and meeting that need in other ways that make you both happy.

  • Cats have a natural affinity for climbing and being up high. If you look at the counter from a cat’s eyes, it’s a nice space for them to jump on and spread out and enjoy the view. It’s also a place they may be lucky enough to find food.
  • Your cat may have been rewarded for being on the counter. You may want them off, but it’s possible other household members have been feeding into the behavior because they enjoy it.
  • If your cat is getting on the counter most often when you are in the kitchen, he most likely is jumping up because he enjoys being with you and wants to keep you company.
  • If you live in a household with more than one pet, your cat may be scared and getting onto the counter to feel safe. This is especially true if the source of the stress can’t follow the cat onto the counter, such as a dog or small child.
  • Bored cats will look for things to do to liven up their daily routines. Counters have lots of fun and interesting things to explore.
  • It may also be a sign your cat is sick. If the cat is getting up to get to water from the faucet or sink, it’s possible your cat is experiencing an unhealthy level of thirst. If this is a new behavior, a trip to the veterinarian is recommended to make sure your cat isn’t suffering from diabetes or malfunctioning kidneys.

Tips For Training Your Cat To Stay Off The Kitchen Counter

The basic approach to use when you are training your cat for anything is to make that which you want her to do as attractive as possible and that which you don’t want her to do as unattractive as possible. Simply trying to keep your cat off the counters isn’t as likely to work as keeping her off the counter AND giving her a better alternative.

First, you’ll need to think about ways to satisfy your cat’s desire to be high up, see what’s going on outside, and spend time hanging out with you while you’re working in the kitchen. It’s likely that there is quite a lot of “high up” space in your home that you aren’t utilizing because, well, you mostly stay on the ground. Here are some ideas for using that space to satisfy your cat’s desire for height:

Giving your cat these special, tall hangouts where she can see outside will almost certainly make her happy. However, if she ignores your new kitty spots, try to make them even more appealing. Sprinkle them with catnip or spray them with honeysuckle. Place your cat’s favorite toys on them, or position a bird feeder outside of the window in front of one.

Note: if your cat suddenly begins jumping on countertops in search of food and ravenously attacks any that she finds, she may have a medical problem. Consult with your veterinarian immediately.

Make The Kitchen Counter A Boring Place For The Cat Make It Less Enticing

The curiosity of a cat is often compared to that of a child. If an adult is doing something, they would want to be there too. They might even offer to help or take part in what you are doing. This could also be one of the reasons why your cat is always on the counter whenever youre in the kitchen. To avoid this, make the counter a less enticing place with the steps below

Method 2: Use Aluminum Foil

Most cats dislike the feel of aluminum underneath their paws. They likewise find the crinkly noise uncomfortably loud!

Take several strips of aluminum and stick them onto the surface of your countertops. You can also use cookie sheets if you dont have foil available. For best results, cover most of the countertop’s surface.

Once your cat realizes the aluminum is there to stay, he may stop counter hopping!

The aluminum foil method, while effective, might disrupt the way you use your counter space for a couple of days. It may also be quite wasteful!

If this method doesn’t work on your cat for the first week, it’s best to search for another technique.

Remove Other Attractions Off The Counter

How to keep your cat off the counter ... and teach them to ...

In addition to keeping the countertop food free, it’s a good idea to try your best 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.

Observe your cat and if she seems particularly attracted to something on your counter, try to remove it or make it less appealing.


Keep Your Counters Clean And Clear

It might seem like a no-brainer but if there’s anything on your counter that’s interesting to your cat, there’s a good chance they’ll want to jump up there. “Keep food, dirty dishes, cat treats, toys, plants, flowers, and other enticing items off the counters,” Garber says. “Also avoid storing your cat’s food and treats in above-counter cabinets.”

Clear Spaces In Bookshelves Windowsills Etc

As the kitchen counter is a high area, your cat is naturally attracted to it.

One way to stop it from entering your kitchen is to provide other high areas to explore.

Make space for your cat in other spots. For example, you can empty out a spot in your bookshelf or clear a window sill.

Keep curtains open so that your cat can enjoy the outside view from somewhere other than your kitchen.

How To Keep Your Cat Off The Counter

Experts explain the behavioral training that will finally put a stop to this bad habit.

Ask any cat owner and they’ll probably say the same: Cats love jumping onto counters. “Being up high is a natural behavior that allows cats to survey their territory and helps them feel safe from potential threats,” says certified feline training and behavior specialist Paula Garber. “They might also jump onto counters to access food or other interesting items, to look out a window, to get attention from humans, or to avoid another cat or a dog, or a young child.”While having your cat on the counter might be okay in some cases, there are certain instanceslike when you’re cookingwhere it could be downright dangerous. “Having your cat on the counter could lead to physical injury through contact with knives and other sharp kitchen utensils; burns and fires through access to the stove and control knobs; and poisoning by getting into foods, plants, flowers, cleaners, and other toxic substances,” Garber explains. “And it is well known that cats like to knock items off of counters, and if those items are glass or similarly breakable into sharp pieces, they can pose a risk to humans and other animals in the home.”

Ready to hear how to stop your beloved feline friend from getting too comfy on their countertop perch? Here are a handful of things Garber says you can do to keep your cat off your countertops for good.

How To Stop Cats From Jumping On Kitchen Counters

Curiosity is ingrained in all creatures but especially in cats. These felines investigate anything that they can get their eyes on. At home, cats love exploring space so much that they will have no problem jumping over counters something that poses a safety and sanitary problem for cat owners.

The good news is that there are several ways to discourage cats from doing this. For instance, there is a remote correction, motion detectors, alternative distractions, and making the counters less enticing for your cat.

Table of Contents

  • Further Reading on Cat Training
  • Why Do Cats Like To Climb

    Cats climb for several reasons. They seek out high vantage points, like countertops and shelves, to survey their territory. They can leap onto bookshelves or scale curtains to escape from another household pet or from something that scares them. Tables and the top of the refrigerator often provide warm, sunny places to snooze. Cats can learn to patrol or surf countertops, stovetops and tables in search of tasty tidbits left behind.

    Step 3: Gently Discourage And/or Un

    Despite the steps you take to provide alternatives to your countertops, a good number of cats will continue to lounge where you dont want them. Make sure you keep those alternatives readily available and look to start discouraging your cat from jumping up onto counters. A number of preferred, non-harmful methods for how to keep cats off counters are:

    1. Repellant

    The main benefit of repellants is that they are consistent. This is key when considering how to keep cats off counters. The gentlest, yet most effective type of repellent is a motion-activated one that releases a puff of air when triggered. They are non-toxic, easy to obtain and you can position them right by the counter to discourage your cat from sitting or jumping onto the counter.

    2. Double-Sided Tape

    Cats do not like sticky surfaces which is why double-sided sticky tape is another safe, yet effective method for discouraging your cat from sitting on the counter. You can purchase a thicker, double-sided tape for cats at most local pet stores. Simply cover the surface area your cat tends to use and let the stickiness take it from there.

    3. Aluminum Foil or Sandpaper

    Much like their dislike for sticky surfaces, cats have an equal dislike for rough surfaces and unpredictable noise . Like the tape, cover the surface area your cat tends to use on the counter and let these things take it from there.

    4. Strong-Scented Oils

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