Tuesday, June 18, 2024

How To Train Cats To Stay Off Counters

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Tips To Keep Cats Off Of Counters

How to Train Kittens to Stay Off Kitchen Counters

Cats are often seen perched in places high up, such as counters, surveying the goings-on below. But why do cats love hanging out up there? And how can we keep them off our counters?

Speaking to Newsweek, Vicki Jo Harrison, the president of The International Cat Association , explained cats like countertops because they smell good and they help satisfy some of their natural instincts, like climbing and jumping.

“Cats climb trees and leap long distances to move through their territory, avoid danger, and find food,” Harrison said. So many domesticated cats attempt to maintain these instincts, even when living indoors.

But this desire to act on their instincts can often be a nightmare for many households, especially during mealtimes or when hosting dinners and other events where all the action may be taking place around the kitchen area.

Cat counter surfing presents a number of potential hazards, such as the risk of your cat landing on a hot stove or your cat spreading bacteria from their paws onto your food prep area, Harrison added.

It is important to figure out the reason for the behavior so you can provide a better alternative, and also not to punish cats to keep them off counters. Johnson-Bennett told Newsweek: “Punishment damages the relationship and can cause a cat to become fearful.”

Here we look at some ways to keep your cats off counters.

Why Do Cats Jump On The Counter

Kitchen counters attract cats like a magnet for several reasons. Once you identify the reason your cat likes the countertop so much, you can use this information to modify or redirect your cat’s behavior.

  • Cats love heights. Get any two cats together with a climbing tree or cat tower, and you’ll have a ready-made game of “King of the Hill.” Countertops are just high enough so that most cats can either jump up from the ground or get help from a well-positioned chair.
  • Kitchen counters smell good! They’re often loaded with tempting things to eat, such as raw chicken parts, ground beef, or yesterday’s tuna casserole that’s ready to be reheated for dinner. A carelessly cleaned countertop may also be home to crumbs and spills that a cat might enjoy nibbling on.
  • Cats like fresh running water. Some cats are also attracted to running water in the kitchen sink, and for many cats, this is their main source of drinking water. Although the kitchen sink is probably cleaner than the toilet, there are better alternatives for your kitty.

The Spruce / Charlotte Engelsen

Designate Certain Furniture As Cat

Maybe you dont want your cat jumping up and climbing on kitchen or bathroom counters. This can become unsanitary as well as unsightly when you have guests over.

But perhaps you have certain furniture items that are perfectly fine for your cat to jump up on, rest on and play on.

Taking the time to take inventory of your space will help you pick out places where the impact of allowing your cat to jump up or play is minimal. This can help redirect your cat away from counters.

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Why Your Cat Likes Jumping Onto Your Counters

There are many reasons why cats enjoy being on kitchen counters no matter how much of a hazard it may pose to them. For starters, there are cats that frequently hop on kitchen counters to get to a water source. Contrary to popular belief, not all cats are afraid of running water. They may do this to get a drink if theyre thirsty or to cool themselves off on hot summer days.

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Cats are attracted to the smell of kitchen counters as well, especially if this is where you prepare the food that they enjoy. Some cats may even be tempted to hop onto a countertop while youre working on butterflying a juicy chicken breast or slicing a fillet of tuna. Make sure that your cat is secured in another location to avoid accidents. Its also advisable to clean up well afterwards so your cat cant get to the crumbs or leftover.

Cats are also daredevils in feline form. They simply cant get enough of heights. This is the same principle that governs why scratch posts and towers are among the most popular accessories in any cat lovers home. To a lot of cats, the kitchen is their very own parkour course with plenty of chairs, tables, center islands, and of course, countertops to jump on.

Training Cats To Stay Off Countertops

How To Train Cats To Stay Off Counters

How to Train Your Cat to Stay Off the Countertop

Cats are often lured onto the countertops for a specific reason:

  • They like heights.
  • They’re drawn to fresh running water from the sink.
  • They’re just curious and haven’t been trained to know what’s off-limits.

Correcting unwanted behavior can usually be accomplished by providing the pet alternative means to their goal, paired with positive reinforcement training. Frustrated owners should be patient and keep in mind that it really is possible to train your cats to stay off tables and countertops.

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Distract Them Before They Pounce

If you sense your cat is on the move and about to jump onto the counter, lure them away from doing so with their favorite food or toy.

Harrison said owners can use a “hunting” toy that contains small amounts of kibble to cater to cats’ natural instincts for going in search of more food.

California’s Animal Behavior College warns “timing is critical” when it comes to using a distraction to keep your cat off a counter, as you could inadvertently reward your cat for climbing onto the counter.

“It can be tricky and it might take several months of treating good behavior, but your cat will eventually understand that it’s to her benefit to stay off the countertops,” the ABC said.

How Do I Stop My Cat From Jumping On The Counter

Cats are highly intelligent! Although they know a particular spot is prohibited, kitty may avoid it when youre nearby but will plant her paws on the surface as soon as you leave. To stop your cat from jumping on the counter, offer them suitable vertical choices or restrict access to the kitchen. Only use deterrents as a final resort.

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Why Does My Cat Jump Up On The Counter

Your cat is most likely jumping up on the counter for a number of reasons. These are:

  • They know that there is food on the counter or in the cupboard
  • They like the smell of your cooking and they want to eat it
  • They are trying to reach a high up place to sleep or relax
  • They may be trying to escape from another pet such as a dog or another feline

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How To Keep Cats Off Counters | Chewy

This is a consideration for multi-cat households. The ideal cat for clicker training is the most outgoing cat that is usually the CMM in the house. You know, the cat whose expertise is knocking glasses off tables! These cats are usually bursting with energy and desperately need an outlet to express their innate hunting behaviors. CMM Baggins was way more energetic than any cat Ive had in a long time and I could see that both he and his brother Ollie would benefit immensely from clicker training.

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Option : Because It Gets Her Your Attention

Yes, there are times when really and truly, the only thing your cat wants out of you is attention. If your cat jumps on counters and you have a hunch its for none of the reasons above it may just be an attention-seeking technique your cat has discovered will get her what she wants.

Solution: Leave out a chair that your cat can jump onto instead of the counters, and when she goes up on the chair, be sure to give her all the affection and attention you can afford.

Ways To Prevent Cats From Jumping On Counters

Posted by Argos, , last updated October 1st 2020.

Is your cat constantly jumping on your kitchen counter? Or are they sneakily jumping up on an evening or when you are not in the house? Sometimes you may not see your cat physically jumping up, but they may leave some evidence such as paw prints or fur!

Trying to prevent cats from jumping on counters and tables can be a difficult task. As naturally curious animals, cats will attempt to explore every bit of your home. Its important to firstly understand why letting your cat jump up on the counter can cause more harm than good.

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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.

How To Stop Counter Jumping

How to Train a Cat to Stay Off the Counters

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.

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Option : Because Theres A Nice Open Window Nearby

If your cat jumps onto the counter, then immediately proceeds to sit by an open window, sniffing and dozing off in the happy breeze, you know what your cat is after has absolutely nothing to do with the counter, and absolutely everything to do with the open window.

Solution: Open up another window youre happy to have your cat sit in front of. Need a spot for your cat to hang out because the ledge isnt comfy enough? Grab a cushy window seat for kitty. Your cats almost certain to choose the new window over the old one by the counters after that luxurious addition!

Are There Any Alternatives For Cats To Climb Or Jump

There are many alternatives you can provide your cat with to keep them off your counters. Make your cat happy by creating a special place. You can choose from a variety of cat furniture that provides endless entertainment.

  • Cat tree tower: A cat tree tower provides vertical space for your cat to climb up and down.
  • Cat tree with leaves: Like a simple cat tree tower, a cat tree with leaves provides the same vertical space with the added benefit of a natural feeling
  • Cat condo: Cat condos provide various platforms and perches for your cat to play on.
  • Cat wall: A cat wall is like a playground that you mount to the wall. It creates a complex environment, allowing your cat to jump and climb against the wall.
  • Window perch: Clear out the window sill and make it into a call oasis.

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If On Her Own Your Cat Goes To The Alternate Space Reward Him Or Her Immediately

With whatever your cat wanted to get out of jumping on counters: some food, some attention, some water, etc. continue to delve these desirables out whenever your cat appears in the right human-approved, cat dedicated spot.

Cat just wanted to be on the counter top because its a high vantage point? Feel free to spoil your cat a bit with treats, cuddles, catnip, or play to say thank you to her for behaving. You know what rewards your cat likes best use them to your advantage to keep that place in her mind as a happy one.

How To Train Cats To Stay Off Counters

How to Train a Cat : How to Keep Cats Off of Tabletops

It doesnt seem to matter whether you give your cat a comfortable bed or the most expensive toys, sooner or later, theyre going to find their way to your countertops. If youve ever owned an indoor cat, were sure youve been impressed at least once or twice by their seemingly superhuman leaping ability. To the annoyance of many pet owners, however, this has resulted in a lot of fragile things getting broken and a lot of mess being made. If youre currently experiencing this problem, here are a couple of tips to make your counters cat-free.

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Option : Because Its A Nice High Spot To Hang Out In

Cats absolutely adore jumping, and since they have the ability to jump quite high, they like to take advantage of this biological skill frequently in their day to day lives. Think about how many outdoor cats get themselves stuck up in trees and youll realize just how ingrained this behaviour is in them!

Even if you live in a large house with plenty of spots for kitty to spend time in, having some high locations that are human-approved for your cat to take advantage of is important. Of course, having some high spots for kitty to hang out in becomes even more important if you live tight quarters with your pet as vertical space can make even the smallest of apartments feel quite spacious to felines.

Whether this means grabbing a massive cat jungle gym if you have the space to spare, or a narrow, tall cat tree/a few smaller cat trees if youre tight on it, or whether it means simply re-arranging furniture youve already got so kitty can jump onto the back of the sofa, then onto a dresser, and finally onto the top of a bookshelf maximizing the vertical space in your house would really help out your kitty, and the lack thereof could be the only reason your cat is jumping up on kitchen counters.

Solution: Make sure there are plenty of high surfaces besides counters for your cat to jump up on. Need some helpful ideas for making this happen? Check out the section in this article on enhancing vertical space.

Reasons You Might Not Want Your Kitty On The Counter

Though it might seem like less trouble and fairly harmless just to allow your cat to be on the kitchen counter, there are important reasons to put a stop to the behavior, including:

  • You dont want fur in your food .
  • There may be dangerous things for your cat on or adjacent to the counter, such as poisonous foods, knives, and the hot stove.

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Don’t Leave Food Nearby

The most common reason why your cat may love counter surfing is the availability of food there, Johnson-Bennett said. Food aromas are extremely enticing for cats, whether that be leftovers from their owner’s dinner or their own food being prepared at the countertop. Be sure no food is left out uncovered and don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink or unwashed pans on the stove.

Todd told Newsweek: “Changing your own behaviour is hard, but it makes a difference. If your cat finds some chicken breast or tuna or other tasty food on the kitchen counter, they are going to keep going there in the hope of finding something nice to eat.”

If your cat appears to be perpetually hungry, simply feeding them more may help discourage them from frequenting countertops in search of food, says the Humane Society of Huron Valley, an animal shelter in Michigan.

Cats love routine, so feeding them several small meals throughout the day on a regular schedule not only helps to decrease their need for food but also keeps them glued to the floor, where they know their next meal will be served.

Offer Alternatives In High Places


A great way to prevent cats from jumping on counters and tables is to give them something else to climb. As natural climbers, cats crave vertical challenges and will be drawn to the high locations. A cat tower will satisfy their need to climb up high.

To make their own vertical space more appealing, place it near a window. As well as getting a good spot to snooze in the sun, your cat will be able to see outside. This will allow them to watch natural prey, such as birds, to entertain their natural curiosity and instincts.

If your cat likes to jump on the counter to get away from something or someone on the ground, a nice high cat tower will make them feel much more comfortable as well as giving them a full view of the room below.

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