How to Keep Your Cat Off Your Counters

Cats on the Counter

Does your cat spend a lot of time jumping up onto your worktops? This can make it difficult to keep them clean and tidy, and to prepare food on them. Not everyone will necessarily be bothered about their cat accessing their worktops but if it is hindering you, you’re probably searching for a solution to counteract it.

Many cat owners in this situation struggle to discourage your cat(s) from using your counters as their own personal playground. This is definitely something of a challenge but there are some tactics that you can use to break the habit.

Why Your Cat Climbs Onto Counters

Most cats enjoy being off the ground and will look to use worktops, shelves and other relatively high areas as a vantage point. This can become even more likely if your counters contain tempting scraps of food. It’s important not to discourage your cat from climbing in general – the key will be to refocus this behaviour onto areas of the home that are more acceptable with regards to this.

How to Break the Habit

Intervention techniques such as squirting water onto your cat when they jump onto the worktop will often be ineffective and doesn’t address the underlying reason(s) as to why your pet is so determined to spend time there. They can also encourage your cat to be scared of you, rather than having the intended effect.

Solutions can include making the counters less attractive to your cat and simultaneously offering alternative ‘high’ places for them to go to instead. An easy tactic is to cover placemats with double sided sticky tape or tin foil to discourage your cat from wanting to jump up onto the counters.

While you are deflecting their interest in your counters, make sure that there are cat trees, cat perches and other opportunities for your cat to climb and access vertical space elsewhere in the home. Using treats to build a positive association with these spaces can be very useful for encouraging your cat to gravitate towards them.

What Not to Do

Don’t punish your cat for jumping onto your counters. This will only serve to make your cat fear you as they are very unlikely to associate it with the act of being on one of the counters.

Have you had to discourage your cat(s) from hanging out on your worktops? What tactics do you use to successfully persuade them not to do this? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments section below!

[Photo Credit:  Lori L. Stalteri]