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Tips and Tricks on How to Keep Cats Off Counters

Cat on kitchen countertop

Does your feisty feline view your kitchen countertops as their perfect perch? Maybe they have an uncanny ability to sense when you’re about to prepare a tasty meal and jump up for a closer look. It’s best to keep your cat off the counters, so what can you do?

Does Your Cat Love to Jump on the Counter?

Cats love to jump, get closer to you, be up high, investigate, hunt for food, and find a cozy perch. These are a sampling of the many reasons cats love to jump on counters. Perhaps your pet wants to reach a higher point, like a kitchen window sill or the tops of the cabinets.

It could be that your kitty smells the delicious meal you’re cooking and desires a closer inspection. Sometimes, cats flee from another pet or curious toddler, and the countertops are the nearest escape point. However, no matter the reason for their countertop crush, you want your furry feline to stop jumping up there.

7 Easy Ways To Keep Cats Off Counters

Some people don’t mind their cats up on the counters. Some even go so far as to put their cat’s food bowl on the counter during meals so the family dog can’t swipe a bite.

But many pet parents don’t like the idea of their cat traipsing about where they prepare meals. But even if you don’t mind your cat claiming the counter as their playground, it’s not a safe place for your cats to be.

If your kitty knocks over a glass container, they can cut themselves. Countertops also are often close to stovetops and other hot surfaces that could pose risks to your curious pet. It’s also a health risk to you and others in the home if your pet contaminates your food in some way.

Therefore, keep your cat off the countertops with these easy tips.

1. Put Sticky Tape on the Counter

Sticky tape is a popular go-to when it comes to keeping cats off of things. You can use it as an aid to stop your cat from scratching the furniture or going somewhere you don’t want them to go.

Therefore, putting double-sided tape on your counters deters your cat from jumping on them. Cats don’t like the sticky feeling of the tape on their paws. You can try regular tape or use a double-sided cat training tape.

As soon as your pet’s feet touch the tape, they’ll think twice about jumping up. However, if your cat’s cunning, they might learn how to avoid the tape or jump over it. If this happens with your cat, move on to another method, and don’t get lax with training.

2. Line the Countertop Edge with Aluminum Foil

Cats aren’t fans of aluminum foil. They don’t like the way it feels or the crinkly sound it makes. Place a few sheets on your countertop or tape strips to the counter’s edges. Give it a few days to see if this method works on your cat.

3. Use Scents Your Cat Doesn’t Like

There are several scents that cats don’t like, including citrus, white vinegar, rosemary, peppermint, pine, and lavender. Spritz your counters with one of these scents or place an oil diffuser on the countertop to make the area less appealing. Another option is to purchase scent dispensers that emit a burst of scent whenever your cat gets within a few feet of the device.

During training mix up a solution of equal parts water and vinegar or a 1-to-3 ratio of essential oil to water. Anytime your cat jumps onto the counter, give a quick spray in their direction to send the message that they’ve reached a restricted zone.

4. Remove Temptations from the Counters

Part of the process of keeping cats off counters is to determine why they jump in the first place. For example, if your cat tends to leap onto the counters to find a snack, remove the temptations. Put food away as soon as you finish with it.

Also, consider if your cat needs assistance to reach the counter. If so, remove any chairs or stools from nearby that make it easy for your feline to make the leap.

If your cat only jumps on the counters during certain times, like when you’re cooking, provide a distraction to encourage your cat to stay away. For example, sync up your cat’s meal times with your cooking times.

Or give them something irresistible, like a treat mat holding their favorite snack. Place the mat on the floor away from the counters.

5. Give Your Cat Climbing Alternatives

Make sure your cat gets enough exercise and stimulation to limit their mischief-making tendencies. Use the classic tactic of redirection by providing your cat with a few climbing alternatives. If your cat is hopping onto your counters to satisfy their need to jump and climb, invest in a good-quality cat tree.

6. Try a Scat Mat

People often put scat mats in their gardens to deter outside cats and other critters from invading the flowerbed and digging up plants. They’re also useful to put around trees you prefer your cats not to climb.

Cats don’t like the prickly, spiky texture of the mat, but the mat doesn’t hurt their paws. For these reasons, a scat mat could be just the thing to help you create an undesirable texture on your counters.

Scat mats come in many different styles, including ones that dispense an unpleasant scent when your cat steps on them. There are also electronic ones that deliver a low shock. Therefore, read the mat’s description carefully to make sure you’re getting the kind you want. A simple scat mat shouldn’t have any bells and whistles or electric sensors.

7. Place a Few Cookie Sheets on the Counter

Another option is to balance a few cookie sheets on the counter so they make a scary noise when your cat jumps up on them. The loud noise stops your cat from jumping as they start to associate the sound with leaping onto the countertops.

8. Stay Consistent and Persistent with Training

Of course, it’s reasonable to assume you don’t want to live with scat mats, sticky tape, or foil on your countertops all the time. These things should serve as a training tool for teaching your cat that jumping on the countertops is an undesirable behavior. (Yes, despite what die-hard dog lovers tell you, it’s possible to train a cat.)

But training only works when it’s consistent and persistent. If you let your cat get on the counters sometimes and tell them no other times, you send mixed messages. Start as early as possible to teach your cat that the countertops are a restricted zone.

Be persistent and patient throughout the process so your cat understands what you expect from them. When they respond favorably, reward them with tasty kitty treats and praise. Once they understand the countertops are off-limits, you can remove the deterrents.

Man holding cat in the kitchen

Make Countertops a Place Your Cat Doesn’t Want to Be

To keep your cat off the counters, train them to do so as soon as possible and stay consistent. Deterrents include sticky tape, aluminum foil, and various scents cats find undesirable, like peppermint, rosemary, vinegar, and lavender.

Your cat may love leaping onto the countertop to get up high, or maybe it’s they’re way of telling you they’re hungry. Understanding your cat and their reasons for getting on the counters can help you choose the most appropriate and effective method.

Check out the rest of the Neater Pets blog for more helpful tips on living life with your cat.


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