As cat owners, many of us have had a feline or two that loves to jump on counters. While we love them dearly, it is not one of the best things in terms of cleanliness – especially when we are talking about kitchen counters.
As we all know about kitties are that sometime they sometime leave a trail of litter box contents wherever they travel. Obviously, the last thing we want around our food preparation activities and area is to have stray litter lying about. The question is can we keep cats off counters?
Why Do Cats Like to Be on Counters?
There are actually several reasons why our kitties love to jump up on counters, especially the critical ones in our kitchen. Let us take a look at a few of them.
Many cats enjoying being on high perches. Whenever kitty is perched high, she feels safe. In addition to that, they enjoy looking at things from high places as well.
Countertops have access to windows. Kitties enjoy looking out of windows, observing the exciting things that are happening outside. So if you have countertops that give your cat access to new windows that they haven’t looked through before, that is probably the primary reason why they like jumping up there.
Cats are very curious. Most of our kitties do not like to be missing anything exciting. It is in their natural interests to be curious and want to know what is going on. Countertops are just another one of those things that raise their natural curiosity.
Great smells come from kitchen counters. Let’s face it, kitchens are well known for generating fantastic and enticing smells to everyone – including your cats. And if she happened to discover something delicious on the counter before, then she now has positive reinforcement jumping up there again.
We human devote much of our time working at the kitchen counters. Kitties love being with their humans, and the fact is we actually spend lots of time inside our kitchens and performing several tasks on our counters. Whenever your cat jumps up there to be with you as you work on dinner, it is simply because she loves you.
There is no doubt that these reasons make perfect sense for why kitty loves jumping on our counters, it is actually pretty critical for yours and their own safety to stay down.
Tips for Encouraging Your Kitty to Keep off the Counters
There is one main approach you should always take when trying to get your cat to change a habit or do anything for that matter. The key is making the thing you want them to start doing as appealing to them as possible. This means you have to give your kitty a better option than jumping up on counters.
This means you will need to deal with kitty’s desire to get up on high places, to observe what is happening outside, and to enjoy being with you. It is very that there are quite a few “high up” places inside your house that you are not presently using. Let us check out some ideas for finding and using these spaces for your cat:
Make your other windowsills more accessible. Check out your other windowsills and ensure that most of them are available for kitty. It is a good idea to place a stool or bench beside the window for easy viewing.
Place cat beds on buffet tables or the back of sofas. This will demonstrate to your cat that it is perfectly fine to spend time in these areas.
Buy a few cat trees. Get some large sturdy cat trees that have stable bases and lots of platforms that reach window level. These trees will also provide great places for your cat to perch, scratch, and sleep. Check out our articles about sturdy cat trees here.
Provide plenty of spots for all of your kitties. If you own more than one cat, you are going to need several high spots all of them. You certainly don’t want to have them fight over those cherished spots or one of them lacking access to them, these things will result in negative behaviors.
Your cat will be very happy when you give her these nice tall places to hangout. If she does happen to ignore these new spots you made, then try making them more appealing. You can always sprinkle catnip on them or even spray honeysuckle on them. Also, you can put your kitty’s favorite toys and blankets on them, or even setup bird feeders in front of the window that is nearest them.
In order to allow your kitty to spend time with you as you work in your kitchen, try putting something like a cat tree close by. If you lack the space for one, then use a chair instead. Put treats on that chair and let her know that it is hers to use.
You can also consider setting a new ritual for you and your cat before you start preparing your meal. Let this ritual be time where you share treats with her and let her know that is her time.
Deterrents for Keeping Your Cat off Counters
Once you have provided your cat with sufficient alternatives, you may also need to add deterrents to make hanging out on the countertops unattractive to her. Start with the least forceful methods and work your way up as needed.
Keep all of your counters clean. Always cover foods on the counter or better yet, just put it away altogether. Rinse off dirty dishes that are left in the sink to keep them clear of any food pieces so there are no enticements.
Loudly clap while saying “No.” Whenever your cat jumps up on the counter, give him a loud clap while saying “No” very sternly. Now you should pick him up and put him in another place more suitable, or you should give him praise after he jumps down from the counter.
Use cleaners that contain citrus. Cats do not like citrus odors at all, so if you use citrus-based cleaners on your counter to keep your cats off counters.
Try using double sided tape. You can also line the edges of your counters with double sided tape. This can irritate your cat as she jumps up there and hopefully teach her that it is not so fun being up there.
As you begin training your kitty to keep off the counters, it is very important for you to be very patient, understanding, and loving. Do not treat your cat with anger because she will never understand when you are angry and she will only build fear or resentment towards you.
Understand that you probably will not keep your cats off counters in only one day, but if you stay patient, be consistent, and demonstrate thoughtfulness in regards to you’re the needs and desires of your cat, then your desired result will lead to a cat that is happier and a counter that has no kitty fur.