The kitchen counter, where we keep food, sharp items, store electrical gadgets, and prepare meals on a hot burner, is one of the most dangerous areas in our house.
Our cats have an innate climbing sense and are naturally drawn to high locations. Cats prefer to watch, rest, and sleep from elevated vantage points because they feel more secure and safe doing so.
Like dogs, cats are opportunistic and curious feeders. When food or crumbs are left in plain sight, cats who are strongly motivated by food will find the counter to be very alluring and find it impossible to resist.
From our feline’s perspective, leaping or climbing things that are deemed off-limits to us is a natural behaviour, despite the fact that it may drive us mad and be unclean.
If you decide your cat isn’t allowed on benches or tables, the counter must become a surface your moggie doesn’t want to explore.
5 Ways To Keep Cats Off Counters
Follow these guidelines to prevent and manage counter jumping behaviour with the use of training and alternative solutions.
1. Goal In The Kitchen
Cats enjoy being close to humans. They are at the same level as their human when seated at the kitchen counter. Instead, provide your feline friend with a high viewing platform close by, such as a cat tower or the top of the refrigerator, which cats have designated as their “favourite kitchenette place.”
Given that cats love to watch birds, counter cruising is also common in homes with windows close to work surfaces. Put a perch on the kitchen window or let your cat to jump on and off the refrigerator to perch on top of the pantry cabinets. Cover the glass with a blind or window film if your cat is climbing up on the worktop to get to the window.
2. Food Should Not Be Visible
Cats are generalist, resourceful eaters who are drawn to food in unusual places, whether or not it is provided by humans. In the hopes of obtaining a treat, they will hunt for kitchen counter leftovers, eat from bowls, steal food from bins, and lounge in warm places near the stove.
Being an obligate carnivore, feed your cat a species-appropriate diet in tiny, regular portions away from counters. Don’t leave meat or other food on counter tops when you aren’t home, however.
Set up puzzle feeders and eating areas all over the house. To prevent foraging, keep food in the refrigerator and cabinets.
3. Training for Counter-Surfing
Using clicker training to change your cat’s behaviour is the most effective technique to stop counter-surfing. To stop counter surfing, there are three main coaching procedures to follow:
Train the behavior of “go to mat” or “sit on a stool” away from the area where meals are prepared. The mat or stool turns into a gratifying alternative to leaping onto kitchen counters as well as a place to sit on a higher stool.
Slowly and with few interruptions, simulate a real-world situation.
As many repetitions of the behavior in a real-world setting should be given as possible.
4. Create A Stimulating Environment
By providing an exploring habitat, you may give your cat the proper vertical options for climbing, scratching, and resting. Cat furniture and trees are very popular, but they can be pricey.
Utilize shelves, cabinets, desks, dressers, chairs, and closets to create lofty resting spaces indoors. To tempt your cat, put a cosy bed or blanket there and regularly scatter goodies or catnip there.
For one or more cats, a window shelf or window-mounted bed will offer unending entertainment and a place to relax.
Construct a cat enclosure outside. Set up tree branches, cat-safe plants, water, catgrass, shelves, a homemade cat tree, and a hammock so that your cat may perch there safely away from danger.
Set up plenty of lofty sleeping areas to spread out the territory in multi-cat houses so the cats won’t feel competitive for resources and won’t use the counter.
Your cat will be more likely to avoid the ground and aim high if it has to share a room with your cherished dog. Place cuddlers and observation posts atop bookcases.
Resting spaces that are elevated might be anything from a few inches off the ground to the ceiling. For cats with arthritis or who are blind, a floor cushion, cardboard castle, or a tiny cat tree are also suitable heights.
Deter your cat from climbing areas that you want to keep off-limits. Possible deterrents include:
- Double-sided tape: cats dislike walking on gluey surfaces.
- Aluminium trays filled with a bit of water: some cats have an aversion to water whilst others don’t mind stepping in wet areas.
- Carpet runners or mats with spiky nubs face-up: cats don’t like walking on prickly surfaces.
- Partly cover baking sheets or long pieces of cardboard along the edge of the counter where the cat jumps to make the surface unstable. You can add empty tin cans on the side to make noise when it falls off the countertop.
- PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Deterrent detects pet movement and releases a burst of unscented mist within a radius of 1 meter. Sprays work fast, so they are not recommended to be used around skittish or nervous cats. A nervous cat may become frightened and averse to specific rooms or scared to manoeuvre around the remainder of the house.
Read More: Best Invisible Fences For Cats Reviewed
Do NOT use a squirt water gun, since it only teaches your feline to run away when you pick up the sprayer and return once you’re gone.
Additionally, some cats don’t mind the spray and it does not work as a deterrent. Once your cat is consistently using the allocated skyscraper or stationary position, remove the deterrent!
It is important to grasp that cats love climbing and perching on high surfaces. They don’t just misbehave, they express instinctive behavior. They are not as cognitively advanced as humans, thinking in terms of right or wrong or acting out of spite.
Although they may seem annoying, they behave in a very coherent manner relative to their environment.
Reward your cat for what you wish him or her to try and do, not what you don’t want them to do. If all attempts fail, contact a countertop jumping detective – better referred to as a cat behaviorists.