From a young age, humans are taught to wash their hands after using the restroom, especially before meal prep. Cats on the other paw are more likely to jump directly from the litter box to your kitchen counters without giving a second thought to how unsanitary it is.
Controlling your cat’s counter impulses may take some work, but these jumping off points will help keep them from making the leap.
Startle and Surprise
Loud noises offer an immediate course-correct for counter bound cats. Simple DIY methods to keep cats grounded include:
- Aluminum can with pennies or pebbles. Which you can shake as they prepare to jump.
- Foil on top of counters. Which will crinkle underfoot.
- Cookie sheets placed near the edge. Which are likely to crash once they leap up.
Cat owners can also purchase commercial deterrents that use motion detectors. Ssscat spray is a popular option that sounds off an alarm when it senses movement.
Both will condition a cat to expect a scare when they play on the counters, deterring them over time.
Distraction and Positive Reinforcement
Don’t have the heart to turn fluffy into a scaredy cat? Though they may be harder to enforce if you’re not home all the time, there are more pleasant ways to train cats from jumping onto your countertops.
The moment you see your cat head for the counter, try offering a fun distraction. You can toss out a piece of kitty kibble or throw their favorite toy into another room.
You can also clicker train your cat to come when called. Keep high-quality cat treats with you until they associate the sound with the reward. You can also use a word like ‘off’ and make the click, so they eventually respond to the command alone.
Scents and Sensations
If you fear the smell of that tuna salad you had for dinner is simply too tempting, try spraying down your countertops with a nontoxic solution. Peppermint sprays and homemade tinctures with citrus, herbs, and essential oils like eucalyptus and lavender will leave your kitchen smelling fresh and should discourage Fluffy from hopping up to investigate what was on the menu.
You can also make your countertops physically unpleasant to walk on by lining them with sandpaper or sticky tape. Cats won’t like the feel of it on their paws.
Another easy way to keep cats off counters is to make other spaces more appealing.
- If your cat enjoys bird watching from the kitchen window, shut the blinds and open them in a different room in the house.
- Should you notice kitty drinking from the kitchen sink, trickle the water in the bathtub to give them a fresh water fix.
- Think they simply like being up high? Purchase a cat tree for them to explore on.
You know cats and curiosity. Whether it’s the tantalizing smell, view from above, or proximity to you, some cats can’t seem to resist the call of the kitchen counter. Employ a few of these tried and true tactics to keep your counters cat-free.