Keeping Your Cat off Counters and Tables

Dec_2013_3Your height-loving cat may enjoy looking over her domain from up high, but doing so from a kitchen counter or table may expose her to a few hazards, like a hot stovetop. How do you keep her from cruising the counter or off table tops? After all, she loves to climb and might be rewarded with interesting food smells in the kitchen or water in the sink. You can break that habit by making the area less appealing and giving your cat other alternatives. Here’s how:

Make the area less appealing

  • Keep food sealed tight: The first step is to make sure all human food is put away and countertops are clean. Obvious, we know, but this keeps your cat from being rewarded during her countertop adventures.
  • Use deterrents: A product like Sticky Paws around the countertop will make it an uncomfortable walking surface for your cat. You can create a similar effect with car floor mats (spiky side up) or aluminum foil, which cats avoid because of the feel and sound. The key is to use a deterrent that will teach her to stay off the counter while you’re away. If you reprimand her, she’ll learn to behave while you’re at home, but will revert to her ways once you leave.

Give her other alternatives

  • Give her good climbing areas: Does she have a multi-level cat tree or tower that satisfies her need to climb? You may also want to designate other furniture pieces as allowed climbing areas, while keeping the kitchen counter off limits.
  • Provide a window ledge: If she doesn’t have a window seat allowing her to gaze outside, think about making one for her. There are cat shelves that attach to windows. An existing piece of furniture can be moved as well.

Change her food or water

  • Allow food access: Is she constantly searching the counters for food? Try leaving her food bowl available for constant access. Take care to monitor her weight and see if this will change her behavior. Also consider feeding her in a few small meals instead.
  • Provide running water: Some cats are attracted to drinking running water in the sink. If this seems to be the main attraction for your kitty, replace her water bowl with an automatic water fountain instead.

Follow these different techniques and reinforce them consistently to keep your cat from cruising the counters!