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Cats and kitchen counters; here’s how to keep them off!

Has your cat developed a special bond with your kitchen counter? All you need to do is look away for one second and the cat is getting comfortable again? not a great situation if it’s something you want to avoid. Here are some tips for teaching your cat not to jump on the kitchen counter.

Why the kitchen counter?

The best question to ask yourself is: what is it about the counter that is so appealing to your cat – why does it enjoy being there? Usually the cat is looking to find something tasty, but it can also be to drink from the tap or because the view of the kitchen, garden or street is nice from there. Once you’ve answered this question, the next step is usually quite obvious, but the tips below might offer some additional help.

Tip 1: Make sure there is nothing tasty to find

Many cats will snoop around the counter looking for food. Make sure everything is stowed away and don’t leave any scraps laying around. Your cat won’t smell anything of interest which will reduce its desire to jump onto the counter.

Tip 2: Do not feed the cat around the counter

Have you ever given your cat a treat while cooking? No wonder this spot is now a source of excitement! Since you get the treats from the counter or refrigerator, your cat will definitely explore the area when you are not around. Who knows, they might get lucky and find a nice snack! Fill its bowl while your cat is outside, in another room or sleeping. It will find the food in the bowl without knowing where you got it from.

Tip 3: Do not use pans for feeding

It might be tempting to let your cat lick out a pan after dinner sometimes, but this is not recommended. Your cat will not understand that it is not allowed to eat from the same pan when it’s on the counter top. Makes sense, right? On top of that, giving your cat scraps of your own food isn’t recommended altogether; a lot of our food contains way too much salt, spices or even poisinous ingredients for your cat (e.g. garlic and onion).

Giving your cat scraps from your own plate or pan could also make it extremely picky or much more likely to beg for food, which is notoriously difficult behaviour to get rid of. In short, it is best to limit your cat’s diet to its very own delicious cat food!

Tip 4: Provide other interesting spots and challenges throughout the home

If your cat isn’t in it for the food, but just likes to look out the window from the counter top, try creating other elevated spots with a good view of whatever is outside. Reduce the appeal of your kitchen counter by providing your cat with enough excitement throughout the home.

Tip 5: Access to running water

Some cats can be very picky about their water in addition to their food. Has your cat been jumping on the counter to drink from a dripping or running tap? Your cat probably likes running water. It has not been researched why cats prefer running water, but a likely explanation is that they have learned to avoid stagnant water because of its higher bacteria content and often higher temperature. Plus, some cats just like to play with running water. If you don’t want your cat to jump onto the counter for a sip of water, it may help to refresh the water bowl with cool water regularly, move the water around the bowl every now and then, or get a water fountain. The running water may persuade the cat to use the fountain instead of the kitchen tap.

Tip 6: Make the counter unattractive

Tried all of the above but to no avail? Time to make your counter unattractive to your cat. A couple of tips that might help:

  • Place something on the counter that feels uncomfortable to walk on such as bubblewrap, rubber mats or tin foil (cover the entire counter top).
    Whether these materials will repel your cat remains to be seen; some cats actually enjoy playing with them.
  • Spread unattractive scents around your kitchen counter, such as bowls of lemon peel or toothpaste. Cats don’t like these scents and won’t feel the urge to jump on the counter.

Have you got more tips to get a cat off the counter? Let us know!

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