In this article, we’ll explain why cats like spending time on kitchen counters and recommend some of the ways to keep them away.
In a nutshell, the best techniques to prevent cats from hopping onto counters are:
- Using repellents
- Distracting cats by giving them treats or playing with them
- Investing in interactive toys that keep them engaged
- Providing alternatives like cat condos and climbing poles
How To Keep Your Cat Off Your Countertops
A cat’s love for elevated places is undeniable. But when it comes to the kitchen countertops, climbing onto these surfaces can get them into a lot of trouble. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to keep them off.
Compared to yelling at your cat multiple times or splashing water on them, using a repellent is an easier and more effective solution.
Based on the ingredients you use, repellents offer two key benefits. For one, it’s a consistent approach. Whenever your cat climbs onto the counter, they’ll encounter the repellent and be forced to run off. With consistency, your feline buddy will quickly learn that the counter is a no-go zone.
The second benefit that this technique offers is that it works independently. In other words, you don’t need to be around to monitor whether your kitty gets on the counter or not.
That said, take note that cat repellents work differently. Here’s a list of some of the most effective products:
PetSafe SSSCAT Pet Deterrent
Designed to keep cats and similar pets away, the PetSafe SSSCAT is a highly-effective spray repellent. It’s powered using 4 AAA batteries, and works by sensing motion from your cat when they’re as close as three feet.
The good thing about this product is that it’s safe to use indoors. Place it on your kitchen countertop, next to furniture or trash cans, and it will effectively keep your cat away.
Furthermore, this deterrent is long-lasting and replaceable. A single can lasts for 80 to 100 sprays.
Double-sided Sticky Tape
If you’re hesitant to use repellents, an alternative is to apply a two-sided tape on your counter. You can lay the sticky tape in stripes or a criss-crossing pattern.
Once your cat hops onto the counter, they’ll realize that their paws are sticking onto the adhesive surface; and this will discourage them from climbing back up again.
While you can use the two-sided tape on other areas like coffee tables and mantels, it’s not advisable to use it on leather furniture. The reason for this is that it leaves residue behind, which can be quite difficult to remove.
Distract your Cat Whenever They Attempt to Jump on Counters
Some cat owners may view repellents as an extreme approach. If you’re looking for a more subtle technique to deter your cats, you can try distracting them.
Every time you notice that your pet is getting ready to climb to the counter, toss a toy, kibble or other item in the opposite direction. If this doesn’t work, pet or give them a treat. Gradually, they’ll learn that keeping off the counter earns them a reward since it’s good behavior.
Give Cats Alternatives
One of the reasons why your cat hops onto the counter is because it’s one of the highest points they can easily access. This means that if you give them alternatives, they’ll find your counter less appealing.
You can invest in vertical cat furniture like cat trees, cat condos and climbing poles. Next, place them in strategic locations like near windows. This way, they can satisfy their curiosity by looking at other animals or objects in the outdoors.
Don’t Encourage Your Cat to Jump on the Counter
Cats may jump on your counter if they detect there’s leftover food they can forage on. Other things that may attract them to this area include getting a good view, the running water, to seek your company and more.
Thus, the easiest method of keeping them away is to eliminate the things that draw them. After preparing food, clean the counter. Also, keep any leftover food in the fridge or cupboard. Spare time to play with them so they don’t start demanding your attention when you’re busy cooking.
Give Cats an Assortment of Toys to Keep them Occupied
Getting your cat a couple of toys gives them an avenue to expend their energy. These items also help to keep them mentally stimulated.
By the end of the day, they’ll be too tired to start hopping onto counters. The only problem with getting cat toys is that there are so many of them it might be difficult to find the perfect one for your feline. Consider these factors:
- Size: for kittens, look for simple toys – such as plush mice- that don’t pose any risk to their small bodies. However, if you have an adult cat, look for more advanced toys that provide interactive play. This will keep them entertained for hours.
- Dental health: if your cat likes nibbling on your sneakers or yoga mats, consider getting them chew-friendly toys. Not only will these distract them for destructive behavior like climbing on counters, but it also helps to clean their teeth.
- Claw aid: cats will “knead” because it feels good for them. It helps them keep their claws sharp. Consider finding a knead-friendly toy (and check out our guide on why cats knead)
What Are The Risks of Cats Jumping On Counters?
While some owners don’t have any issue with their cats lounging on their kitchen counters, this activity presents a number of hazards.
For one, your kitten could suffer serious injuries if they land on a hot stove or if they ingest foods that they’re not supposed to. Similarly, they could consume toxic chemicals if they consume cleaning products that you leave lying around.
Another is that your feline friends could unintentionally spread bacteria to your food. Even if cats are alleged to be cleaner than dogs, you can never be sure of the places they’ve been to. Perhaps they’ve walked directly from their litter boxes to your kitchen counter where you’re in the process of serving food or decide to lay down right where you’re about to set dinner.
That’s pretty gross.
And then last, cats could scratch up some countertops. That’s a mess annoying and expensive to fix.
Why Do Cats Jump on Kitchen Counters?
There are a couple of reasons why cats prefer your kitchen counter to their beds and play areas.
If you’ve lived with cats long enough, then you’re probably familiar with their inquisitive character. By hopping onto your counter, they can get a better view of what you’re doing from the counter as well as what’s going on in their surroundings.
A good viewpoint
Traditionally, cats have always liked elevated places. One of the reasons that explains this behavior is the fact that they equate height to safety.
To understand this concept, you need to realize that these furry animals are both predators and prey. As predators, they chase smaller animals like rabbits and birds. However, they’re also at risk of being preyed on by bigger predators like eagles and owls from the air or coyotes on the ground.
Climbing onto a higher place gives cats the perfect vantage point they need to spot potential predators and prey. In the case of your kitchen counter, this elevated surface serves more as a vantage point for spotting prey like rodents.
They smell good!
If you’re as passionate about the culinary world as I am, there’s a good chance that your kitchen counter is always loaded with great-smelling ingredients. As a result, your feline buddy may get tempted to join in the feast.
Access to running water
Cats tend to dislike drinking from his/her bowl is because it forces them to hunch over in an awkward position. Dr. Deb Greco, a veterinarian, explains that bending forces them to keep their backs turned to other animals that could pounce them.
To avoid this, they’ll prefer drinking running water to the one you pour into their bowls. Unfortunately, this also means they might be spending more time on your kitchen counter to try and take advantage of the sink.
If your cat likes spending time on your kitchen countertop, you should find ways to keep them away. This is because hopping onto these surfaces poses risks not only to your feline but also to you.
Examples of strategies you can use to keep them away include: using cat repellents, distracting them, and getting them interactive toys or climbing poles that provide ideal vantage points. You should also try and eliminate any item that lures them to these counters. These include food crumbs and access to running water.