5 Tips To Keep Your Cat Off The Counter

Counter CatCats are naturally curious, agile jumpers, and many love to be the center of attention. This leads to some less than ideal situations when it comes to the counter and other undesirable surfaces for a cat to walk on. Some cats are naturally timid and don’t explore areas that they shouldn’t be in, but for majority of cat owners, jumping up is a common problem. If you have some spots that you don’t want your cat exploring, we’ve got the definitive guide to keeping kitties away right here.

1. The stick trick: We here at Green Gato are huge fans of the stick trick. The stick trick only requires a few very simple steps to set up and can save you from countertop troubles. All you need is a roll of tape; single or double sided. You’ll take a piece of tape, about 6 inches long, and tape the ends to each other, forming an outer loop of stickiness. This loop is a non-invasive way to deter your cat from jumping on or walking over undesirable surfaces. Cats hate anything that feels icky on their paws, and that includes the feeling of something sticking to them.

Depending on the size of the surface, you’ll want to make as many loops as needed to catch your cat in the areas that they tend to jump to. If you don’t want sticky tape all over your counter, you can simply purchase a cheap placemat and put the sticky loops all over the placemats, allowing you to easily remove the sticky mats when you’re around to discourage the cat from jumping up yourself. The stick trick is aimed at teaching your cat what areas are acceptable for them to hang out in and what areas are “no-no zones.”

After some time of exploring, your cat will naturally stray away from the zones that you’ve added the stick trick to. It shouldn’t take long for your cat to learn where they can and cannot jump with this trick in tact. Once your cat has lost interest in trotting along undesirable surfaces, you can lay off on the sticky loops. Your cat will likely remember the unfavorable sensation and not even try to get back up. However, after a few months, your cat may have forgotten what spots they aren’t supposed to be on and may try to get back on the counter. In this case, just reinstate the stick trick to re-teach them where the “no-no zones” are.

2. Other tricks: Although the stick trick is our option of favor, there are other ways to get your cat off the counter and other undesirable surfaces. If your problematic surface is a couch or chair, you probably won’t want to leave sticky tape all over it during the day. In this instance, you may want to try purchasing furniture spray. These types of products are sold at almost every pet store, and contain chemicals that are unsavory to the sensitive kitty nose. They will likely be undetectable to the human nose and without color, so you won’t have to worry about it staining your couch or smelling bad to you.

Another gadget that you can try is an electronic deterrent. These motion-sensitive tools will be either battery-powered or need to be plugged in. These types of deterrents usually come in two parts; the electronic base, and the aerosol can for spraying. If you haven’t noticed, cats absolutely hate being sprayed with anything and run for the hills whenever an aerosol can comes out. These electronic deterrents should be placed near where your cat shouldn’t be lurking, and turned in the direction that your cat typically comes from. The motion sensor will activate the spray when your cat comes up, successfully scaring your cat and reminding them that they are in a no-no zone. These usually just spray air, so they are non-intrusive and will work while you’re away.

Cat Sitting On Coffee Shop Wooden Chair3. Give them a yes zone: To successfully get your cat off the counter, you must understand why they’ve jumped up there in the first place. It is likely that your cat is interested in your counters because there is just so much going on up there. The view from down on ground level is much less interesting than that of a high countertop or on the table. As a pet owner, you’ll have to supply areas that your cat can enjoy instead of your counters.

There are a few solutions to getting your cat a yes zone. Keep in mind that your cat is jumping up to be a part of the action, so you’ll need to place the yes zone in a spot where they can get a great view of what’s happening. You can try:
A cat tree: A cat tree offers multiple benefits for your cat. It invites them to climb and jump, and depending on how tall the tree is, can give your cat a good view of what’s happening in the room. Most cat trees also incorporate a scratching area; by either having a scratchable post as the center or on the bottom surface of one of the platforms. Another great aspect that a cat tree often provides is a solitary and safe hiding space that your cat can relax in.
A window sling: A window sling may be the best option for the kitchen, bathroom, or any other room with undesirable surfaces and a window. Window slings attach to any window, usually with suction cups for support. These are cat-only zones that support your cat for when they want to spy on you from a high spot, or if they want to take a nice nap. You’ll need to make sure that with the window sling, you put it in a place that your cat can access without too much difficulty.
A designated piece of furniture: This could be a chair, a stool, or any other piece of furniture that you feel comfortable with your cat getting comfortable on. If you teach your cat that they are not allowed on the table, but they are allowed in one of the chairs, they will likely accept this reality and choose the chair over nothing at all.

4. Damage control: Regardless of how hard you’re trying to keep your cat off the counter, accidents will always happen. If you have a cat that’s known to jump up on the counter, you’ll want to remember to always do two things.
Keep the counter clear. Although it may seem silly to cater to your cat’s going-ons, it is better to be safe than sorry. Don’t leave delicate or dangerous things in areas that your cat likes to jump up to. If you leave your family heirloom dishes on the corner of your counter, you are simply asking for a disaster to strike.
Keep the counter clean. Although cats are notoriously clean animals, this doesn’t mean that their paws should be all over your space. Cats can go straight from their litter box to your counter, spreading who knows how many germs directly to your food preparation area. Be sure to sanitize and disinfect your surfaces regularly.
Keep the area covered: If you are having trouble with furniture or another delicate area, you may want to keep the areas covered while you’re away. You can purchase a full furniture cover, or just choose a blanket for your cat to enjoy. This way, all their hair will just collect on the blanket rather than the surface, and you can just remove the blanket to clean up.

5. Commit to the change: In order to keep your cat off the counter, you’ll need to incorporate two tactics: communication and consistency. Make sure that all members of your household are clear on what areas are no-no zones, and what areas are yes zones. It should be a group effort to change your cat’s behavior. Even if just one family member allows the cat on the table from time to time, they won’t break the habit. This requires communication. When removing your cat from the counter, it should be combined with a strong “no!” Cats don’t respond well to negative reinforcement, so anything further than this will just scare your cat. They won’t learn to associate the fear with the counter; rather they will likely begin to associate the fear with you.

You’ll need to commit to changing your cat’s behavior, and this takes consistency. Again, even allowing your cat to explore a no-no zone just once with you in the room could mess up everything that you’ve been trying to avoid. Remember to reward your cat for being in yes zones with treats and affection. Each time that your cat goes to their new designated spot, be it a chair, window sling, or cat tree, make sure to give them a treat. This way, they will begin to establish on their own which spots are cat-friendly and which are to be avoided at all costs.

Cats dance to the beat of their own drum, and don’t do things if they aren’t personally beneficial. Just keep this in mind when attempting to keep your cat off the counter and other surfaces. Remember that your cat would rather sit in an appropriate place and receive a treat than jump up somewhere that’s going to get them in trouble. Use rewards and avoidance tactics, and you’ll have a better behaved kitty in no time.