how to keep cats off counters

You wake up and find some cat hair on the kitchen counter. You think that it may be flyaways. While making lunch, you notice your cat jumping on the kitchen counter after doing their “business.” There are muddy paw prints all over the counters. After that day, you have never been the same!

You have been making sure the counter is always clean by buying different cleaning products. But do you think that’s the real solution? No, it’s not.

You have to train your cats and make them naturally stay off the counters. Otherwise, cleaning will take away all your time.

Why Do Cats Love Jumping on Counters?

You have been cleaning continuously but wait and think a minute: “why do cats keep jumping on counters?” Most cat owners complain about their feline friend: they keep messing up the counters and tables. It’s a big no-no in many cat households for health and sanitary reasons.

Let us answer why your cats do this.

  •  Cats have a natural hunting and climbing instinct. They like to be on the high ground, making looking for prey easier. Moreover, they climb trees to locate birds, but as your cat is an indoor one, they climb your counters.
  •  Cats love fresh water. Why are we mentioning this? You might have noticed your cat drinking water from your leaky kitchen faucet. It is another reason they are jumping up on counters.
  •  Your counters have crumbs and smell good. Your cat may get up on the counter to eat food scraps you somehow left behind. It could be the smell if you didn’t leave any crumbs behind. Cats have a good sense of smell and can smell food from a distance. So it’s better to keep the counters clean.
  •  A roadway to something very interesting. Cats are curious furballs who love to explore. Maybe your cat likes sitting on a windowsill accessible only from the counters.

How to Train Cats to Stay Off Counters

It is always easy to prevent a behavior than to try to modify it after. Don’t be discouraged! It is still possible to alter your cat’s behavior, so you don’t always have to micro-manage the counters.

Look at these five tips to train your cat to stay off the counters.

Tip #1

Get a food puzzle, or make one! Food puzzles are the way to go if your cat licks crumbs off the counters or tables. These are fun and active pet feeders which usually keep pets occupied for a long time. Your cats will take their time to get to the food, giving you some time off.

The best use of it will help your cat’s love for hunting be fulfilled so they won’t get on the counters. They will spend more time hunting for food in the food puzzle.

Tip #2

Remove any rewarding objects. Shut down the blinds if you find your cat basking in the sun on the counters. Let them know that is not the place to bask in their magnificent self. Move the bird feeder elsewhere if your cat is busy looking at the bird feeder from your counter.

Moreover, always clean up any crumbs or leftovers off the counters or tables.

Tip #3

Say “No.” This tip works better when it’s started early in your cat’s life. When your cat does something wrong, try saying “no” in an upsetting voice. Don’t yell at them; just let them know whatever they did is wrong. If you yell at your cats, they will be afraid of you instead of following your commands. Gradually, let them become familiar with the word “no.” It will help them learn to stop whatever they are doing when they say no.

Tip #4

Give rewards for their good behavior. Cats are not easy to train as dogs. Cats will roll their eyes at you, while dogs will lower their gaze if they do something wrong. Cats take pride in whatever they do. So, reward them with cat treats when they do something good. Even the most minor things are climbing up on the cat tree, sitting by your leg while you work in the kitchen, or waiting patiently on a chair and not getting on the counter. Give them a treat! Then they will know if they do these, you will reward them.

Tip #5

Have you heard of clicker training? It is a great way to train your cats from an early age. If you have seen cats performing different tricks online, you better know they were prepared using the clicker training method. It’s the most efficient training that works with cats.

Train your cat to jump off the counter when you say, “off .”When they jump off, click the clicker and reward them with a treat. Gradually, the clicker’s sound will make them realize they will get a cat treat if they get off the counter when humans say, “off .”The greed for a cat treat will eventually lead your cat to follow your command.

Remember, training takes time and patience. It will be harder to train your cat sometimes, but losing hope will lead you nowhere. Cats are by-born hard to train but not impossible! Keep on trying.

You can also look through our ten tricks to naturally get your cat off the counters.

Related Article: How To Tell If Cats Are Playing Or Fighting

How to Keep Cats Off Counters Naturally

Suppose you are busy and don’t have the time to train your cat, no worries. There are ways to help naturally keep your cat off the counters and tables. But like with everything, a behavior needs time to change; you won’t need to give much effort.

We have found four tricks that will work perfectly to naturally keep your cats off the counters.

Trick #1

It’s something that is lying around your house if you bake or have ever baked. Can you guess what? Aluminum foil or tin foil.

Crunch the aluminum foil so that it forms textures, wrap it around the counters’ edges, and even place it on counters. Even if your cat sticks their landing, they won’t be delighted walking on the foil.

Why? Because cats don’t like scratchy or uncomfortable surfaces to walk on or sit on.

Then, there’s the sound of aluminum foil which cats find very unpleasant.

Bonus Tip: Do this whenever you are not around to make the counters inaccessible to the cats.

Trick #2

You can always use sticky tapes if all goes in vain. Cats don’t like moist surfaces, and sticking sticky tapes is the best way to stop them from getting on the counters.

Use double-sided tape to stick on your counter. Your cat will hopefully never make the mistake of jumping on something sticky.

But you have to keep doing it for a long time to let your cat know it’s not a safe place to climb.

Trick #3

Make alternative options available. If your cat uses the counters as a pathway to something, find out what it leads to. If possible, remove that object and place it near another window. 

If your cat wants to bask in the sun at that very spot, you can build them a pathway to the window with a little hammock away from the counter. When your cats notice the path and the hammock are way more comfortable, they will eventually stop stepping all over the kitchen counters.

Trick #4

Clean your counters well to avoid leftover crumbs. Afterward, wipe the counter with peppermint, black pepper, cinnamon, eucalyptus, lavender, or lemon solutions. Suppose you wipe your counter regularly with these mixtures. In that case, the food smell will disappear, and the scents will become unappealing to your cat.

At first, it may seem that it’s not working, but give it a few days. We can assure you that it will work.

You may also like: What Breed Is My Cat?

What Not To Do

We have told you what to do, but you also need to know what things not to do. Your cat is like a family member, and you don’t want them to be scared of you.

Go through this “what not to do” list so your cat doesn’t get afraid of you.

Shoo away your cats
Use strong chemical products to keep cats off counters
Shove or physically harm your cats
Spray your cat with water
Use essential oils to keep cats off counters. It can be highly toxic
Yell or shout at your cat
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