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How to Keep Your Cat Off the Counters: 6 Ways That Work!

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

Selkirk rex cat sitting on the counter_

Trying to keep your cats off your counters can be a daunting task. After all, our lovely felines don’t respond to vocal commands the same way our dogs do, do they? Cats have a mind of their own, and they love being on your level—or even higher up if they can be. You might find it annoying to catch your cat on your counter and even a little unsanitary, and there are ways around it. Even though your cat might disagree about who has free range of your kitchen table, you can deter them without harsh punishments. Let’s get to it.

Why Do Cats Love Your Counters?

Cats jumping to higher platforms is an ancient impulse ingrained into their DNA. In nature, cats jump up to hide from predators and to stay out of sight of potential prey. Many cats also sleep in trees to remain protected. Because this is such a necessary beaver for cats in the wild, it will never go away—so, we must accommodate and learn how to live in harmony.

cat eating on the counter
Image Credit: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock

Do Squirt Bottles Work?

A method of getting your cat to behave is to squirt them with a squirt bottle—we’ve all heard about it. Even though it’s effective because your cat despises it, is it really the best way to get your kitty to heed? This method does have the potential to taint the relationship you have with your cat, especially if they are able to associate you with the discomfort they are feeling when squirted. Negative reinforcement with felines almost always leads to no results. Having a relationship based on mutual respect is a much better approach to unwanted behavior. It’s important to remember that your cat doesn’t do it out of malice—it’s just second nature to them to jump. There are plenty of other ways to teach or deter your cat without resorting to a spray bottle. Keep your relationship with your kitty trusting and loving instead.

6 Proven Ways to Keep Cats Off Your Counters

Rather than resorting to punishments that do nothing but scare or anger your cat—try a few of these alternatives to keep your furry friends off your counters. Sometimes, one method can retrain your cat. Other times, you’ll have to use a combination of tactics to keep your cat at bay. The entire idea is to put things in place that are more desirable for their attention and make the counters totally unwelcoming.

1. Use Sticky Tape on Surfaces

We all know how much cats loathe having things sticking to their paws—they purposely go out of their way to avoid it. Luckily, plenty of companies littering the web offer sticky products to solve your counter woes. You can buy the type of tape that works best for you. Place the tape on the edges of your counter where your cat typically jumps up. Once they do it a few times, they will decide for themselves that this isn’t a fun idea anymore and go elsewhere.

Scotch Tape
Image Credit: Pixabay

2. Buy a Cat Condo or Tree

If your cat has all their favorite activities in one place, they are likely to hang out there instead. Cat trees and condos are absolutely ideal for single and multiple cat households. They can snuggle, scratch, hide, play, and perch as they please. There are some really terrific pre-made products on the market. But if you’re feeling a little creative, you can always try a fun DIY project to give your cat a customized cat tree they’ll go crazy for. If you do a good job, it can even become an aesthetically pleasing piece of furniture in your home.


3. Get Wall Perches

There are plenty of interesting wall hangings these days that can give our cats a place to climb. Some of these perches double as floating shelves or storage compartments. And if you’re a crafty person, you can even come up with something yourself. Remember, before you try that to support your cat’s body weight, all shelves should be drilled into studs. Proper hanging is essential to prevent potential injury and wall damage.

cat wall with cat trees
Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock

4. Opt for Wall Climbing Posts

Wall climbing posts are a bit different from wall perches and shelves—but you could honestly have both for quite the interesting entertainment space. These posts are usually covered in sisal rope or a pleasing fabric where your cat can sharpen their claws and get height leverage. Even though many companies make these wall pieces, you could also make them yourself. Pinterest is swimming with easy DIYs on the subject. It might even be cheaper in the long run—who knows until you price it out?


5. Put Up Hammocks or Bridges

Another great addition to the high points in your home would be hammocks or bridges (or even both, if you’re feeling adventurous.) Who doesn’t think a wooden hammock looks insanely cool hanging out a doorway? And your cat will love having a place to nap up higher than everyone else. We all know your kitty is royalty, so why not make them look down upon their kingdom? It’s a really lovely and functional way to give your cats the height they crave—and you can really get creative with the overall design.


6. Use Scent Deterrents

You’ll want to exercise some caution with this method because it’s your countertops we’re talking about. The product might come in contact with food items, which is not good in some cases. But if you want to try, there are plenty of natural scent deterrents to make your cat turn up their noses. There are tons of natural cat repellents available in premade bottles. But if you want more control over what you’re spraying in your home, you can whip up a concoction yourself—like a simple mix of lemon and water.

lemons
Image credit: Gabor Adonyi, Pixabay

7. Deter Your Cat with Unwanted Objects

Cats are put off by the weirdest things sometimes—and you know your cat better than anyone. If there is an object, appliance, or noise they don’t like, try to put it up in the area. If they see something that makes them think twice about jumping on the counter, they might avoid the area completely. Every cat is different, so some might be scared off easily while you might have to get creative for others. And sometimes, no matter what you do, your fearless feline won’t be intimidated but rather more motivated to conquer the counter.

Final Thoughts

As we mentioned, a single method might not suffice. You might have to get creative or use a combination of tactics to ward off your determined cats. It’s always best to make the counters undesirable—but give them another outlet for their natural impulses to climb.


Featured Image Credit: athree23, Pixabay

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