If you have a cat, you are well aware of their urge to jump onto kitchen counters.
They enjoy perching themselves on kitchen counters, dressers, chairs, tables, and other high places.
As we cook our food on the countertop, it’s understandable that we would like cats off of it.
Using an antibacterial cleaner to wipe down counters after each meal prep helps protect us from harmful bacterial species.
Apart from the obvious hygiene concerns, you might want to protect your cat from dangerous items too.
Hence, it would be preferable to keep our cats off the counters in the first place.
Why Do Cats Jump on Kitchen Counters in the First Place?
Cats, by nature, are attracted to heights and anything they can climb. Perching on an elevated surface gives them a better view to survey the area.
Moreover, they can use this tactic to protect themselves from predators and other perceived threats. In a way, it gives them a sense of security.
Also, leftover food and running water are easily accessible on your kitchen counter.
Cats also like playing with items such as spic bottles or utensils that they can consider to be toys.
Your cat might make a game out of jumping on the counter and you picking it up and putting it back on the floor.
Often, cats like jumping onto window sills or a table to get an outdoor view. They might be able to see birds and other insects through your kitchen window.
This can easily be rectified by keeping your curtains in other rooms open.
How to Keep Cats off Your Kitchen Counter
So, how else can you stop your cat from jumping on kitchen counters?
Punishing them might not work as well as you think.
Instead, use positive reinforcement to encourage them to stay away from the countertop. Here are some other things you can try:
Remove Any Chairs, Stools, or Tables
While younger, agile cats can easily jump onto your counter without any difficulty, others might not. Older cats might struggle with high jumps.
Hence, they can search for other ways to make their way to your counter.
Chairs, stools, tables, and nearby platforms can act as a staircase for them.
If your cat uses these to hop onto your kitchen counter, you can consider moving away from any furniture.
Clear Spaces in Bookshelves, Windowsills, Etc.
As the kitchen counter is a high area, your cat is naturally attracted to it.
One way to stop it from entering your kitchen is to provide other high areas to explore.
Make space for your cat in other spots. For example, you can empty out a spot in your bookshelf or clear a window sill.
Keep curtains open so that your cat can enjoy the outside view from somewhere other than your kitchen.
Get Your Cats More Toys or Games to Keep Them Occupied
Jumping on your counter might be an act of boredom. Cat toys and games can distract your pet from interrupting your cooking or dinner time.
Laser pointers, feather wands, and activities can keep your cat occupied while you’re preparing your food.
Keep Away Uneaten Food
Cats have a sense of smell that is fourteen times stronger than ours.
They can tell right away when you’ve left food on the counter, especially if you’ve left any kind of meat on the counter to cool down.
Be cautious and put away any leftovers immediately.
If you’ve left something to cool, in the meantime, you can use other deterrents to prevent your cat from searching for food scraps.
Wipe Your Counter Immediately After Meal Preps
After any meal, there might be leftover food, crumbs, and juices on your counter. Even if your counter looks empty, it might have food traces. Keep in mind that cats have a very acute sense of smell.
This can entice your cat to jump up and lick leftovers off the surface. To avoid this, make sure to wipe down your counter every time you’re finished cooking.
Warm water and dish soap should get rid of any residual odors. After finding nothing of interest on the counter, your cat might entirely stop jumping on the counter searching for food.
Cats’ noses are often very sensitive to smells that they dislike.
Use a citrus-based cleaner scented like lime, lavender, lemons, orange, or peppermint the next time you wipe down your kitchen counters. All of these smells irritate cats.
Leaving a lemon or orange peel on the counter can achieve the same effect. Be wary of using essential oils, though. If not diluted properly, they can be irritating upon contact with the skin.
Plants such as rosemary, rue, and pennyroyal can act as odor-repellants too. You can consider placing a pot of rosemary on your kitchen counter.
While we do suggest using natural ingredients, there are products that repel cats. Cat-safe pheromone sprays soothe and deter cats from any unwanted behavior.
Buy Cat Trees
If your cat has made a fun activity or a hobby out of jumping on tables or chairs, you can consider buying a cat tree.
These are made particularly to attract cats and keep them entertained.
Scattering cat towers, cat shelf labyrinths, or mazes can be a fun pastime for your cat. Therefore, they won’t feel the need to jump onto your meal prep space.
Buy Alternative Water Fountains
One of the main reasons why your cat might like climbing onto your counter is the water faucet in your kitchen sink.
Flowing water attracts cats, and they prefer drinking water from it rather than a bowl.
Fresh, flowing water is more appealing to them. That might explain why they jump onto the counter to drink from a dripping faucet.
As an alternative, you can invest in a trickling water fountain, made especially for cats. They provide crisp, clean water which passes through carbon and foam filters.
This way, you can keep your counter and food free from stray hairs and dirty paws. As a bonus, your cat gets to drink fresher, cleaner water.
Use Aluminum Foil Sheet
Aluminum foil deters cats due to the loud crinkling sound it makes upon contact, as well as its bright shine.
Cats don’t like the smooth, slippery texture of foil. Hence, it is perfect for preventing them from jumping onto your counter.
You can tape aluminum foil along the edge of your kitchen counter. This is where your cat first makes contact when it jumps.
After a few unsuccessful attempts, they might eventually give up jumping on your kitchen counter.
Use Double-Sided Tape
Sticky surfaces irritate cats. Line the counter space with inexpensive plastic placemats that have double-sided tape on one side.
The tape leaves a sticky residue on their paws, which they hate.
If your cat hops onto the counter, he or she will most likely climb down due to the discomfort. Eventually, your cat will learn not to jump on the counter.
Remove Sharp Objects
While these deterrents should work more often than not, cats are resilient creatures.
If they smell fresh food on your counter, citrus cleaners and aluminum foil won’t seem like much of an obstacle.
To be safe, you can cat-proof your counters to avoid any mishaps. Keep fragile and sharp items and utensils away.
Make sure there are no toxic cleaners or foods easily accessible to your cat. Lastly, ensure that you block access to a hot stove.
When you want to keep cats off kitchen counters, you can use the abovementioned methods to train them.
They might not work right away or every time, but they will help reduce the frequency of your cat jumping onto the counter.
Most importantly, you should advise everyone in your household to follow the same approaches you are.
If even one member of your family is encouraging this behavior, your efforts could be in vain.
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