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How to Keep Cats Off of the Counter

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's infuriating! You are trying to prepare a meal, you don't have much time and your beloved cat insists on jumping up onto the counter. For one thing it's downright unhygienic, for another it's not exactly a safe place for your cat to be, for a third your pet being there will not in any way help you to turn out a culinary masterpiece.

Photo Credit: PJ Lewis
It's a very common problem. How do you keep a cat off of the counter? Let's take a look at some of the reasons cats like to jump up there.

Food. Okay, you keep your work surfaces clean and you don't generally leave food out. But the area smells of food. Not to you maybe, but to your cat it does, animals generally have a far better developed sense of smell than we do.

Add to this that there just might be a tempting morsel left up there, no matter how well you clean.

Altitude. Yes, counter tops are not high for humans, but to your furry friend they are a good step up from floor level. Way back in time your domestic feline's ancestors used to perch up high on a branch waiting to pounce on prey, or keeping safely out of the way of their predators.

Attention. If your cat jumps on the counter while you are working on it then there is a strong possibility that she needs a bit of fuss.

Independence. Because it's there! Your cat picks up the message that you don't want her up there, so she is going to jump up there, just because...

Alright, those are some of the reasons cats jump up there, but that does not tell us how to keep cats off of the counter.

Here are some things to try.

You have probably done this, gently lift your cat down from your work top and place her on the floor telling her firmly 'No!'. Obviously you cannot leave your pet up there while you cook, but don't get angry with her when you take her down, don't make a fuss of her either. Just tell her firmly 'No!'.

For this to work, it has to be said that you may go gray before it works, you have to be consistent and persistent. More persistent than your cat is and as you know those darling creatures can be extremely persistent.

Try a smell your cat does not like. Many cats are repelled by smells. Some cannot stand the smell of citrus, and the aroma of lemon, orange or lime in your kitchen is not unpleasant for you, so give it a try. However that's only some cats, others are not repelled by citrus at all. Other smells that some felines don't like are, apple, vinegar, lavender, cinnamon, and eucalyptus.

Give them all a try. Of course you may not want your home smelling of some of those things, no matter how well they keep cats off of the counter. Moth balls are said to work well, but don't try those, they could prove toxic.

There is a plant that is said to be very effective in keeping animals out of gardens. It is called Coleus Canina, (the scaredy-cat plant), if it grows in a pot indoors it may do the trick.

Try the ol' spray bottle. Every time you catch your mouser jumping up on the counter give her a squirt. No need to soak her, it's to discourage her actions not to punish her. This works best if your cat does not see you using the spray. Tricky, but if she gets the impression that every time she leaps up there she inexplicably gets sprayed, your work surface might just lose its attraction.

Likewise the coins in the can. Every time she jumps up where she should not go, shake that can! The noise will likely send her skedaddling away like... well like a scalded cat!

Give her some height. If your cat is on the counter to give herself a high vantage point, then supply somewhere higher for her. A cat condo or perch may be all she needs. Situate the perch near a window and your cat can happily watch the world go by.

So, how to keep cats off of the counter? Keep trying.

Try different things. When you find something that seems like it might be working don't give up. Be consistent and persistent.

About the Author
Larry Chamberlain is a life long cat lover and writes about all things cat related for the Best Cat Art website. Read what he has to say about Cat Behavioral Problems
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