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How to Keep Your Cat Off the Kitchen Counter

Posted in: Cat Care - Last Updated: May 2, 2023 - Author: Dexter Jones
Posted in Cat Care 
Last Updated: May 25, 2022  
Author:  Dexter Jones

While your cat might enjoy sitting on the kitchen counter looking cute, you really shouldn't allow them to do it due to the many hazards it creates. 

A pet that indulges in 'counter-surfing' might eat spoiled or poisoned food. 

They might ingest cleaning chemicals found in countertop cleaners and dishwashing detergents. 

Humans are also exposed to risks since the cat may leave poop particles on the counter, spreading bacteria that might easily be transferred onto your food. 

That's why it's imperative to stop your kitty from climbing and lounging around on the kitchen countertop.

How to Keep Your Cat Off the Kitchen Counters

Why Do Cats Jump on The Counter?

Cats love counters for a number of reasons. Knowing the reason your kitty jumps on the kitchen countertop will help you take appropriate measures for discouraging this habit.

1. Cats Love Heights

If you are a cat owner you have probably noticed that your cat loves spending time on the top of tall furniture and other spaces. 

They do so to get an aerial view of what happens around them and spot potential dangers easily. 

Moreover, since most predators live on the ground, cats think that positioning themselves above the ground will increase their safety. 

This explains why felines like to sleep in high places.

2. Cats Enjoy Kitchen Counter's Smell

Cats are also attracted to kitchen counters because of the food left on them. 

The smell of roast chicken parts or raw beef ribs ready to go to the oven makes the cat want to explore the countertop. 

A counter that hasn't been cleaned properly after the meal preparation also piques curiosity in cats due to the crumbs and spills that emit a pleasant smell.

3. Running Water

cats love flowing water! It is a throwback to them drinking from streams and rivers in the wild.

Your feline might climb the countertop, not for a better aerial view or for having a bite of meat, but for drinking and taking a shower under the fresh tap water. 

Cats often rush to the kitchen sink when they run of out water or their water is warm.

Keep cat off kitchen counter

How To Keep Cats Off Counters

A cat will always respond best to positive reinforcement rather than punishment.

There are several methods you can use to deter your feline from jumping on the counter. Make sure to stay consistent with the chosen technique as they might not work from the first time.

Remember, things like unpleasant smells or textures are a great way to keep your cat away without punishing them.

They’re also less stressful than spray bottles or yelling. 

However, if after 3-4 tries the cat still refuses to give up on its counter jumping habit, try a new technique.

1. Install Cat Furniture

Your cat might jump on and off the countertop because it is eager for action. 

To draw its attention off the kitchen counter, install a cat tree, window perches, or a climbing tower and let it spend its energy there. 

To make the tree more attractive than the countertop, don't forget to hide some yummy treats at the top. 

It will also be a motivation for your cat to climb to the top of the perch.

Moreover, praise your cat as it conquers new heights. 

This will make it associate the tree or the tower with something positive and want to spend more time on it.

2. Apply Double-Sided Tape on The Counter's Edge

Cats can't stand the feeling of something sticky under their feet. 

Once they step on the sticky tape on the edge of the counter, they will most probably back off. It may take 2-3 tries until your cat will understand that the counter's edge is not a good place to land.

While adhesive tape is effective, it has some disadvantages. It leaves marks that are hard to remove and may have to be reapplied over and over after the cat steps on it, as it reduces its stickiness.

Also, cats are creative beings, so they may find a way to avoid the edge while climbing the counter.

How to keep cat off counter

3. Clean Your Countertop

Make sure to clean the countertop after each meal preparation so there are no food leftovers and spills that might draw your cat's attention. 

Remove all of the temptations! 

This includes ALL food scraps and cat treats.  It is a simple tip, but a highly effective one!

4. Lay Crinkled Aluminum foil on the Counter

Cats like walking on perfectly flat and smooth surfaces. 

A rough and uneven surface provided by the crinkled aluminum foil will deter the cat from their unwanted behavior on your clean countertops.! 

A bonus deterrent is the noise that the foil makes while being walked on. Given its sensitive hearing, your feline will find the sound extremely disturbing so it will try to stop it by stepping away from the foil-covered counter. 

It's worth noting, though, that the foil might create you some inconvenience in using the countertop.

5. Move Chairs or Furniture They Use

If your cat gets on the countertop using a chair, you can deter it by simply moving the chair away. 

Bring it back only when you have to sit on it.

Keeping cats off Kitchen counter

6. Water

If your cat prefers to drink at the faucet, there might be something wrong with the water bowl. 

Probably it's too close to the litter box or amidst a high-traffic area. 

Try to understand what bothers your cat and, if needed, change the location of the bowl or remove the stressor around it. Keep in mind that cats like cool fresh water rather than a room temperature one. 

So make sure to keep the water in the bowl cold so your cat doesn't rush to the kitchen faucet when it's thirsty.

Also, consider trying out a cat water fountain.

If All Else Fails

If your ingenuity and consistency are not enough to convince your cat to stay off the countertop, ask a cat behavioral therapist for help. 

After assessing the situation the specialist will use some new behavior-changing techniques to make your cat fall out of love with kitchen surfing!

About the author

Dexter Jones has been a solid member of the ‘Mad Cat Dad’ club since time began! Dexter has been a keen cat writer for many years and lives in Croatia. He lives with his two tabby cats, Milly & Marly, who also flew in from the UK to start their new Adriatic island life together.